For that I have to thank my dear loving girlfriend who had the luck of doing an internship in Bali. So, except for the plane ticket which was quite cheap even if the gap in my account was considerate, everything else was arranged…and here I refer to the accommodation in a small complex with beautiful villas, with pool in between, in a small town close to the most famous, crowded and popular areas in Bali. Even the transportation was quite affordable every time we decided for a party night or area sightseeing. When I refer us, I mean all the other work colleagues who lived in the same villa; kind people, smart and funny, very open to anything new…like a true real fairy tale.
For a first experience in Asia, this was a fantastic one. After almost 20 hours flight, including the transit time spent in between the two airports, Doha and Singapore, I thought I´ll die. The air condition in the airport plus a small flu virus, caught from a Chinese restaurant in Copenhagen, kind of trapped me in the bed for few days. The changing time zones, of almost 11 hours, were added to my soreness. Only after about 6 days I was fully recovered. Finally, I could enjoy the place. Even sick I was not sticking only in bed, but nevertheless the sickness retracted me from the enjoyment of being in such a breathtaking place for the first time ever.
No matter how often or to how many different restaurants with traditional Asian food one had gone, the taste and the international experience is not the same. Everything I have been trying before, in terms of traditional Asian food, could not be compared with the kind of food one finds locally. It’s authentic, more appetizing, and quite hard to ignore the difference.
Healthier, well nourished and after walking around all the well known commercial areas surrounding Bali center, on the streets full with small shops and locals to outcry you to enter their boutique so you can purchase their goods , it was time for me to try something I always desired I could do.
Have you ever had the impression that something that you could only see on TV, was meant for you to do, something that outcalls your name whenever seeing it? That, even though you´ve never tried it before, you are competent doing it flawlessly? Well, that was my feeling in relation to surfing. And what better place for surfing, if not Bali? And I did…I was born for something like this. After 5 minutes lesson from a guy that I rent the surf board from, I enter the water. We went 30-40 meter further into the water. The water was not too high, only upper body level. The instructor guiding me to wait for the wave fronting the seashore, lie on the surf board waiting for the wave…I was waiting for the big wave to come. One wave approaches fast but was not big enough for me to follow it. My colleagues went with it; I waiting for a new one…There it come. I start paddling my hands at the instruction of the experienced mad. I paddle fast, faster and suddenly I jump strait on the surfing board. In a perfect equilibrium I reach the shore flying on the wave. I smile. I go try again, and again, around 20 successful rounds. Not bad, for a beginner. The biggest satisfaction was not the one that was so successful surfing but that the feeling I always had about surfing, was the right one. The days following I went alone to the beach; to the same locals I have been the first time (I trusted the people already to let all my stuff in their hands)…as where the all others remained in the villa, working the whole day, I was enjoying myself on the marvelous beaches of Bali. Whenever all other were friends with their work, I was friend with the sun and the surfing board. Every time I was surfing, I used to try out other size of the board, this making surfing more difficult but it was a challenge and risk I wanted to take…just for the sake of the experience. And still, every time I was successful. The third and last the time (I wasn´t there all the time, once in every three days; as there were even other things to accomplish on my vacation agenda) I knew it was suppose to be my last time, which is why I wanted to beat my record of flying on my skateboard 30 times in a single day. My feet were painfully irritated by the salty water in the ocean and by the rigid surface of the surf board, but nothing was keeping me back from trying to keep up with reaching my goal. I was starting to gain distance between the shore and the waiting life for the waves. I was able to reach not only one round of waves but two. I was even aligned with the more experienced guys … I wasn´t scared and they did not know it either, so it did not care. I did not have the same techniques as they had but I was riding the wave as the well experienced did. I was very proud of myself.
But, let´s come back to people. Very nice and always smiling, even though, comparing with their life quality, I would say that they have less than those complaining all the time by what they have. I understand their approach toward `pushing` you inside their shops to purchase their stuff but that´s something that I did not like very much. At a point I got the feeling of them being too insistent. After refusing dozens of other people approaching with the same interest, its obvious you´d discharge your tension on the next ones approaching you for the same purpose. I haven´t made any exception to that.
Life during the night time is very beautiful and interesting. Dozens of clubs waiting to offer you the pleasure expected. Club music, cheep drinks, free entrance (in the case you were `bule` or how the locals say, white people – guest, tourist), liveliness people having lots of fun, animators, girls awaiting to accompany you in case you were alone or lost from your friends, anything that may keep you there until the daylight.
The surroundings of the villa where we were living was quite, filed with honest people living their existence through agriculture and small business. The houses were very colorful, every house having a small temple in front of the house (that is what defines the whole culture in those areas). Everywhere could be seen offerings for Gods spread on the small streets, giving a first impression of misery, but after you´ve found out their meaning, a sense of protection from Gods appears. On streets, hundreds of big trees, which fruits until then I could only see in the supermarkets or to the shelves of import sellers, trees that offers shadow for the sun that always appeared to be up. Only one thing seemed familiar to me: the red-tiled roofs. The same type of tiles one can see in Copenhagen or on the old houses from my city where I was born – Braila.
For such a small island, Bali offers lots of adventures. From national parks to active volcanoes, from monkeys’ forests to Emperor Castles, from safari to places where you could swim with dolphins, almost anything was possible. From all these, we mostly choose the beauty of beaches. We visited beaches good for surfing, beaches with houses for those willing to live close to the beach, places for relaxing with fine sand and beautiful girls ready to give you massages but also visited places where the nature was predominant and with its wildness was creating the impression of something different, something beautiful.
It was very hard for me to say goodbye to all of this. And maybe that was the reason of me thinking to move there for one year or two. Anyway, life in Copenhagen brought me fast back with the feet on the ground. For this instant, this may not be possible for me, but I will never give up to this idea. It may not be possible now, but who knows…maybe in the near future. The Bali sunsets are very well fixed in my head.
The only regret that I have with Bali is that I did not use this opportunity from the photographic point of view. The only 1500 pictures I took were not enough and that would be a future reason to go back. And I will.