Well, I’ve just returned from probably the greatest trip of my life. We ( Irina, Kayla, Ngozi, Vanessa, Shannon, and myself) spent ten days exploring Indonesia and making the most of our summer vacation. You know the feeling when you’re so exhausted from your daily work schedule but you plan a vacation that is even more draining and tiresome than work? That’s what we did. We woke up early, we hiked, we walked, we ran out of cash, we slept in airports, we got lost, we fell in holes, we cut our toes, we dropped our phones in the ocean, and we got sunburned. But it was so so soooooo fun. Totally worth it. Indonesia is such a warm beautiful country filled with bright colors, happy people, delicious food and lots of incense.
We spent the first leg of our journey near Jakarta exploring the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, and then continued to Nusa Penida, a quiet undiscovered island close to Bali. We thought this would be a nice place to see the real Indonesia and get away from the crowds. We got a driver to take us around the entire island for a day, and he showed us some of the best beaches, cliffs, and views. He liked my sunglasses, and said I looked like John Lennon so obviously I thought he was cool. It was so great to drive around in a van listening to Bob Marley and Shakira as our driver showed us around. We stopped for some fresh coconut, hiked to secret beaches and took lots of photos.
The next day the people at our hostel helped us set up a snorkeling excursion, which turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip. I don’t have any photos, but believe me when I say that swimming next to an enormous Manta ray can change you. It was an amazing experience to see this creature effortlessly glide by you in the deep ocean, surrounded by colorful fish of all sizes and huge reefs of coral and rock. I wasn’t even scared, I was just speechless. The sea snake was a little scary though.
The next part of our trip was 4 days in the insane town of Ubud, which is located in the jungles of Bali basically. This town is a mecca for hipsters, yoga enthusiasts, monkeys, smoothie enthusiasts, mango juice lovers, and purveyors of anything handcrafted or artisinal. We spent most of our money here just shopping and eating delicious food. We visited the nearby rice terrace, a coffee plantation, a waterfall, the monkey sanctuary, and did a lot of walking. This is when Vanessa fell in a deep hole in the sidewalk, and I had to pull her out. It was pretty scary and she did scrape her legs but we sort of laugh about it now. There were tourists from all over the world, especially France, Germany, Australia, and Russia. I did hear one person speaking Greek which astounded me. One of my favorite things about Indonesian culture is that they place a small plate of flower petals outside their homes/shops every morning as an offering. They burn incense with it for good luck. They looked so pretty I couldn’t help but point them out each time I saw them.
The last part of our trip was the sleepy surf town of Uluwatu at the southern peninsula of Bali. Our airbnb was not anywhere near the actual main town, nor did I ever totally find the main town, but honestly we were all so exhausted that we had no problem with just finding the secret beaches that the surfers enjoy and laying in the sand all day. We visited Padang-Padang and Uluwatu beach. We also went to a luxurious beach club ( Soooooo, Sunday Beach Club????) and for a very reasonable cost we got to spend the day like Kardashians. We spent the rest of our time at our beautiful villa that we had to ourselves, cooking, eating mangoes, napping, having synchronized swimming competitions, and playing the hits of Celine Dion.
Now, I am back at my desk in Yeongwol Korea, trying to prepare myself for the beginning of this next semester. I kinda did miss this town. I like the routine that I made for myself and im happy to be back for the most part. I am missing the ocean air, the incense, and the fruit of Bali. But luckily there are only six weeks until the Korean Thanksgiving holiday in October, so stay tuned, because we are hitting up the Philippines next.