Winter always seems to be a run-around-like-a-chicken-with-your-head-cut-off sort of season- Christmas shopping, vacations, New Years plans, work parties, house parties and numerous deadlines. We all find our ways to survive the cold and for me, cooking is one of the best paths to warmth.
Another great way to get warm is to go on vacation! To Bali! On the beach! Bali warmed (burnt) me for five whole days of perfect perfection. It was a trip of several firsts that I won’t soon forget.
I like to think I’m a fairly experienced traveler who strives to experience new things and meet new people. I’ve Couchsurfed in stranger’s homes and made lasting friendships with people all around the planet and I always try the traditional dishes and cuisine, strange or not, but this was my first time traveling by myself. Yup. Nearly thirty countries, three continents and this was my first time going it alone. I’ve used friends/lovers as comfort crutches when traveling in the past but this time I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I realized that no one could go with me. I surprised myself when I found the ability to navigate a map, keep my head when I got lost and start up conversations with others. For some people, these skills come easily. For me, they had to be learned and experienced.
I snorkeled with sea turtles just off the Gili Islands. I’ll never forget this. I surfaced to clear the fog from my snorkels and a man a few meters was yelling at me. He had a thick accent so I didn’t understand what he said, but then he asked if I wanted to see it. I figured if a stranger is yelling at me to come look at something in the ocean, I should go. I approached the scene and screamed underwater when I saw a MASSIVE turtle swimming around and munching on grass. I was close enough to touch it at one point, but didn’t. I was so content being close to it. The experience brought me to tears.
I dined constantly on fresh tropical fruit. This was not a first, but a noteworthy part of my trip. Pineapple, coconut, papaya, snakeskin fruit, passion fruit, some weird little red thing, mango, you name it, I ate it (except bananas). I couldn’t stop. It seemed like a fabulous idea at the time, but it returned to kick me in the ass at the end. Let’s just say, I’m really glad I had an aisle seat on my flight home, as my regular trips to the bathroom would have been a lot to ask of someone else to roll out of their comfy airplane seat.
Needless to say, my next few postings will be highly influenced by Bali, Balinese cuisine and/or culture and will most likely include a few photos of my experience there. I wish I had something more poetic to say at this point, but for now, I’d rather just let the photos do the talking. Do enjoy. Let me know what you think.