Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not Goodbye....only See you Later!

Its been a while and where did I leave you on Amanda & Dominiks THRILLING Bali adventure. That’s right, we were about to climb Bali’s highest Peak. Mt Agung.

I was very certain I didn’t want to climb the mountain but Dominik was very certain he wanted to climb it. So because I pretty much say yes to any challenge put my way I basically agreed. Dominik mentioned the following day how great I was as I didn’t complain at all. Lucky for me & perhaps extremely lucky for him the possibility of reading minds is still in the distant future and the internal curses I had focused on him for pretty much the entire eight hour trek remained unheard.

Reaching the top was met with sighs of relief and then almost instant fucking discomfort. It was fucking cold. I had long pants and socks and two jackets but I was still cold. We had about an hour before the sun rose so I resigned myself to further misery. Don’t I make this whole thing sound appealing?
I found a little groove in the rock and settled down snuggling into myself. Dominik kindly shared his body warmth and I managed to find some sense of strength to get through the next hour curled up against him trying to keep warm. I think for several minutes I even fell asleep but a shift of the wind as the breeze ripped through me was enough to snap me up awake.

And then the sun rose.

I can easily tell you that as I watched the sun come over the mountains all the pain, the frustration & the discomfort melted away and I was once again awed by the power of mother nature. I sat there and thought about the guys back in Wickham Point and how much I wished they could have joined me in that moment. But I was happy to have Dominik there beside me and I won’t lie I was even happy that he had coerced me into the hike in the first place. It was something special to share with someone as awesome as him. Kind of a nice way to say goodbye to a close friend. We had conquered the lows of Bali 30m under sea level and now the highs of 4,500 metres above sea level.

Then we had to descend. Descend slippery slopes with crappy sandals that had no tread. Combined with my inability to stay vertical in normal circumstances I fell over, a lot. Despite my guide looking at me concerned I kept going. I tried to explain to him that I was pretty good at falling over but he didn’t understand English anyway. Amusingly enough Dominik fell once and twisted his ankle, tearing a ligament. He suddenly became a cripple and since I had proven my ability to fall over repeatedly not complaining once I was shown to look awesome and him a fragile little man.

Reaching the bottom was probably the best feeling in the world. I almost had one of those moments where you literally kiss the ground. Until I remembered I was in Bali and therefore kissing the ground could possibly end up with a lip amputation. We said goodbye to our guide and left.
After returning to Wayans house we retrieved our goods and went on our way to Ubud where Dominik was to drop off the scooter. At first we travelled through the busy cities before Dominik decided to head towards the beach. So more detours through the backside of Bali, children staring at us from the rice paddies as I threw them the old rock & roll sign we ended up on a freeway. I distinctly remember Dominik saying there were no freeways in Bali. If that was the case had our detours removed us from the Island to another world?
No. It turns out there were freeways in Bali. Because freeways are a relatively new instalment in Indonesian lifestyles the common etiquette that generally comes with them are lost to the wind. Balinese are left side drivers, like Australia, which would make sense that the slowest vehicles stick to the left. Not in Bali, in Bali the huge slow trucks stick on the right lane and the cars take up the left lane. Since freeways in Bali are only two lanes where does that leave the motorbikes? Honestly? Where ever the fuck they want. Overtaking seemed to happen anywhere anytime although more often the bikes would over-take on the left in the bicycle lane. But sometimes you would have three vehicles abreast in a two lane highway. And yet still I saw no accidents.
And then after two days, no sleep, several third world villages we reached Ubud. I love to travel and I can deal with not having normal amenities. No internet or air conditioning even no coffee. But I am first world child and not only that I am a complete nerd so too many days without my luxuries and I start tearing my hair from the roots.

Ubud was western civilisation. We crawled off the scooter our entire bodies aching from the 8 hour hike that morning & eyes bleary in the sunlight running off only a few hours of sleep. We found a bar that offered Wifi by the beach and ordered a Large beer. Reality once again.
Not going to deny it but our adventure through the back roads of Bali & then the impossible hike on two hours of sleep and uncomfortable conditions had left me frazzled. I needed that beer and wifi more than I had ever needed beer and wifi before. It was worth it though. I mean the discomfort (the beer was also worth it) but I love the fact that despite all the hardship there is always a place of comfort to return to. And yes that place is beer.
After the scooter was returned and lunch finished we made our way down to Kuta for our last night in Bali together. Time to get some serious partying on.

Dominiks ankle was a hindrance so I left him in a bar whilst I searched for a hotel, he looked very reluctant with that bingtang and laptop.

Only five minutes into my search I found a reasonable room with AC, Wifi, Breakfast & pool centrally located for about $40 a night. I returned to get Dominik but my XX chromosomes thwarted me again and I got lost. So a slight back-track and I rediscovered the bar and Dominik. Together we trudged back to the room for a well deserved shower. I may have forgotten to mention neither of us had showered in a few days. In our defense there was a serious lack of running water!!!
After we were cleansed and I sent Dominik out to get beers we chilled on the bed just surfing the internet and chatting about random shit. At some point I guess we had dinner which was not bad. I think I had the jellyfish or something, already I’ve forgotten. There is a serious amount of westerners in Kuta. We went back to the room and drank more beer. We were tired and unmotivated. But I was determined that we would go out in Kuta so I dragged him out of bed about 10pmish.
Sadly we made it out the door and down one alley before a guy offers us a delicious vegetable shake. We obliged. It was to be our downfall. We walked onto the main street in a hunt for a bar and found the beach. We sat down and talked about how weird it was the beach was so close and we never noticed before. I began to get overwhelmed by the beach and decided to head back to the room, Dominik in tow. Once we were in the room things got a little nuts. I put on some soft trance and lay back on the bed closing my eyes. We sort of talked but conversation was broken and I was going on many adventures in my head. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. It depended on what music played at what time. When I did literally make it into the bathroom the tiles were magical. I probably could have just sat in the bathroom for the next five hours and had an awesome time.
We spent an hour trying to turn the display off the laptop without turning off the whole laptop. Well maybe I spent an hour Dominik was not much help. I couldn’t remember what the word was for display. And I call myself a computer guru. I tried to explain to Dominik what I wanted but he was replying to a conversation I had had with him many hours prior. Eventually the word came to my twisted brain and relief spread as the darkness filled the room
2am came and I turned the music off. We slept.
The morning had an air of melancholy as we knew it was our last few hours together. So we had breakfast, real brewed coffee for the first time in days. Then we went back and chilled in the room talking and drinking beer. On check-out we ventured onto the streets of Kuta for some shopping – Dominik had to get a bintang shirt and we brought a matching bracelet to remember the good times.

Then it was over, Dominik & I hugged and our goodbyes were said
I watched him get into the blue taxi and drive off into distance. I knew that we would meet again.

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