I have been living in Bali for almost a week. Its been a great week of meeting friends and finding my way around. Here is what I did, what I learned and what I don’t want to do again.
1. You don’t need to bring your snowboard.
I might have gotten really excited when I was waiting for my luggage at the airport. All these “snowboard” bags were everywhere. Obviously, it was snowboard season in hot humid Indonesia!
Yes, I promise it only took me a minute or two. Surfboards.
Remember, I am blonde underneath this purple hair.
2. One tourist attraction off my List, barely.
There are the typical top 10 tourist things to do anywhere you go. I knocked one off the Bali list when I went to the Tanah Lot Temple. I went with a new friend from my hostel Tribe Theory.
Our original plan was to leave at 6:00 am and drive scooters to the temple before the crowds.
Our new plan began when both the scooters we rented would not start, we could not get a GO-RIDE (see below) and the GO-CAR we rented wasn’t moving on the app. Since this would be my first time riding a scooter in Bali, I took this as a sign. Finally, on our last attempt before saying screw it, a GO-CAR driver was headed our way.
We arrived at the temple around 7 and missed the sunrise but we were the only ones there and the tide was still low enough for us to walk all the way to the temple. We received some type of blessing that we all know I need.
3. No more autographs, please.
You might not know it, but I am a celebrity in China. I know. I know. You are not surprised. It was only a matter of time until I was discovered as they say.
Anyway, I have heard of this happening in certain parts of the world. But it has never happened to me.
As we were leaving the Temple, a tour bus had pulled in. We weren’t in our typical celebrity disguises because we just wanted to “be normal.” We were spotted almost instantly.
A Chinese man approached us and asked us nicely if we would take a photo with him. Confused but being polite, we said sure. The photo was taken. Then a woman joined the man for another photo. Then just the woman by herself. Then two more people jumped in. Then another man. Then an older lady. Then the man and the old lady. Then a group photo with everyone.
We could not walk more than five feet when someone walked up to us asking for a photo. Finally, we nicely declined and got out of there.
From what I have been told and please understand I am not trying to be disrespectful in any way. If someone has a better explanation, please let me know. Many of these people are from more remote areas and have never seen people of another race in person. To them, we are people that are only in books and on tv.
People go on vacation and take photos of sights they have only seen in a brochure. So ultimately, a photo with two light-skinned, blonde and purple-haired females is the same as taking a photo with Cinderella at Disney World.
4. It’s a real toilet, kinda.
WARNING. This is getting a little personal. If you have ever been to southeast Asia, you understand and if not, sorry.
I actually have a flushable toilet. I mean it. You can flush pee, poop AND toilet paper.
Now I’ll be honest I haven’t really asked if it can flush everything but if not, there is usually a hose and a bucket. And a large sign warning you of what will come if you put anything other than human waste in the toilet.
I was nervous at first. I eased into it by only putting toilet paper in the toilet every other time. No issues yet and its been 4 days of semi-consistent flushing.
I say semi because my toilet does still have the ass cleaning water hose. I’m starting to get why people use it. It makes sense. Wiping with toilet paper instead of using the water hose is like washing with baby wipes instead of taking a shower. Something to think about.
One question though… I’m confused about what to do after. I mean, your bottom is clean but it’s wet. I’ve been using toilet paper to dry but normal households in many countries do not have toilet paper in their bathrooms. I have definitely done the shake shake after peeing in the woods at a pit party (It’s a hometown thing). But let’s be honest, it doesn’t work.
The whole thing is a mystery to me. Please help.
5. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck… It’s a Tourist Trap
I got scammed. It’s my own fault. I should have known when I walked in and only saw tourists shopping. Tip-off #1.
I needed to get groceries. I put a grocery store in google maps and off I went to what looked like a typical American grocery store. Tipoff #2.
I was so excited to see they had all the same brands, I bought back home in the US. Tipoff #3.
AND… everything was in English.
I know. I’m an idiot. Things were expensive but typical prices I would see at home. I thought that was weird but was still not overly concerned.
It wasn’t until later when I happily told my new friend how awesome it was that I could buy all my favorite food just down the street… Bubble popped… the grocery store chain (Pepito Market) is only for tourists.
Locals shop at all the amazing markets and stands I pass daily, selling…. you guessed it… groceries. But thankfully I’ll be ok because I now have my super healthy, organic, made in America almond butter.
6. Your scooter driver is on his way. He is driving a green two-wheeled vehicle with license plate DK3198AC.
GOJEK. I thought Uber and Lyft were cool but GOJEK has them beat. In just a touch of an app, your scooter (yes, scooter) will be on its way. Fast and efficient. They even have their phone mounted on their handlebars. The only problem is there isn’t much room for stuff…
7. I went to the Gym… Once.
I went to the gym… once.
8. Beware of the scooters.
Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Ok, whatever.
What is really important….
DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE A SCOOTER WITH YOUR WIFE, GRANDMA, INFANT KID AND THE KITCHEN TABLE WITH YOU ON THE SAME SCOOTER.