After our six-month stint of solid working in the Aussie outback, we were more than ready to hit the road again and carry on exploring the world. Our next destination would be Indonesia – starting with that most exotic of places – Bali.
Bali is one of those islands that conjures images of relaxing sandy beaches, colourful culture and tasty Asian cuisine. To make sure we made the most of this exciting new place, we planned to hit the beaches at the nearby Lombok-owned paradise islands known as the Gilis for a week of rest and recuperation before settling in Bali’s cultural centre – Ubud.
We left Napperby at 4am in the morning to get to our flight with plenty of time and by the time we’d finally reached Bali at 9pm we were both pretty tired (we’d had to fly two hours south to Adelaide to get a connecting flight taking us five hours north to Bali… it was the cheapest way!).
Arriving at the airport in Bali was an interesting experience. Not only were we exhausted, we were completely out of practice with travelling after our Australian ‘hiatus’ and the sights, sounds and smells of Depansar airport hit us like a strong shot of whisky after a year of sobriety.
Instantly dazzled and disorientated, I mindlessly followed the people in front of me through to the arrivals area, where we queued for 20 minutes for an Indonesian visa (which it turned out we didn’t need because we are British!). Confused, I wondered along after the next group of people who looked like they knew where they were going, and we ended up waiting at a crowded baggage carousel for our backpacks. One by one, as the people around us collected their items and excitedly carried on with their journey to the outside world, it became very clear that our bags were not one of the few rejects that always seem to be left spinning around on the conveyor belt.
Starting to fear that finally our luck had run out and our bags had been eaten by the lost baggage monster, Dale went off to find someone to help. He returned with both of our backpacks, which had been sat unclaimed for 30 minutes on a completely different baggage carousel!
After getting our shiny new Indonesian Rupiah from the nearest ATM, we set off for a taxi who thankfully spoke good English and knew where our hostel was – all this was pretty fortunate as normally we would be far more prepared and have the hostel address and a map on a piece of paper just in case of a communication barrier, but being travel brain-dead we had forgotten this.
All in all, our transition back into travel-mode wasn’t the smoothest it could have been, but the people in Bali met our weary faces with bright smiles, helpful natures and (perhaps the most welcome of all) a good grasp of English. Maybe a week lying on a sandy beach in the Indonesian sun would get us back in the backpacker mind set and ready for anything again!