Going through my pictures of Bali, I realized I did not take enough photos! It was one of the coolest trips that I’ve taken, and I feel like I failed at documenting! I was trying to do the trip with my real eyes and not through a lens. It was also the first trip where I had less than 23 hours to prepare to go across the world.
Thoughts: 1. I need to sleep. (It was about 1AM.) Maybe this a dream? 2. I need to do laundry! 3. Gah! I need to go shopping!
In the morning I told my parents and friends that I was going to Bali the next day. My friends thought my phone auto corrected from “Cali,” and my parents were not too thrilled, and invoked my brothers to try and talk me out of it. Surprisingly enough, the roles of my brothers had switched. The one that I thought would say go for it, was definitely trying to talk me out of it, and the one who I thought was going to be against it, told me that since I travel all the time, I have it down and have good judgement. One of my friends was just telling me not to get kidnapped.
My parents stayed up with me while I packed and did a checklist of things I would need to bring, and what not to forget. I stayed up that night, and soon enough it was time for me to go to the airport at 4 am.
I was so thankful I did not sleep. I was passed out on the first flight from MKE-PHL (Milwaukee to Philadelphia on US Airways Express-Air Wisconsin). Quick layover. Passed out a good majority of the second flight from PHL-DOH (Philly to Doha, Qatar on Qatar Airways). When I did wake up, it was lunch time and they were handing out the food. They give you the spiel of beef, chicken, or vegetarian. I got whichever, I’m not too picky honestly. But when I opened it up, I just looked at it. I had absolutely no idea what this was. I didn’t recognize the smell of it. It didn’t look like something I was used to. I also did not feel like experimenting with food on an airplane, of all places. So I ate the things that I didn’t think would cause any problems; the bread, and the desert. Those looked like safe bets. The salad didn’t look like a salad I was used to.
When we boarded the flight, the flight attendants handed out warm towels and sanitizing wipes as well. On our seats there was a blanket, pillow, and there was some sort of kit. It included warm comfy socks, earplugs, an eye mask, toothbrush, and toothpaste. (Niiiiiice!)
I watched some movies that were playing on the plane. Time to catch up on all the movies from the year that I hadn’t seen yet. A few hours later, they came back to serve dinner–same thing. This time we had Haagen-Dazs. A few hours after dinner, we had breakfast–recognized everything, it was delicious!!
Landing in Doha made me slightly nervous. Mostly because I wasn’t sure how people were supposed to dress. I had decided to wear legging capris, I zipped up my hoodie over my tank top, and I had a scarf to wrap around my head if it was necessary. Apparently, I was overdressed. There was a gal in spandex and a bikini top wandering around the airport. My eyes were jumping out of my head! The first thing I thought of was how disrespectful! In a culture where women are commonly covered from head to toe, there’s this gal around my age waltzing around in a bikini top! The second thing I thought of was I hope nothing happens to her because of it. I continued to my gate just looking around the airport. Doha airport has a few “TSA” lines within itself. So I bought and threw away, and bought, again, a few water bottles, unfortunately. This airport was pretty cool. There was art all around the airport. It looked and felt like a massive shopping mall. There were smoking rooms, quiet rooms, prayer rooms, ladies prayer rooms, family rooms, medical clinic, etc. This airport was HUGE! I thought I was going to get lost, I had a short layover there and found my gate with plenty of time to spare.
When it was time to get on the last flight from DOH-DPS (Doha to Denpasar, Bali on Qatar Airways) we got on buses to take us to the airplanes. I was dying. It was 115 degrees outside and on that packed bus, it was so much hotter. After I noticed most of the people that were on the bus were mostly Americans, I took off my hoodie, which was about 20-30 minutes of not moving, with the doors open, waiting to fill the bus up with more people. Sardines. Packed, hot, and smelly. Finally we got to the plane where we boarded. I was wide awake by now and had a 10 hour flight to go. I was sooooo close to the beautiful beaches!!
FINALLY! I got to Bali. I had a near moment of panic when they asked me for a Visa and I didn’t have one. They stamped my passport after they asked me how long I was there for, and I was on my way. My friend met me at the airport and then we took a taxi to the Villa we were staying at. Which was suuuper cool! The layout was super cool. The front door enclosed the place. There was a kitchen in a building in the corner opposite of the rooms (which we never used, but I think one of our new friends slept in there one night). There was a private pool in the middle and pool lounge chairs. Then there were two buildings of bedrooms and a bathroom in each. I was in love.
I was ready to stay there for the rest of my days and I was going to be fine. It was hot, the sky was super clear, considering the Volcano delayed flights into Bali the night before, it was silent, it was gorgeous. And I, was completely exhausted, and my ankles were killing me—-note to self. STAND UP AND WALK. Even if you don’t have to go to the bathroom, take a stroll here and there on the plane!! It’s for your own health!!
I had a brief moment of panic when I woke up in the morning and had no idea where I was. I saw my stuff next to the bed and a few text messages that let me relax slightly. Now when using the toilet, I made sure to check the seat and flush the toilet (I saw a video on Facebook once about some ginormous bug or spider that was just hanging out, and I’m good. I was not going to deal with that!) before I even thought about using it. We lounged out by the pool for a bit, and then got ready to go to the beach! We were going to have breakfast at the beach! BEEEEAAAACCCHHH!!!!
