Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Breaking the ice.

A week and a half. Seems like forever since I flung through time and space to the other side of the world. I have earned some saddle sores in foreign countries but always with some grasp of the language. Meaning most of my travel has been in Spanish, French or English speaking countries where I had mastered some key phrases. Now, I find myself in Indonesia years since my last adventure a bit unarmed and slightly askew. Pre-departure I was intent upon all the things it takes to make a winter away happen. Not much left in planning for the moment I stepped off the plane. This may be an idiosyncrasy of mine. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. It's my adventurous spirit. Daringly naive.
It took four days for me to feel like I had actually landed. Day five now. I can exhale. 
The last four days... Let's see. The beauty was not immediately evident. I was just trying to keep up with my local guides. Two classic surfer guys kind enough to take me under their wing. I'm fortunate to have a good friend with a house here who generously offered me a place to stay. Crazy small world that it is, the caretaker of my friend's house is Jacob Eanes, old time Ophir local that I grew up with. So lucky me with a place to stay and an old friend to pick me up and show me around.
Even then. 
It's really the motor bikes. I guess they are mopeds. Haha. You laugh. Now, intersperse hoardes of speeding bikes and full sized vehicles on two small lanes with endless rows of shops tightly hugging the highway. Helmet please. Body armour I wish. Angels and prayers, yes.
The best part is the round about and major intersection where four big roads converge just down the street. It's more like a triangle than a round about because there is only one lane for both right and left. This means that as you pull in to make a right turn coming from the left lane (let me mention that we are also driving on the left side of the street) you cross traffic and then turn right into the same lane as oncoming cars. Yep. And everyone kind of takes turns but no one really stops and the entire intersection is only as big as the center of the round about in Telluride. So that's been exciting. 
Of course the second day on the bike I started to lean and my hand got stuck on the throttle as I was trying to hold onto the bike. It spilled and wasn't stopping. My primitive skills led to a minor peeling back of some precious skin on my shin. Neosporin and tea tree oil. I'll be fine. Truly, I drive Iike a grandma on this thing and try to stick to the country roads. It's just taking a bit to find them. I thought too that I could get away without travel insurance. I've done it before. After four days in the Bukit Peninsula I got myself online last night and signed up with world nomads travel insurance. Smartest thing I did all day
Now the money. $100,000 rupiah is $7. So all the currency has a large number of zeros trailing behind it. And small change comes in bills. There has been no end to my confusion in the moment of payment interactions. Add the stickiness of the heat, humidity and dust and I've had moments of mental acuity comparable to wet concrete. Fortunately, the Balinese people are incredibly warm and beautiful. Smiles as radiant as the sun itself. Eyes like a warm bath. I figure as long as I can keep a healthy sense of humor I'm winning as they say.
As things smooth out, I have to say my favorite discovery thus yet has been the nasi campur. This is their classic mixed dish plate consisting of rice and/or noodles and your choice of a variety of amazing vegetables, tofu, tempeh, egg or meat options. Much of it is fried but can be avoided. Then a side of chili sauce or peanut sauce. A full plate costs all of a dollar. And it is good. Really good. Fresh and tasty. My kind of eating really. 
While the entry hasn't been the easiest I can already sense the magic and I am excited to be here in this mystical land. I hope to continue to share my experience of the un-jaded traveler with you! Enjoy the snow, I'll be thinking of you as I am surfing the turquoise wave. Love, Kristin


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