It has been over a month since I have updated my blog- here it goes. I figured this blog would contain the stories from the last month (school and Thailand) but my mid semester break in Bali changed my mind. As cheesy as it sounds, the eleven days I spent in Bali were both eye opening and life changing. For one thing, I am certain that I will never stop travelling and I also need a career one day that will allow me to do A LOT of it- bye vet school. Back to Bali: it is a magical place! The culture, environment, mountains, ocean, flowers, people, food, and attitudes, are something so special that words can’t describe. I imagined Bali to be amazing but the way that the island maintains such a high level of culture while sustaining thriving tourism, is incredible.
Just a few of the amazing flowers that are found throughout Bali
What made my experience so fantastic to start out with was getting my PADI DIVE CERTIFICATION in Tulamben, Bali!!! This is something I have dreamt of doing for years and it finally became a reality. Although I have very few fears in life, one of them was (past tense!) a fear of deep ocean water. I don’t know if it’s a fear of the unknown that exists down there or what but it frightened me a bit. I figured I may be a bit scared of diving but that was not the case. The moment I first put the regulator in my mouth and jumped in the water, I knew it was meant to be. It also helped that our Balinese dive instructor Erik was awesome! I know I am getting ahead of myself but diving is the greatest thing I have ever done in my life- nothing compares (so far). I honestly was teaming with joy and I could have stayed underwater the entire day. The first day of diving I got to swim right beside a 2+ meter white tip reef shark, lion fish, stingrays, tropical fish galore, dozens of species of coral, sea fans, sea squirts, sea slugs, seahorses- pretty much everything!!! The next day we got to dive to 18m deep and inside a ship wreck from WWII! I got to see a massive barracuda, eels, pumphead parrotfish, octopus, and about a million other marine animals! When I spotted the octopus I swam down to its level and stayed there till it went under the coral. Just staring at an animal bores some people but there was nothing going through my head but utter bliss. I know I am a complete nerd but diving is my new favorite thing! It even made me realize more than ever that a career in marine bio may be exactly what I need to do!
|Right before my first open water dive!!!!|
Erin, Sarah, and I taking the plunge!
Some of the incredible species we got to see!!!!!
I love the anemone fish!
Us and our dive instructor, Erik :)
Sarah and I lookin' super fine...
Lionfish that we spotted!
The eye of an octopus as he hides in a coral garden
Swimming in the ship wreck!
Diving was not the only great thing…the town of Tulamben was on the same level to me as a few of my small favorite towns in Costa Rica. The Balinese people welcomed Erin, Sarah, and I with open arms and I certainly felt at home. It might be bad of me to say, but while I love Malaysia, I hoped that I could wake up in Tulamben knowing that I could stay as long as I wanted. The Balinese people introduced us to their traditions, customs, stories, food, music; you name it- we got immersed in it. We went to a restaurant that had a live band- and became friends with the members. After the restaurant closed we all sat around a table and sang songs as the band played the music. Something as simple as sitting with seven Balinese people and making music was so special to me. They even knew some of my favorite songs- and sang Sweet Home Alabama for Sarah-haha.
Views from our hotel!
The dive center gave us a motorbike for the time we were there so we got to explore the entire town (and even eat one of the best meals I have ever consumed!). Erin, Sarah, and I squeezed onto one motor bike- of course they made me drive- and we had a great journey! We could not drive more than 10m without people waving to us and smiling. Everyone in Bali was happy and had brighter smiles than I have ever seen before. We randomly picked a small restaurant on the side of the road to eat at. What we didn’t realize is that everything on the menu was octopus! In the same day that I got to swim alongside an octopus, I also ate one- I am gross. But it tasted sooooo good!
Mountain vista from our "joyride" around Tulamben
View as we drove through the town :)
What's on the menu for tonight? OCTOPUS soup!
