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Published: October 11th 2009
Well, my impressively horrible luck with plane rides continues. On my fifteen hour flight from LAX to Taiwan, I was seated next to a (and there just isn't any way to be politically correct about this) 50 year old retarded man who constantly had his hands down his pants and was telling me about his 23 yr old girl friend he was giong to visit in China and he was sneezing all over my food, and I'm not proud to say it, but I almost yelled at a retarded man. But overall, the trip went smoothly. I landed in Bali and got a room in this tourist trap of a town called Kuta, which is remarkable similar to Jaco in CR, where I just was. But I guess every tropical tourist trap is pretty much the same as the next. Lots of good restaraunts, and lots of noise and touts and trash. The beach here is nice, but it's just packed as far as the eye can see.
I told my taxi driver I wanted a quiet, cheap place to stay, and he didn't dissapoint. I rented a scooter from the guest house for 4 days and took off the next
morning. I've driven motorcycles and such all my life, and have spent many days driving scooters around SE Asia, but the first few hours were still terrifying. The roads here are narrow and packed with cars and scooters, and it's just constantly a mad rush. It's a flow, really. There really are no set rules. Lanes are completely irrelevant. People drive down the wrong side of the road all of the time. Dogs and roosters are always juking left and right. Two hours into my drive north, hunched over and tense and really scared, I looked over and saw this little girl pass me, driving with one hand and talking on her phone with the other, and I didn't feel brave. But now I'm used to it, and it's actually kind of like a dream. It's how I always want to drive back home- just passing everybody in whatever way works best. It's really fun.
But anyways, I just wanted to go around the east coast of the island, so I kept the rising sun more or less in front of me till I hit the coast. Drove through lots of cool little mountain villages where the kids would run
out to give me high fives as I drove past. The older boys would stick their hands out, but then pull back at the last second. The bastards. I stayed a night in a fishing village called Amed, and did some really great snorkelling right off the beach. Got up early and continued up the coast and stopped at a random guest house for breakfast where I met an older couple that's lived around here for 40 years. I asked for their opinions and they said to go to the eastern islands. And so did another woman I met yesterday, so now I have a flight out tomorrow morning to the island of Sulawesi.
But back to the story, I stayed a night in the mountain town of Kinta Mani, which overlooks a huge valley with a big volcanoe rising up out of the middle, with a black lava field on one side, and a large lake on the other. Several guides came up to me and asked if I wanted to climb it. I asked some questions about how it was done, then politely turned them down after I'd gather enough information to do the climb on my own.
It turns out I never could find the trail, but it's a barren desolate mountain, so it was just a matter of going up and up. At the top, smoke was coming out of the rocks all over, and the ground was just incredibly hot. My feet would start to get too hot if I stood in one place for too long. I mean, there was no lava or anything, but still. And once at the top, I realized that the "valley" that the volcanoe sat in, was actually a massive caldera from an ancient eruption, many miles across.
The next day I headed to the town of Ubud, which is kind of the mountain version of the tourist trap. Kinda reminded me of Chang Mai in Thailand. But I asked around, and met this cool Australian girl who showed me this tiny little guest house that's hidden down a tiny little alley off the main road, and once you get back there, the place is surrounded by rice paddies. The owner was this old man named Marsa who just loved to talk, and before I left, I'd seen pictures of his wedding and his mother's creamation and of him back in college.
But now I'm back in Kuta, hot noisy Kuta, waiting for my flight in the morning. No spellcheck, sory fur anny errers.
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