I haven’t written a blog in quite some time. I can’t believe it’s been about a year. Since I’ve just returned from Bali, I figure now would be as good a time as ever!
The process leading up to the decision to go back to Bali was one of complete emotion with no regard to the reality of my life at the time. I was and still currently am teaching at various studios, and not making enough money to just spontaneously take an extended trip.
One evening I was at my friend Dev’s house who I’d spent time with twice already in Bali, (luckily we live like five minutes from each other now) we were talking about our friend Dom, and our jealously over the fact that she had been in Southeast Asia for a few months traveling by herself and having epic adventures.
We started talking about the ‘what if’ of us potentially going back to Bali.
So naturally we began looking at flights.
Before entering the realm of google we both put down a price of what would be semi realistic. Milliseconds later, as if the Bali gods heard our voices, the first flight that loaded was literally smack dab in the middle of our price range.
We drew up a budget on my iphone for 3 weeks in Bali and booked our tickets two days later.
I know, we were and still now quite crazy.
Crazy in love though.
Wildy drawn to this tropical island that seemed to have captured both of our hearts over the last two years.
45 days later, we found ourselves en route to Bali.
However, we had a few pit stops along the way.
First stop, Xiamen Island.
This might sound stupid but I had no idea that Xiamen island existed in China, I didn’t even know it was an island until we landed.
Dev had been there once before when she routed to Bali last year, so she contacted her airbnb from her prior trip so we could stay there during our layover.
The Airbnb owner was fantastic!
His name is Mark and he is the tallest Asian man I’ve ever met.
Mark picked us up at the airport in front of McDonalds.
He donned an incredibly vibrant turquoise shirt, black sweatpants and yellow slippers that resembled crocs.
We all walked to the parking lot together and he helped us put our packs in the trunk.
I got into the back seat and slid into the most luxurious leather I’d ever sat in.
Mark had style, he drove a brand new Mercedes to come pick us up.
I was not used to such luxurious airport transport!
It was amazing, especially after the rigorous flight in.
Once we got to Mark’s he had us throw our bags through the kitchen window and walk through a small garden to enter from the front door.
His place was only seven minutes from the airport and had such a wonderful vibe to it.
There were about five or six rooms total.
From the front door you enter into an open room with massive ceilings.
This is what I would call the common area or family room.
Throwback to the 70’s, an incredible sunken floor with a massive sofa and black glass coffee table centered the room. At floor level sat two other sets of round coffee tables and chairs nestled next to the floor to ceiling windows.
As you walk through the room there is an open kitchen to the left and a staircase to the right leading up and down.
We went up.
On the second floor our room was immediately to the right and conveniently next to the bathroom, woo!
Inside of the room we had air con, a Queen size bed, and a beautiful nook with a wooden tea table and cushions separated from the room by a magical sheer white curtain.
Though Dev and I both fell asleep rather quickly after our showers, we woke up and had our morning tea in the nook.
Brilliant natural light flooded the nook creating the perfect ambiance for our morning tea.
After tea we got dressed and Mark took us to the Xiamen Botanical Gardens.
Not only was this place stunning but this is also where I discovered that Chinese women have their camera and pose aesthetic on fucking point.
There were so many women in their late teens and 20’s capturing one another rocking incredibly glamorous outfits! I was semi annoyed because I hadn’t thought to dress a little nicer, but in my defense fourteen hours flying to Xiamen tends to drain ya girl.
We walked the botanical gardens for a few hours.
Dev was sweating and Mark was not exactly pleased with how much he was perspiring so we breaked for a coconut.
There was a mini outdoor cafe (if you could even call it that) within the gardens and I found myself sipping from a coconut surrounded by locals who spoke with the same enthusiasm as my grandparents growing up.
It was amazing to be in that space.
Mark checked out and began to hang on his phone while Dev and I took in the scenery.
An old fan teetered above us providing somewhat pathetic relief.
The owner of the cafe came over and moved another fan next to Dev, this made me laugh because, yeah, we were fucking sweating but I was glad that he took concern and offered some shelter from the humidity.
After our rest I went in search for a bathroom, did not find one but came upon a young man taking photos of a woman holding this weird looking plant in front of a massive palm tree.
Ten minutes later I tried having Dev recreate the photo for me and no, I did not succeed nor look as cool as the asian woman did.
Again, I was dressed like a bum.
We eventually found the bathroom otherwise known as a squat toilet.
Honestly, it’s a good thing that Dev and I practice yoga because it makes squatting to pee so much easier!
After the botanical gardens Mark took us to Dimsum, he said something in Mandarin to the waiter and then told us in his best english that our meal would be half off.
We feasted on my favorite foods and some new dishes per Mark’s recommendation!
It was a lovely meal to say the least.
Dev didn’t even puke, which was a huge turning point in her travels since the last time she was in China everything she ate never seemed to settled. I was glad that this time she was able to not only keep her food down but also enjoy a traditional chinese meal!
After we ate Mark took us on a drive around the island, we ended up on a salmon orange sand beach with a massive statue of a woman on the shore.
I wondered allowed who and what the statue represented. Mark explained that he couldn’t remember the woman’s name but she was there to protect the sailors coming back to the island. I thought that was pretty rad.
Women are phenomenal beings, no matter what country they are from!
On the beach there was a group of women blatantly taking my photos. They didn’t speak english but I felt that since they were taking photos of me, I’d take photos of them.
I turned around, “selfie?”
They giggled and we took about twenty five photos together 🙂
I was definitely counting.
We left the beach a bit after and headed back to Mark’s to wash our feet and have a rest before our final flight to Bali.
Mark dropped us at the airport with waves and a big hug.
We boarded our plane a few hours later and I could not have been more excited to get back to my second home…
Dev and I arrived in Denpasar around 11:30 pm, it was nice landing at that time because in Xiamen and Bali are in the same time zone. We were exhausted with plans to crash once we reached our pad in Ubud.
Dom had arranged transport for us through Ala’s Green Lagoon (our lodging), she messaged me that someone would be there waiting with a sign after immigration!
We got through immigration rather quickly since neither Dev or I had checked bags. We began searching for our driver. We couldn’t find a sign with either of our names on it and decided to head around the back to wait. Neither of us seemed to be concerned, I had data on my phone and we knew we landed a bit earlier than expected.
The humid air was absolutely delicious.
I had kept some rupiah from my last trip to Bali and picked up some bintang radlers while we waited. For those of you who don’t know what a Bintang is, it is THE Indonesian beer. The radler variation has lemon mixed in, offering a crisp cool delightful sip.
I received a new message from Dom asking where we were. As I went to respond I look up to Kadek (if you have been following me on Instagram you know who he is, but for those of you just joining he is my best fucking friend from Bali) and Dom’s giant smiles. I ran to them with all my bags and us four cuddled into a giant bear hug!
“I KNEW IT!” I yelled, tears almost watering my eyes.
I was so happy to see them both.
“Suuuuprise” Dom said.
We left for the parking garage and another man asked if I needed a driver while passing through the exit.
I smiled “No thank you, I’ve got the best driver in Bali already” squeezing Kadek.
We blasted the weirdest fucking Kadek music in the car on the way to Ubud. I honestly couldn’t even comprehend the genre.
I stuck my head out the window, smiling the whole way there.
I am like a dog in the backseat of cars, eager for the adventure.
I knew something special was going to happen.
How could it not? The gang was back together for three whole weeks and nothing seemed impossible.
Stay tuned for more