The Indonesian island, Bali, is a reflection of what paradise must look like. Bali has the potential of taking one’s breath away. I visited Bali last year in April, and I am still awestruck by its magnificence. We had planned to book a package with a travel agency, but later, we decided to explore this beautiful heaven by ourselves. So, I and my husband started our journey with nothing but a checklist of tourist places and a few clothes in our bags. Arun, my husband, had researched the places very well. He knew what he wanted to explore; however when we reached Bali, we went with our instincts. We had already booked our room in Grand Mirage Resort because it had a private beach, which we never got a chance to see. Why? Well, we made a stupid plan of spending only two days in this paradise, and most of the time, we were in a rush to see every place that we wished to see. I don’t regret spending time outdoors, but I wish, we had a little leisure time in the buffer to enjoy the great offerings of our hotel.
We reached Bali in the evening, and hotel staff asked us not to go on our tourist spree at night, as it was going to rain. In the end, we went for a little relaxation trip in a Spa. The hotel had arranged for our pick up and drop (or was it the spa people? I don’t remember.). The spa was amazing. They had reasonable price and a pleasant staff. I felt ready to rock n roll. By the time we went back to the hotel, the weather forecast of the hotel staff proved to be right, and it had started raining. We enjoyed the view from our hotel; although I must admit that the huge waves of the ocean were horrifying in the night.
Next day brought a lot of excitement and arguments. I was getting impatient with Arun’s “making plans and then canceling the plans” activities. He thought that he could save more money if he booked the cab from outside (rather than booking from the hotel), which was true, and hotel receptionist frankly informed him of the same. Then, he was confused about which places to explore. I got impatient because I had seen him spending hours on the internet when we were back at home, and yet, here he was, confused as ever! Therefore, we did our favorite task and debated for a few good minutes. The arguments ended with him lashing out, and me going in the shower. After a while, he came back as my prince in the shining armor with everything planned and sorted. He had booked a cab at a very reasonable price and told me that we would go to Mount Batur Volcano — the view of this sight is supposed to be spectacular — and Ubud market. That sounded easy and promising, so we started. As always, our plans came crashing down when it started raining. The whole volcano site was covered in the crowds, and we did not witness any magnificent view. I was heartbroken, and Arun was irritated. Nevertheless, we could not stop laughing at the first disaster of our trip to Bali.
On our way to Ubud, we decided that instead of going to see rice paddies and marketplaces, we would go to Tanah Lot and Uluwatu temple. After a lot of negotiations, the driver agreed to take us there. I was not sure what to expect from these two temples, but I had no better inputs — and, I am glad I went along with the plan. Tanah Lot is a majestic temple that is built on a rock that is in the sea. Sounds promising, isn’t it? It looks more beautiful than it sounds. Tanah Lot was packed with tourists. Most of them were with selfie sticks in their hands, and all of them were in the best of the moods. We heard a warning that the tides were high and we should avoid going too deep into the sea. We did not pay any heed to the warning because being swimming-disabled, we were not planning to go deep, anyway. There were men standing on both sides of the temple to escort the tourists who wished to go inside the temple. There were not many people who were crossing the water to go inside the temple, and sadly, we were one of these people. At that moment, I decided that I would learn swimming. Anyways, the view of this temple was marvelous. Even nature seemed to enjoy this side of the world. We did not wish to leave this magnificent site and stayed there for about an hour inhaling the beauty of Tanah Lot.
Our next stop was Uluwatu temple. This temple is built on a cliff facing the Indian Ocean. Seeing the water from the top of the cliff was the highlight of my day. I had never come across the beauty of this extent. I could see the ocean-green water merging with the non-fancy colored water of the ocean. Oh yes, before I forget, want to tell the readers that before entering the temple, we were supposed to tie a purple colored sarong to our waists, irrespective of the sex of the person. I was happy that there was no biasing against any particular gender. Also, we were warned against the naughty and outrageous monkeys before entering. We were offered a guide to protect against these monkeys. However, Arun was reluctant to pay for this protection, as according to him, he has been “protecting” himself from the mischievous monkeys since childhood. I did not trust his assurance, but I went with it.
The day ended at Kuta beach. This was a clean beach with surfers enjoying the waves of the Indian Ocean. Oh, how I hated not learning to swim! Although the guides ensured us that the knowledge of swimming is not required in surfing, we did not wish to test their theories.
Next day, before leaving for another trip, I decided to check the tourist spots and came across Turtle Island and Dolphin Lodge. I had to see dolphins and turtles, so I insisted Arun on adding these destinations in our checklist for the day. So, we met with a dolphin named Jasmine at the Dolphin Lodge. I loved Jasmine. She gave me a kiss — more like a poke on the cheeks with her cute nose. She jumped, made a lot of weird squeaking noise, and splashed water on us by throwing her tail up and down in the water. Arun was scared of going near her but on a lot of trying, he went and gave in to her heartwarming activities.
Our next stop, Turtle Island, was not only a place filled with turtles of all sizes, but it had other attractions, as well. There were a few birds and, I think, snakes. This place is a blur to me, but I remember there was a bird, who was very naughty. When Arun went to click a picture with her, she decided to terrify him; she hopped and pointed her big beak at Arun. Although he would not admit it now, I saw him hop a little.
Before going on a cruise, we went for the water sports and under sea-water walk. I must praise the wonderful and friendly staff of NBC Dive & watersport. We purchased a package from them, which included a few water sports and sea walker. Arun has acrophobia — or so he says! After banana ride only, he gave up the idea of trying other water sports, and NBC staff did not waste any time in refunding the money. Then, we went for seawalker, which meant walking under the sea. I was super excited. Our plan included making a video and clicking photographs by the competent staff of NBC. Arun dunked first and came back, running, kicking, and screaming. Next was my turn, and I was afraid after seeing the reaction of Arun, but thankfully, I spent good amount inside the sea with the fishes 🙂 They clicked a lot of photos and made videos.
The perfect visit to Bali ended with a cruise. There were many options to choose from, but we went with Bali Hai Cruise. The experience was magnificent, and I wished to stay there forever.
After coming back, I jumped at the CD that had all the videos and photos of our water sports. Well, it did not work. I thought that my world had come crashing down — I know it sounds too dramatic, but I felt that way. Immediately I texted the driver of our cab, who had taken us to NBC, and asked him to help us get a copy. He is an amazing guy, who never seemed bothered by our constant nudging and texting. He connected us with Anthony of NBC. Anthony is undoubtedly a great guy, who shared all the pictures and videos on dropbox. Words cannot express my gratitude for his help.
Thus, ended a breathtaking trip to a paradise of the earth. Needless to say that I loved the people and the island from the bottom of my heart. After retirement, I plan to settle there. Whether this wish would come true or not, I do not know, but I would be on cloud 9 if that happens.
P.S. This post is in response to the daily post prompt: Breath