We took a short taxi to Seminyak Beach, and plopped down on beanbag chairs with a table in front at Blu9Beach. Morning drinks? Absolutely. Let’s test these babies out! They were strong. Especially for breakfast. Mine was of course fruity, but still strong. While we were waiting on our food we ordered a Hookah. When in Asia. Everything was just amazing (and they had Wifi!). Beach, Breakfast, Hookah, Bali. After we ate, we applied sunscreen and went into the water! We were at the Beach all day! Derrick (my friend I was there with) called some friends that he had met at a Club the week earlier, and we sat back on the bean bags and listened to some live music (and karaoke) while the sun set. I have never seen sunsets like those in Bali .
The club was something that we had done. Now, mind you, I am definitely not a Clubber–err Club Person. We met up with some people that Derrick had met earlier (a different set), one was from France, and the other from the Netherlands. Getting a table, bottle, hookah, and having VIP services was pretty cool. There were a few different floors of this place. It was a lot of fun–even though I pretty much just sat and drank. Wing-woman-ing it up for these fellas (barely. They didn’t find any ladies). The second time we came here we were with these girls from Austria (who I’m still in touch with) and a guy from Indonesia. That was much more fun, and I let loose a little bit more.
Silly faces. Don’t Judge.
We went to the Uluwatu Temple, which was absolutely beautiful, with our friend from Indonesia, and the lovely ladies from Austria. Amazing views! It was on a cliff that overlooked the ocean. It was astonishing. A lot of monkeys roaming free–it was a monkey sanctuary. You could pick up some treats for them before you entered. You are asked to take off shiny things and lock them up with your stuff, make sure things were locked (the monkeys did steal some of those items, ripping them from places–I watched a monkey steal a man’s glasses off of his face!), as you are handed some sort of garment (due to it being a sacred temple). There were even monkey statues! One monkey sat on Derrick’s shoulders, one took food out of my hand, another sat on one of the gal’s heads! It was pretty cool. After we finished at the Temple we found a restaurant with a view, had a quick lunch, and a local beer, Bintang–which to me tasted like Heineken. And what do you know, the brand is part of Heineken!
From here we took a taxi to Dreamland Beach, where we enjoyed a beautiful beach– the ONE time I didn’t bring my swimsuit we ended up at the beach! So we walked up to the hotel that was overlooking it and had a few drinks. We sat there for hours, and watched the sunset that pictures cannot even justify. Oh, and I wish they could.
The return home was the same routing, DPS-DOH-PHL-MKE. Except this time, sleep was not on my schedule so much. I slept for about 3 hours, and then it was time for all the food to start over again. My row-neighbor (lucky I was blessed to have one person on the aisle seat while I sat in the window, there was no one in the middle–like I had on the two arrival flights) and I spoke about our experiences in Bali, sharing our pictures, comparing our passport stamps, flying in and such. The volcano had him staying in Qatar a night, but they were super strict and he was not allowed to leave the hotel except for the shuttle to the airport in the morning. It was a really nice conversation. It also happens that we had the next two flights together as well.
They had good movies. I am sooo thankful about that. I have been on flights where the movie selection was very scarce and you’re thinking, “what in the world am I supposed to do for 8 hours with a terrible movie selection”. Luckily I had brought quite a few things to do. I narrowed it down to about 4 movies on the return flights that I would completely submerge myself in (about 2 hours each movie, that’s about 8 hours I’ll spend just watching movies on the two super long flights). I wrote about my experiences on this trip, it was truly an exciting experience and I knew I wanted to talk about it. I couldn’t imagine forgetting anything about this trip! I had word puzzles for some of the time and Sudoku and I also had a couple magazines that were easy to fit in my bag that were super light.
Also, I have nothing against talking to your neighbors. ONLY if you’re not bothering them. That’s a huge key! On the second long haul flight there was a gal in the middle who was from Saudi Arabia and went to college in Boston. She was just traveling in India for the summer. She had some pretty cool stories. Her perspective about the world was really cool, and slightly different due to where she was born and raised. She told us how her Grandfather was against her traveling alone, and even going to the US to study, but her Father wanted her to know the World and not be afraid of it.
The other gal in the Aisle Seat was from Canada and she just finished her Internship in Dubai, so she was telling us about her experiences from that, which was also super cool. She was raving about Dubai. But she also told us about things that made her nervous, and what she was worried about before, and how it all turned out.
Of course we all shared pictures as well, and even passed out passports around so we could see the other countries. We were all really proud of them! That flight went so fast because we were engrossed in some amazing conversations.
Everything is a learning experience. Learning about people, where they come from, and where they’ve been. Even learning about yourself. It’s one of my favorite things about traveling. You never know who you’re going to meet, and you never know what you can learn!
One thing I will say about Qatar Airways–you do not go hungry! I think I ate more on the plane ride home (which was delicious food that I did recognize) than I did my whole trip.
We didn’t do everything that I wish we could have and I didn’t see everything, and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. (Geez, what else can I complain about?) I loved it. I will always recommend people to go to Bali with my dying breath! YOU HAVE TO GO!!!!I will. I am definitely going to go back. Maybe not for a few years. But I will definitely be back!
End Note: While 30 hours is a REALLY long time on a plane. I would do it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again to go to some ridiculously cool places.0