Just over a week ago, we left UBud and took the Blue bird taxi to Senur, Bali. The purpose of that adventure was so that Pia could swim with dolphins. An outing she was really looking forward to doing but had never thought to make a reservation ahead of time for her special day.
Yeah, I'm sure you know where this story is headed.
I mention taking Blue Bird taxi specifically, by name because I want to make note that they seem to be the best. As far as Taxi's go at least, blue bird (with the meter running) is said to be the best deal. No need to negotiate a set price before hand just go with the meter. A shuttle service, if it's available for where you want to go, is also a good deal around $6 a person. Or if you want to be extra safe and have an English speaking driver let me know and if your destination is either going or coming from UBud I have a driver for you! He's a local and really nice guy.
We arrived in Senur, checking into The Big Pineapple hostel where Ines was now staying. Ines was going to do the dolphin swim with Pia but as we were booking our overnight stay at the hostel we were informed that the dolphin adventure was already filled. It needed to be booked a week or 2 in advanced, at least.
We all booked our round trip tickets on the fast boat to the Gili islands (leaving the next morning). Then the 4 of us spent the day looking for food and exploring the local beach.
On the way to the beach our German girls stopped into a Chinese place for lunch. The lady working brought all of us homemade fortune cookies even though Alicia and I were saving our appetites for local food.
My fortune was to good not to share. Can you guess which one it is?
"You will marry a professional athlete - if competitive eating is considered a sport"
The big pineapple hostel was full of a great group of backpackers with loads of information for me. I spent most of my night talking with 3 or 4 of them at the common table, typing Thailand noted into my phone. A few of them, like Caroline (from Ireland) had just came from there. This is also where I met another German girl, Diana and her Madrid, Spain friend Laura. These girls met in Japan while interning for the same architect firm and happened to be taking the same boat to the Gili's with us in the morning.
Morning came and our driver showed up a little before 7:30am when we were told to expect him. The round trip ticket to the Gili islands and back also included a driver to and from the boat, both ways. $45us for this wasn't bad considering the driving was just over an hour and a half both ways and the boat ride was around 2hours.
We arrived at the location checked in and ordered some breakfast at an un satisfying restaurant. They forgot my fresh juice and my fruit plate was the smallest I'd seen so far in Bali. I should have bought my fruit from the street vendors just outside the restaurant and saved some money and skipped the added on taxes. Oh well. You live, you learn.
It was soon time to hit the water and head to a new island for a few days.
Gili Trawangan (Gili T.) one of the 3 Gili islands was our destination for the next 3 nights. A beautiful island with no motorized vehicles.
I think that 3 to 4 nights was a good amount of time there maybe 5 nights max. I would have liked to check out Gili air and Gili mino (the other 2 islands).
If Shasta wants to see the Gili's then I will return with her. But I honestly feel pretty good either way, going back or just heading to Thailand sooner.
**Shasta flys to Bali tonight, from Australia. Finally! She was supposed to arrive last night, I had a room booked for her and a ride at the airport but her entire flight got canceled! One word... JetStar!
The price we pay for cheap air fair.
In a way I did get to see the other 2 Gili's as we did a 3 island snorkeling trip and a reef location with lunch at a cafe all for $12 on a glass bottom boat. Gili air was our lunch location so I saw a bit more of it then mino.
The snorkeling tour was worth $12 for sure, I mean seriously! That was a steal!
It's hard to compare the beauty of the snorkeling after experiencing the Great Barrier Reef. This area was beautiful but the locations we were taken to didn't have as much coral life. It was more about the fish and the turtles. At one of the locations the guys gave us all a chunk of bread to take in the water with us and feed the fish. That was a really fun experience, as it brought the fish incredibly close to us. At one point a good sized rainbow fish snuck up on me and as I was pulling apart the bread for other fish, this one bit into the bread in my hand and swam off. He was an aggressive little dude.
At our second to last location I was swimming alone when one of the crew members came up beside me and motioned for me to follow him. I did but had to stop several times as my mask kept taking in water and water kept coming into my snorkel. It had been a mess all day but I was going at my own pace so I hadn't let it bother me. The guy kept coming to the surface to check on me. At first he said, "you smile to much that's why you have water in the mask."
I told him I don't smile when I'm underwater but I'm sure he didn't believe that as he just laughed at me. He tried to adjust my mask and snorkel as I was struggling to do it myself. Then we went back under and he took my hand and pulled me thru a current. When I had to come up again for air I asked him what we were looking for. He responded, "sharks!" I won't lie I had a bit of a panic rush thru me and I actually thought we were looking for turtles.
I looked back at the boat and saw how far away we had gotten from it and we were indeed the furthest ones away from it. We only had 20min at this location and after one more attempt under water with no sign of SHARKS I decided I was turning around.
At our last location I decided to stay in the boat.
The 3 of us, joined with our new friends from the Big Pineapple hostel, Laura (from Spain) and Diana (from Germany) for our only horse and carriage ride. We took it that evening as we had a date to catch the sunset from an ocean bar.
The horse ride was an experience and yet another "in your face" visual of how rotten the animals are treated in Indo. I'll get into that topic more later, I'm sure.
After watching the longest sunset of my life but a beautiful one we walked back to town. In the dark we stumbled down the unpaved road until we arrived at the street food market for dinner.
This market opens every night at 7pm and is hoping! It's always so busy and so cheap, a great place to try the local food and save money. This was the second night in a row we had dinner here. Sadly this was the night I got sick from more then likely, one of these dishes.
If I were to guess what it was I'd say it was the kebab of uncooked calamari that I ordered. After ordering, then it was bbq'ed for me. Perhaps it sat out for to long before being cooked. I pretty much went back to our water front cottage after dinner and within a few hours I was headed to the bathroom. And this is pretty much where this story runs into my "sick" post.
The next morning I laid in bed until the las possible moment. Basically until check out and then I went back to my cottage porch where I could still get wifi. I pulled myself together to make a planned Skype call with my friend Grant, from back home.
I told the girls I'd meet up with them at the boat back to Bali when I was done. What I didn't realize was that Alicia had all our tickets to board the boat and I didn't know which boat co. we were taking. Let's just say walking quickly to what I thought was the only Bali boat pick up didn't go as planned.
There were several along the road and heaps of people waiting to board them. Piles of luggage everywhere and I was sick and frantically walking the street trying to communicate to the locals that I needed help. They all wanted to sell me tickets and I kept telling them I have my ticket but my friend has it and she's already at the boat! Then they'd ask me why I already bought my ticket, why didn't I buy from them? I'd respond, I just need to know the names of the boats! Oh I was so frustrated, hot and I knew I'd need a bathroom soon.
Finally some common sense was knocked into me. I walked tell I found the restaurant that we were dropped off in front of the day we arrived. Thank God, there were my girls. I tossed my bag down and made a bed out of bar stools and laid down until it was time to board the boat.