I wish I could say the trip to Bali was easy, but unfortunately my 24 hour trip soon turned into a full 36 hours. I slept for 30 minutes on the cold floor of the JFK airport, probably 3 hours of my 16.5-hour flight, and 1 hour of my 4.5-hour flight. When I FINALLY arrived in Bali I stayed in a hotel near the airport because the thought of an hour-long taxi ride at 2am made me want to cry. In the morning, I took a taxi to Ubud, which is deeper into Bali and more in the mountains. Unfortunately I do not speak the language and my taxi driver spoke little English and with a strong accent. I often just nodded or said “Yeah” to his comments of questions, even answering “haha yes” to his question of “How old are you?”
After I got over that embarrassment, I checked in at the hostel, which was beautiful and hidden from the main road with a pool and rice fields surrounding. When I gave the clerk my passport he looked at it and said “Wow you are younger than me!” and then he peeked around the counter, looked me up and down and said “So big…” I laughed, of course because what else can you do? The size of most people in Bali, as well as some other developing countries, can be much smaller than in developed countries. This can be for a variety of reasons including malnutrition, types of foods eaten, and frequency. This young man was shorter than me and probably weighed 30 pounds less. But I’m pure muscle yah know so… yeah.
Once I settled into the hostel I immediately felt bad for getting there so late in the day and not going out into the town to explore, because this is a once in a lifetime experience and I have to live it to the fullest. It took me a moment to step back and look at all the other Hostel guests who were napping in the room, swimming in the pool, or making their way to yoga classes. Then I realized, I didn’t come here to be a New Englander, I came here to immerse in the culture and relax. Indonesian culture moves much slower than what I experience back home. Spas, yoga sanctuaries, hillside cafes, and small boutiques line the streets. Although I’m sure these are mostly for tourists, the people of Bali still participate in this life. Now that I have decided its okay to just sit and not do anything and just enjoy the sun’s rays (which are MUCH stronger and gave me a burn after 20 minutes of laying out. I’m ok though don’t worry).
Today it is 9am and I have only been up for an hour. I have sat by the pool and planned out my day. I have moments of thinking “But what if I don’t finish it all or get to do everything I want to do!?” Then I have to remind myself, “Better to live slow and experience, than to rush and miss the beauty.” Also I know I will be back in the future, because how can I stay away from such a beautiful place.