Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Bali Breakdown

Bali, Bali, Bali… what I would do to go back right now! This was the first destination on our adventure and we almost didn’t make it. Thankfully running late and a flat tire could not hold us back because we were, Bali bound! While we were in Bali, we made three stops… Kuta, Ubud, and Gili Trawangan of The Gili Islands. (Beware! This is a short novel)

Bubba Gump's in Kuta,
this is for you Kenz!
 Our first stop was in Kuta. My first impression was that this could be the best place on earth! I later would retract this statement but at first glance there was a beautiful mall (I know I am pathetic) with a staircase that literally put you on the beach. Two of my favorite things within 1 minute of each other, what more could I ask for?! For Anna and I the first stop was the mall to get new “surfing bikinis” because of course that was necessary and then to hit the waves. We each took a lesson and were able to actually ride some waves which was exciting. A few days later we were able to rent boards again and get some surfing in, it turned out to not be quite as easy when you didn’t have a “Kuta Cowboy” pushing you into the waves. Kuta has one of the best places in Bali for beginners to learn how to surf, but it was surprising how much trash was in the water. We found ourselves a little bit sad because we had heard such amazing things, but also realized how spoiled we are to live in Thailand and visit amazing beaches on a weekly basis. Also in Kuta we found lots and lots of shopping, had a wonderful foot massage (the first of MANY), and some good food! Oh and how could I forget this is where we tried Bali’s most popular beer Bintang for the first time!

And onto Ubud we go, Ubud was about an hour and a half taxi ride away from Kuta. I was not aware of how lush and green it would be. This was one of the most peaceful places I went throughout the two months. Our guesthouse was in a great location where pretty much everything we wanted to see was in walking distance. There was one main street, which had all of the shops and restaurants. On this street we found both AMAZING Mexican food (and guacamole!) and Pizza. Anna and I had both been feeling pretty deprived of Western food, so to say we ate it a lot is an understatement. In Ubud there are many different Yoga studios, and honestly if there is a perfect place for a yoga studio Ubud is it. The largest among them is The Yoga Barn, and I fell in love with this place and you could say yoga is not a favorite activity of mine. Typically visiting yoga studios is not something that I would take time to do on a trip, but this place was worth it. At the Yoga Barn people were there for just a class and some were there for a weeklong cleanse! Anna and I stopped by for a class, to take pictures while pretending to be Yogi’s and eat one of our only healthy meals of the trip. We had wheat grass shots, grilled veggie wraps, and some other sort of green and pink drinks. It became an on going joke about things Anna would order to drink, it seemed regardless of what she ordered it came out green. This drink was one neither of us could drink and we even joked about pouring it out. Less than 2 minutes later a gust of wind came knocked over numerous things on our table and the drink was dumped out completely… someone was looking out for us haha! My favorite part of Ubud was renting a motorbike and driving around seeing the views. We encountered many rice fields, small village like neighborhoods, and even some monkeys! Because we enjoyed our time so much we ended up extending our stay. After awaking really early one morning, stood on a road with all of our things, and were picked up in a sketchy van… we were on our way to The Gili Islands!!


The Gili Islands is made up of three different islands Gili Air, Gili Menos, and Gili Trawangan. We went to Gili Trawangan also called Gili T, and this my friends is the most beautiful beach location I have ever been to. From the moment we showed up I was smiling ear-to-ear I knew I had found my “happy place”. This island had no cars and everything was accessible by walking, bicycle, or horse and carriage (yes, this happened). The only thing about Gili T is the Mosk. Out of the Mosk came the loudest chanting/singing/prayer I have ever heard in my life. It could be heard at all places on the island and yes, I had a daily wakeup call at 4:30am. Although at times it was quite obnoxious, it did give the island a cultural feel. On the first day we found a restaurant for breakfast directly on the beach, we ended up spending everyday here. In front of the café was GIANT beach beanbag chairs. It is fair to say we absolutely did not leave this place from the hours of 11-5. Also straight out from the café was a deserted boat you could swim out to and hang out on. One of my absolute favorite moments of traveling happened here. One day while we were lying out, it started pouring and everyone was frantically packing up his or her stuff. Anna and I were doing the same when we decided to stash our stuff off to the side and swim out to the boat. We had our own little dance party in the rain on this boat and I remember feeling so happy! Lying on the beach, stand up paddle boarding, and a yoga session took most of our time and I could not be happier about it. Little did I know I had over a month of exhausting traveling just around the corner and I would need this rest. By far this was my favorite place in Bali and I have no doubt I will be back here someday.

PS: Im not sure if I mentioned this before but FYI… After being at Yaowawit for 2 months, school was let out for summer break! This means that from March 15- May 11 I was out and about through Southeast Asia. I am doing my best, kind of J to catch up on all of my blogging so you can hear about my adventures!

PPS: I apologize for the way the pictures are arranged, blogger is not being my friend today. ALSO there will be so many more pictures on facebook, someday when I get around to it!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm backkkkk!

After 18 hostels and guesthouses, 10 lengthy bus rides, 7 flights, 4 countries, 3 overnight trains, 2 months, and 1 backpack I am back at school in Kapong!

I cannot believe how fast these past two months have flown, it seems like just yesterday Anna and I were mapping this trip out. Throughout these two months I have learned so much about Asia, myself and the fact I still tend to over pack. I promise that I will go into plenty of detail about all of the different segments of my trip as soon as I am all settled in back at Yaowawit. The first day of school is on Tuesday and I have a little preparing to do!

Before anything else I need to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to...

My parents and grandma: I am so lucky to have such supportive family members in all of my endeavors. As cliche as it may sound, this trip literally would have been impossible for me without them. I did my best to stay in contact and let them know my whereabouts so the worrying was kept to a minimum. I love you all so much, and once again THANK YOU for supporting me in my crazy adventures.

Steve Jobs: While traveling through SE Asia I have been able to have my iphone with me wherever I go. Some may see this as a downfall and the fact that you cannot get away, but trust me being able to contact home, friends, family when you need them is a plus!

Anna: My travel partner! We had such a great two months traveling and I can't believe how fast it came to an end. Thank you for keeping me sane when at times I was ready to freak out, and for dealing with my grumpiness when I am hungry.. whoops :) I missssssss you already Anna Ko, reunion in Germany?