Disclaimer: This post is a purely personal writing exercise
Day 1: June 3, 2017
I want to write this before I forget.
Last night I arrived in Bali from Hong Kong in a seemingly endless string of flights. Yesterday’s was particularly unpleasant because my seatmate on the plane, a young mainland Chinese man (at least I think so because he was speaking Putonghua and wearing handpainted leather slip-ons with a metal edge), decided to start singing 30,000 feet aboveground. I was so irritated but I couldn’t bring myself to yell at him so I finally huffed and made a show of getting my earphones on to drown out the cacophony of Mandarin ballads he was belting out to the last unit of oxygen in his lungs. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he started listening to music and began to dance in his seat – that awkward, give-your-all movement that made me want to either strangle him or walk away, except I couldn’t because I was strapped in there for a good four and a half hours. Beside a goddamn lunatic.
So when that was over I was finally in Bali, alone. I will not divulge the strange reasons that got me here in the first place, only that I’m here, alone right now, in a Villa in the middle of nowhere, literally rice fields, around 15-20 minutes away from civilization (aka Echo Beach).
The driver that had been booked for me was late and when he finally arrived (he was holding a sad sign of folded up bond paper written with black marker), he sure wanted to talk. I was sleepy as fuck, still jetlagged from Peru (it was Friday, I arrived from Lima Monday night), that place whose time difference from Asia is a good 13 hours. Anyway so I engaged in conversation out of politeness, until I arrived in the said villa in the middle of nowhere. I exhaustedly carried my bags up to my room, thankfully a large one by the pool, and bumped into another guest who had just arrived by scooter. French of course. Asking me indirectly through the owner if I could speak French, to which the owner retorted ‘of course she doesn’t speak French only French people speak French!’ Of course the guy – later I learned his name was Matt – had to list all the French speaking nations in the world including countries in Africa and random islands in various oceans that I’m not about to recount right now.
I was shown the common area – full of French people speaking can-you-guess-what-language and a Russian or two. Great. Perfect to lift my lagging spirits. Please don’t hate-spam the comments if you’re French or Russian. I guess expecting a Brazilian carnevale as my welcome party was slightly ambitious.
It was when I got back to my room with a glass of water in hand that I realized I had left my bag in the taxi, which was by then already 45 minutes to an hour away from where I was in the middle of nowhere (I just have to overstate that…) Thankfully the driver had given me his card in the hopes of getting a job out of me, and I was able to reach him. And thankfully he was honest and returned my bag the next day, with a hefty reward of course to repay his efforts.
I woke up at five in the morning, a bit disconcerted and a little scared at how pitch-black my room was. I went through most of the night with the light on, but had switched it off at some point. I scrambled in the dark for the light switch. Why the hell did I start watching Westworld on that Chicago-Hong Kong flight. Kristen this is your fault. Seriously that series is creepy. I’m switching to Narcos until I’m not sleeping alone anymore. Adi and Joyce, you couldn’t come any sooner.
I did some freelance work for a bit before deciding to finally get up at 8.30am because my stomach was howling with hunger. Howling, not grumbling, because I decided to skip dinner last night. When I’m alone you see, I tend to eat less to offset the times when I overeat when I’m with other people. Also, I get lazy to venture out for food, or – God forbid – cook. And was I about to order food and break my bread with all those French and Russian people out there in the main area?! Hell no. And let’s not forget that I’m in the middle of nowhere.
There I was poking around in the kitchen, wondering where ‘complimentary breakfast’ was. This beautiful Russian girl with supple tan skin and bright blue eyes told me someone usually comes to prepare it. Then a pudgy surfer dude later told me that the girl usually comes at eleven in the morning to prepare the food. ELEVEN AM?? It was already 930 and I was on the brink of fainting. I decided to prepare myself an instant oatmeal, but not before wolfing down a banana I took from this bunch which I’m sure no one will miss. (Sugar container empty? Why am I not surprised. I’ll just eat oatmeal with cocoa powder and low sugar low fat peanut butter.) Oh, and I threw a pack of cream cheese from the fridge which was expired. I absolutely cannot stand expired perishables in the refrigerator. I don’t care if I don’t own it, the owner shouldn’t be eating it anyway.
Matt, the same French guy from last night, who by the way is a martial arts and yoga instructor (the owner told me if I woke up early he could teach me a thing or two), was there in the main area doing housekeeping activities.
Matt offered me a ride to the beach which I immediately agreed to. Nevermind that he’s a total stranger, and French, I was not quite ready to rent a scooter on my own just yet. I thought maybe riding with him I could get my bearings of the area so that later on I can navigate on my own. I’m not exactly there yet, but I’m sure Google Maps will help my sense of direction along.
Canggu main: wow, people are so young and gorgeous here. I feel so blah beside all these blonde surfer goddesses in bikinis and all these effortlessly ripped and chill dudes who ride around with shortboards strapped to their bikes. Wearing makeup or fixing up is pointless because none of these people looked like they lifted a finger to look that good, they are just natural babes all around. I can’t look at myself in the mirror. I can’t eat. So much for being no-nonsense and pragmatic. I’m going home now to write all about this…
Random thoughts: I’m alone! And free! And yet I still miss people. I wonder when I’ll ever be really free (emotionally). Will there ever be a point in which I don’t wish I were sharing this experience with some loved one or other?
To be continued…