I arrived in Bali just after midnight and went to sleep pretty soundly. The hostel I’m at is not too bad, although I also am paying for what I get ($5 a night) so it’s not exactly like it’s a five star place nor did I expect it to be. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise on the balcony of the hostel which has a shrine (all houses have a shrine).
The weather has been rainy and humid but it is actually nice since I’m not used to 80 degree weather and humidity. I just came from a snowstorm and dry Colorado winter after all. It is strange because I’m not a fan of Texas humidity but this kind of humidity doesn’t feel so suffocating. I think the best part is that my scalp isn’t itchy (because my scalp gets so dry in the winter it becomes unbearably itchy) and I don’t have to put lotion on every five minutes.
I woke up around 6 am and felt ready to go. My roommate woke up a little later. She’s great! She is Indonesian but from the north and is working about 50 minutes away at an ice cream shop. We talked a bit about traveling but mostly about what we do and some things to do in Denpasar.
We bonded over our morning beauty routine and love of Indomie. She’s currently writing a short story and we talked about poetry, which I am not at all knowledgeable about.
Then I went to the Bali Museum and walked around the city park. Someone was taking wedding photos at the museum.
Then I walked back to the hostel which was a long walk but I always like just walking around the neighborhoods. I was stared at constantly. It’s partially because the area where my hostel is in is not the tourist spot, so it’s pretty uncommon to see tourists just walking around.
I got some water, dragonfruit, and honeydew melon at the supermarket and ate that for lunch on the hostels balcony.
Then I got a cab to go to Tegenungan falls. The cab drivers name is Thomas, well it’s his middle name which he uses because it’s easier for foreigners to understand. Anyway, the first question pretty much everyone here has asked me is “Where are you from?” and I explain my back story and get the usual responses.
This conversation was different though because Thomas is Chinese, born in Jakarta and his great grandfather came to Indonesia way back. I had told him how I’ve never been to China aside from when I was born and he was sharing how he has never been there either.
But I asked about how Jakarta is because I had heard that Chinese people face racism there and it really opened up a whole long conversation about the conflicts, politics, religion, and a lot about his personal life that revolves around the issues. I won’t delve into our particular conversation but the Indo-Chinese conflicts is something that I had learned about just before the trip.
I first heard about it on this CodeSwitch podcast 17,000 islands, 700 languages, and a Superhero and then read this article. And in JFK I ran across this article. What Thomas and I had talked about certainly aligned with what these were talking about.
I don’t have much to add to this except that I’m glad, surprised, grateful that the conversation unfolded in the way that it did. We also went to the rice fields in Ubud. He stopped on the way back and got some street food for me (we had been talking about enjoying spicy food, which he attributed to being Chinese). It was good, sate with chicken, fried fish, and rice.
I walked about 7 miles today and my feet are tired, I got bit by some bugs, and I’m sweaty so I’m not planning on doing anything else tonight except maybe watching a movie. Tomorrow I leave for Padang Bai, it’s a tiny village on the North East coast. Thomas says there’s not much there which I actually look forward to a quieter village.