The moments before I fall in love with Bali...
The moments before I fall in love with Bali…
2 nights, nearing 2 days, is how long I’ve been in Bali. For those of you back home (Alberta, Canada), my current time zone is 15 hours ahead of yours so as I’m typing this it’s 3:30 PM Bali time Saturday, and 12:30 AM Saturday morning for all of you.
Today I began to appreciate Bali more as the time leading up to this has been mostly isolated in my spacious room.
Moments of sharing challenges before moments of sharing how incredible Bali and the universe are at bringing out the good in everything…
Waiting in line to go through customs to get into Bali, I was visiting with a lovely couple when a woman standing behind us went into diabetic shock… thankfully there was a lady in the line behind hers that was absolutely wonderful in ensuring she was well taken care of and supporting the airport staff in what needed to happen next (she had a juice in her bag that she now drank, and all seemed to have turned out okay).
Fingerprinting… more security, and realizing what I thought I knew was in fact incorrect.
You DO need a Visa on Arrival (VoA) (500,000 Ind. Rupiahs) to get into Bali, even if you’re here for one night only.
You DO NOT need to book a return flight to get into Bali, you just need to ensure your Visa is renewed / you have the appropriate Visa for how long you intend on staying.
What I’ve learned…
1. Wait until your feet heal until you travel. (Common sense prevails again… I know.)
I spent most of the day yesterday with my feet elevated as my left foot had become inflamed after 28+ hours of travel. I’ve since taken 6 extra strength Advil, performed manual lymphatic drainage on it three times, and it seems to have improved. Today, I ventured out for a walk, some food, and an inquiry at a medical clinic in case I feel the need to get antibiotics there. So far I don't feel I’ll need them, but I have now showered, cleaned my feet with alcohol swabs and reapplied Polysporin so we shall see how they look come morning.
2. Turns out, I’m not a fan of monkeys in real life.
If you’re my family, you know, if you’re not, you’re about to… I was such a fan of monkeys that when I created my first email it was ‘monkey-mania…’ and, I had this purple sweater with monkeys on it that I wore for not one, but two, school pictures, 2 years apart (had to get retakes the second round, otherwise that monkey sweater would have only made it into one round of pictures…).
I thought it would be lovely to stay right in the monkey forest in Ubud as I’ve only heard wonderful things about this city. Well… I arrived safely thanks to an impeccable driver, check-in was seamless with a complimentary glass of orange juice, my room is spacious and clean, and I’m surrounded by stone and trees. And… monkeys (Balinese long-tailed macaque I think).
I’m standing in my room, door locked, enjoying the view and the monkeys doing monkey things right outside. There are a lot of them close by at this time, at least 4, as two younger women come walking down the path. One woman turns left towards the room next to mine and then I hear screaming from her and screaming soon follows from the lady who was with her. I quickly hit '0' to call the monkey guard (yes, I was guided to call the monkey guard any time there were a lot of monkeys outside if I was headed out), that took me a meter from the door and as soon as I got off the phone I looked outside and the women were gone, and the barricade between my room and the room next made it so I couldn’t see anything that may have happened. I feel, and I hope, it is safe to predict that everyone is okay.
Since that moment I’ve been scared to leave my room, not having done much research regarding what to do amongst monkeys didn’t help either... as I type this, having now done research on what to do around monkeys, I can confirm it still hasn’t helped bring me peace of mind. I am sitting in my bed, feet elevated, journaling in the form of this blog, and I thought it would be nice to have the curtains open, appreciating the view for my last night here as the pouring rain continues. I thought right, except those curtains are closed now… the monkeys are doing monkey things again, which led to 2 smaller monkeys gallivanting right outside my door, and then a big monkey that looks like he could take me out comes sauntering across the tile outside, climbing up to the left stone wall to take his place. I don’t like it… I don’t like it at all… so I played my firecracker YouTube playlist (unfortunately they didn’t seem phased at all by that form of loud noise) and drew the blinds closed. Now I sit here, not yet feeling safe again but that will return very soon I’m sure, potentially as soon as I’m done talking about it.
What Google has told me about being around monkeys…
Monkeys are scared of snakes. (I have not tested this but have certainly envisioned walking around with a fake snake around my neck hoping it would deter all monkeys always.)
Make loud noises by banging things, like a bamboo stick on the rocks. (I also see people walking around with big bundles of what looks like grass to do the same, I presume.)
Don’t smile. Showing teeth can be perceived as a sign of aggression. (Rhesus Macaque Monkey “threat face”: open mouth, forehead and ears pulled forward.)
Avoid eye contact, and don’t stare.
Don’t panic, yell, or fight back. Stay calm, back away slowly without turning your back and remember the point above. This applies if the monkey jumps on you too.
Don’t carry plastic bags or anything in your hands, they may think you are carrying food. (If you are hiding it, they’ll know, and they’ll go for it, this includes mints and gum.)
Finders keepers. If the monkey grabs it, let it go, do not ever pull back.
They recognize faces, and seek revenge intelligently (it terrifies me to type this as I totally stared at the monkeys when I first got here, and look near them often from behind closed glass doors).
If you get a monkey bite or scratch, scrub with soap and clean water to thoroughly clean the wound, irrigate with clean running water after that for 15-20 minutes, and seek medical attention immediately.
*Disclaimer: Do your own research. This is my understanding of the research I have done and holds room for error.
Do you see him see me?
3. Traveling alone is a stretch for me.
I knew it would be an experience to say the least, and outside of my comfort zone, but to do it across the world with so many factors at play… well, it certainly is something, and everything I need it to be one might say…
Have I figured out why I came here yet? Not quite… a solid perspective check perhaps, and appreciation for the depths of beauty that lies in places I don’t know. And the irony… of absolutely everything. (Perhaps a post on that alone is in the future…)
Honest… getting lost in my “work” helps me feel connected, and not so alone, but tomorrow I venture out and shall stay at a new place which I feel will drastically decrease my ability to “work”, and my need to connect more intentionally within, and with the world around me, safely.
4. SIM cards are a gamble.
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll figure out how to get mine to work. It worked the first evening and then stopped working the next morning. Also, it’s cheaper to buy outside of the airport, as you probably could have guessed.
5. Google Maps “Offline Maps” | “Search and navigate offline. Just use Maps normally.”
It seems it is not as simple as that for me... perhaps tomorrow I’ll figure it out. This brought me gratitude for a restaurant that was recommended to me happened to be just a two-minute walk from where I'm staying.
It seems I'm tired now so best leave it at that... more to come though as Bali might be growing on me (hopefully not literally...).
There is a ton of beauty here, kindness, and inspiring rituals.