The last night in Tulamben we hung out with our dive instructor and Balinese friends and went to the beach to sing and play the guitar. Before the beach I took a pit stop to see a valley between two mountains where you can see the ocean from one side and the jungle from the other. As I stood there, I looked up at the dark sky, which normally contained hundreds of bright stars, and all I saw was two. A few days before I was listening to the Balinese people tell stories about their culture. The one that remained with me the most was the fact that to the Balinese, stars are reflections of lost souls who no longer reside on Earth. When I looked up in the night sky and saw those two stars I was filled with the appreciation that I have for my life. I hope that doesn't sound too lame but it was a really eye opening moment for me. I realized that have so much to be thankful for and I am so grateful to have so many adventures to go on in my life! This semester abroad, which still has half remaining, is an experience that is priceless...
The last day in Tulamben, Sarah yelled to me and said that there was a HUGE lizard. I figured it was maybe a couple inches bigger than the normal ones but I still came out to see it. It was far from what I expected, if fact it was a large male Tokay Gecko. After watching him for a while and taking photos, I thought it would be brilliant to try and pick him up. So, I reached down, grabbed him, and then it went sour. My left hand was bitten, hard I might add, but I am the idiot that didn’t put him down. He then bit my right middle finger and then a knuckle on my right hand. The last bite was hard enough that he wouldn’t let go and had to be pried off using a knife. I didn’t scream or make any noise during the encounter but as soon as I saw the knife, the only thing I could do was rant to the men not to hurt the Gecko. Luckily he was fine but my hand looked awful. The skin on my knuckle was ripped down the bone and both hands were dripping blood. At least Sarah was awesome and helped me out :) I am glad she at least got to witness my stupidity so that it wasn't a complete waste. I don’t know how but all three bites are already perfectly healed and I learned my lesson BIG TIME. Never again will I mess with a wild animal like that!
The Gecko that I was defeated by...
We left that day from Ubud, a quaint and hippish town in Bali. We stayed in home stays pretty much the entire time left in Bali. The first night in Ubud we found a nice home stay but they had no room for three people. While we were walking to the next home stay, the young man came to us and said he had one room we could stay in- his room. We made our way into the homie room with a huge king size bed! His toothbrush, deodorant, and all his possessions where in the room. His family was some of the nicest people I have ever met. In Ubud I got to see a monkey temple, a traditional Balinese trance dance, ate SUSHI for the first time in Asia, and saw beautiful rice fields!
|Artwork at the secret garden|
View on the way to Ubud!
Traditional Balinese trance dance in Ubud!
The next stop in Bali was Uluwatu- one of the best surf spots in the world. Sarah and I figured we would stay for a night or two but we stayed there the entire rest of Bali. On the first day of being there we walked down to the beach and Sarah lost a shoe. She ended up finding a small black sandal to use as a replacement. Who would have guessed that losing a shoe would cause you to meet some great friends? A very tan girl asked Sarah if she was missing another black shoe- the shoe that went with the one she took. From that moment on, we had met some awesome people! We all went to eat at Silver Fish, a bar and restaurant above the surf, and hung out with our new friends for the next five days. We became instant friends with three Canadian- Veronica, Tracey, and Jessica and an Australian named Sid. What made me even more excited was that Jessica was from the very north east of Canada and is an Eskimo! She lives in a town that has seals, whales, polar bears, wahhhhh!!! I am now friends with my first Eskimo! By the end of the five days we referred to each other as a family- it is amazing how much you can get to know people in such a short time. We ate breakfast together, sang songs along with the guitar, star gazed, made homemade Salsa, went on motorbike rides to neighboring towns in Bali, went to a pool party, made homemade Sangria, swam in the ocean, and had tons of other adventures. We also met people from all over the world coming to surf- people from Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Britain, Costa Rica, Morocco, you name it!
At the surf spot at Uluwatu
View from the Monkey Temple!
Wow, Uluwatu was beautiful!
Sunset with our new friends :)
Tracey, Sarah, Me, Veronica, Sid, and Jessica :)
My favorite Indonesian food! CAP-CAY!
On the car ride to Kuta :)
Last animal I got to see in Indonesia- a cute goldfish :)
Now I am back in Malaysia but I am quite certain that I will be back in Bali in the future!
Selamat Malam! That means goodnight in Malay :)