Selamat Datang di Bali~ Welcome to Bali

I started my holiday to Bali early on the 23rd of December. Taxi. One hour flight. Kept the airport tradition by having Starbucks latte and scone. People watching in the early morning. Flying over Makassar about 9:00a.m. Reminded me of stained glass pieces scattered about reflecting off the morning sun. Flying above the ocean…islands dotted the sea below surrounded by teal circles fading to the dark blue waves and the vast waters of infinity.

Makassar

Denpasar 

drive to Padang Bai

Landed. Hit the runway as the waves crashed against the shores. Greeted by an ornate orange and white doorway and a water fountain. Waited for a taxi (400,000rp) to take me to Padang Bai. Because of holiday traffic it took over an hour-almost 2 to arrive. Mountains on one side and shops and an occasional sea view on the other side of the highway. So green; a bright sunny day. Selamat Datang di Bali. Welcome to Bali.

The taxi dropped me at the entrance of a back alley. I felt like it could have been a movie. Take a right before you reach the harbor, go past a white temple and after you see the post office you cannot drive anymore. The path is only accessible by foot or scooter. Stone path. Flowers overhanging walls. Hindu offerings. Temples of a bright golden orange. Children laughing. Random pop tunes blasting from courtyards. Palm trees and banana leaves. Laundry hanging. Fruit flies buzzing over a dropped exotic fruit. Walk 100 meters turn left. Walk up 70 steps. (I passed the door the first time and walked to the top of the hill…with my carryon… and had to back track.) Dripping sweat. Finally arrived at the Lemon House. Homey. Open. Airy. Comfortable. The balcony and kitchen area opened up to an amazing view of stucco-colored rooftops, lush greenery, mountains to the left and the bustling harbor on the right. You can see the sunshine on the bright blue water, sand, waves, and the colors of the boats. The perfect hideaway. (For about $8 a night!)

Settled in. Got a motorcycle ride to the beach. This beach. White Sand. Teal Water. Bias Tegul. Only reachable by foot or motorcycle. Off the beaten path. I practically had it to myself. A few huts called “Warungs” offered food and beverages. Including fresh mango juice and fresh coconut pancakes. They had all the fruit they used displayed. Maybe only 20-30 people along the sand. I heard Australian accents and met a lady from Maine who had moved to Perth and now had a vacation home in Padang Bai. She asked what state I was from and I replied, “Nebraska.” She told me that I was out of my element- I laughed and said white sand, sun, ocean…I am in my element!

Faded pink sun down under smokey blue clouds. Soon the stars twinkled above. It’s so clear in this part of Bali. I haven’t seen the stars in a couple months. And to look up from the balcony with the sea breeze through the palm trees was delightful.

Christmas Eve. Bright morning. My hostel served tea and a banana waffle. It’s a traditional toast thing doused in chocolate. Whatever. It was delicious. My friend’s brother-in-law’s friend is a manager of a fast boat company. EKA JAYA. Got a ride to the harbor this morning. Met him- one of the nicest guys. So grateful for my friend’s generosity especially when prices are more expensive over the holidays. Basically dedicating this post to him and his friends for all their help and assistance. Really could not have made the trip without them! Many many thanks from the bottom of my heart! Met some cool people on the boat. Spent some time on the deck. Sea splashes. Wind. Mountain views of Lombok. The whirring sound of the boat. 
No picture could possibly capture the cascading sparkles on the water. A million diamonds glittering in the clearest teal, washing and spraying the rich white sand. Dear future husband, the diamond on my ring should look like this water. Or better yet just show me the ocean full of all these diamonds. 

Landed on Gili Air. Took a horse and a cart to my villa. There are no cars or motorized vehicles on this island. Unzipped Cottages. I started tearing up. I met another friend of Mario’s whose name is Wir. He showed me y room–front porch, simple wooden furnishings, canopy bed with light sheets and sheers curtains, and the best part…the outside bathroom- sink, shower, and toilet. It’s so pretty… flowers and island greenery, palm trees and blue skies with puffy white clouds above. The pool is 5 steps from my door and the ocean is right down the path.

this dude decided to crawl out of his hiding spot
when the shower starting spraying…
I may have freaked out…
just a bit.

Took a walk. The beach is lined with bars, restaurants, rooftop, and beach sitting areas…cafes, souvenir shops…Kygo music played from one of the bars. Chillout Island Music. Walked further back towards the harbor. Found a local hut selling Vietnamese coffee. So I bought some and am currently sitting on a random ledge getting rock and stone imprints in my bum through my sarong skirt…spilled my coffee a bit because it burned my tongue. Bob Marley plays now in the background competing with the ocean waves. Listening to the waves and writing. It’s one of those moments when all the songs by Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett make sense. I’m basically on Christmas Island.

These lyrics play true tonight…oohh Baby do you know what it’s worth…ooo Heaven is a place on earth. I am beyond blessed to be in such a gorgeous place. The ocean is my place. My sounds. My colors. A place where worries slip and reflection and clarity are vivid. I wish a million wishes that I could share this beauty and serenity and atmosphere with all of you. Though some may think it’s strange I came here zone. I genuinely enjoy spending time alone. I chose to spend this holiday to reflect, rejuvenate, and soak up sun, read, and write. Life in Makassar goes fast and here I am able to slow down a bit and pause before 2015. Escaping the city every now and then is necessary. The feel of Padang Bai and Gili Air is calm and less of a rush of sensory overload. A definite island feel. I am excited to see what this place has in store for me!

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