Lessons Everywhere

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

So many things I want to write about. Maybe I’ll just write about them all…

– Chickens are more common than squirrels here. They are everywhere! There are three chickens that hang out in front of my room every morning. I’ve also come across a frog on my steps, and even a gecko in my room. Chicken = Ayam. Pig = Babi. Frog = Katak.

– A lot of the children walk the beaches selling items for money. The money they make goes toward school or classes to learn English. The younger kids (I’ve seen as young as 4 years old) usually sell bracelets and bags of salt. Most people don’t buy anything, but when they sell something, there’s a mini party after the ‘close.’ Every other kid runs up to the seller to marvel at how much they were given. The older men sell sunglasses or mini fishing boats and the older women sell massages.

– Speaking of massages, another item in my “Things Cheaper Than a Starbucks Tall White Mocha” list: a 60-minute full body massage by the pool. $4 (including tip). I should add that it’s one of the BEST massages I’ve ever had.

– Time. I have so much time now. The days feel like they last forever because everything seems to move a bit slower here. There’s never any rush, no obligations. With all this new free time, I’ve loved sitting on different beaches and observing everything around me. I watched this little girl approach a group of tourists and try to sell them bracelets. She had her official working voice:

“Hello! How are you? Where you from? What’s your name? Nice to meet you.”

This little girl didn’t sell anything to the tourists, so she went back to her Dad’s fishing boat and waited with her little sister for their Dad to get off work. As she was waiting, she noticed her shadow and started making hand puppets, then started dancing.

I so loved it. As we grow older, we tend to stop dancing. When I walked back to my room, I turned on some tunes and danced on my patio. Thanks, little one, for inspiring me!

– Ahhh, my scooter. Last night, I told myself I was going to go back to Putu and tell him I don’t want it for the month. He could keep the money (about $75) and I could rent it whenever I needed it. Everyone I’ve spoken to has reminded me to be careful on the scooter. In my head, I’m always thinking, “Don’t you understand that I am going to be the most careful scooter driver on all of Bali?!” I don’t know why driving it scares me so much. Scared = VERY CAREFUL.

I am mesmerized by how the Balinese drive. Riding a scooter is like walking for them. They’re so at ease – one-handed, holding large items, using their cell phone. I wonder what they would think if they rode along I-5.

I don’t have plans to be that comfortable on the scooter – that would take years and years. And last night, I told myself that it wasn’t necessary I scooter. I was afraid and hearing the orchestra of “Be careful!” in my head. Best way to be careful is to just not drive. Plus, yesterday’s ride definitely got me out of my comfort zone. I drove out of Amed and made a left on the “highway.” I do alright on the roads, it’s just when I need to turn around that I start to panic a little bit. The requirements for me to turn around are a large, flat area, not bumpy, not on a hill, and no people watching. I get extra nervous when the Balinese are watching me (and laughing). After 10 minutes of riding, I finally found a spot that was easy to turn around on. Then when I needed to get back on the road to Amed, I got too nervous and kept going straight. Since their roads are opposite, turning right isn’t the right-of-way. I was worried I’d screw up the roundabout, so I kept going straight to find another flat area to turn around and go back to Amed. 20 minutes later… My nerves just got the best of me and no flat area looked safe enough for my elementary skills on a scooter. Once I returned, that’s when I decided the scooter was just too much for me.

But this morning, i woke up and had an urge to ride it again. I changed my mind and I decided I’m going to hold on to the scooter and just drive it up and down Amed. No need to go much further outside of town. So I hopped on and scootered to Lipah bay and started getting more comfortable with the turn signals and the curves of the road. Sure, I have garbage trucks passing me, but I’m learning to enjoy the feeling of scootering.

– This is the strip of the road I live on.

I’ve gotten to know the Tourist Information guide. Putu. His shop is right across from my hotel. He’s essentially the friendly guy who knows everyone, speaks decent English, and refers everyone to his friends who own businesses. He’s a human Yelp.

I’m loving this little road. I’ve been wondering if I should change it up every week and check out other homestays. A big part of me is telling me to stay at Diver’s Cafe for a while. I’m getting to know the staff and the neighbors. The more I get to know them, the more I get to know Bali.

– And this is something that is confirmed every moment I’m here. Bali is beautiful.


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