When in Bali Again

by shz

There were many reasons why we revisited Bali. There was something about the previous trip 2 years ago that didn’t quite complete. And almost all the time since then, we thought about returning. About what we would have done different, about the other side that we didn’t see. About all the things we saw and we wanted to see again.

And I had always thought about riding a bike in Bali. You can say I was trying to be Julia Roberts in search of my Ketut. But I actually had thought about it even from previous trip, which most of the times were spent in the van, travelling from a place to another, experiencing Bali at the comfort of my seat and the fast moving visuals from the window. There was no way in I was going to do the exact same thing again, otherwise what is the point of returning? Most roads in Bali are narrow and you can almost see life happening immediately next to it. People selling, carving, building, worshiping, bathing, eating, planting.. all within your grasps if you’re close enough to them. All friendly enough if you want to talk to them. All welcoming enough if you want to photograph them. Which were all I ever wanted from any of my travels, really.

So we signed up for a bike tour, and I got on a bike with a seat too small for my big ass,  going through what our guide would call “secret back roads”, hiking off the contours, going through the muddy tracks of paddy terraces, pushing off the bike up steep hills, all dirty and sweaty out of the 24 km-route… not at all like Julia Roberts in search of her destiny. But man oh man, that is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. There were times when I was riding and being amazed at the beautiful landscape and thought, “God. What did I do to deserve this beautiful sight I’m looking at?”

After the amazing time in Ubud we moved to Kuta and just for the record: I HATED IT THERE. It was like the opposite of Ubud – commercialized, fake, dirty, expensive and everything I imagine Bangkok would be. If that is Kuta, I didn’t miss much from my previous visit. But nevermind that, Fakhrul had an agenda for being there. An important one to him. Something he had been looking forward to for months. Something all he had ever talked about and what I had to listen to.

Yes Fakhrul, I know my beginner skill is pretty impressive

We took up surfing class in Seminyak since the beach there are suitable for beginners and safe for the non-swimmers, aka Mr. Overexcited himself. A lot of white washes, little waves with gentle slopes. On this bit I guess if Fakhrul had a blog, his blog entries for a month or two would have been on this alone. Quite truthfully, I was just there for fun and for this picture:

Surf dudes and duchesses 

And also this time around was my opportunity to get in touch back with photography. As obvious as it is, of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity for being hands free of a baby, so we’ll see. Honestly, I can’t wait to share what I’ve captured with you here. But let it ripe, give it a bit of time. Let me forget about Bali for awhile and revisit the memory of it in a different form other than words.

You see, in any places we’ve traveled to, there’s a great chance that the next person we know have been there also. Let alone Bali which is so close and undoubtedly a popular choice for many. But because we decided to do it differently and way out of our tourist comfort zone, it became something else. And in the words of my wise Fakhrul, “Its the unusual things you do, that you’ll remember the most in life.”


So true.