I wish I had a good excuse for not writing – laziness? Writer’s block? Too busy?
Entering the third month of my trip, I left Tana Toraja and its lovely people and teachers, spent a couple of uneventful days in Makassar, then headed down to Bali. Which is where I have been “stuck” for a little over a week. Not a bad spot to get stuck!
I did a fair amount of beach sitting, eating, and Bintang drinking, wishing that my ankle was well enough to surf. Kuta beach has a pretty perfect beginner wave and would have been a good spot to get back at it.
But alas, it was not to happen. I did meet a great group of locals and travelers – locals who work on the beach kind of “adopt” their customers, and will make sure everyone is happy, fed, and entertained. I feel lucky to have found the group I did, who took great care of me, a Swiss woman, a couple of Germans and Italians, and, yes – even a young American from California. We learned about some places that only locals know, and always had a resource to ask about “best price” for this and that. Honestly, I’m still awed by Indonesian hospitality.
This morning I traveled by “fast boat” to Gili Trawangan. Yes, the boat was fast, and the ride was quite bumpy. In just a few hours I was wading to shore at Gili T, armed with info about a hotel from a nice young Canadian I met this morning in transit. The fact that he said his mother loved this hotel and he thought I would as well makes me both cringe and laugh. It sounded perfect.
So, when one disembarks on Gili T it’s a pretty sure bet that s/he won’t have accommodation. I didn’t, and was re-assured by one person after another that this just didn’t matter. Once I was on Gili T I could basically just start walking into places until I found one I liked. And, of course, I would be approached by people who make a commission to take you to “their” hotel/ guest house.
Having the recommendation from my young friend was re-assuring, though, because there are many “backpacker” and party places that I knew I wanted to avoid, and he mapped out a perfect plan for me.
I went to the Cafe Gili where he told me I could get Wifi; ordered breakfast, Skyped home, and searched for this hotel on Trip Advisor (great site, BTW, if you need travel recommendations). But alas, the Woodstock Homestay was not reviewed. I was a bit worried, and proceeded to search for the others that had signs next to the cafe. No luck either.
I started down the road to The Woodstock, and was almost immediately approached by a local asking if I needed accommodation. I said that I knew where I was going, and he followed me, promising “best price.” He asked where I was going, and I said “The Woodstock,” and he said, “Well, that’s where I work!” I’m still not sure whether he actually works there, but he followed me there and escorted me in. The place was charming and quiet, and I knew I had to stay there.
However, I was right behind three groups who were snatching up the last three rooms. The horror!!!
Then the strangest thing happened: the owner/ manager, Ketut (meaning, the 4th or 8th child in Balinese) said that he would vacate his room for me for the night, then move me to another bungalow tomorrow. Within minutes I was in a cleaned manager cottage getting changed for the beach. Did I mention Indonesian hospitality? No money was exchanged; no paperwork, credit card, or passport. Ketut, the owner/ manager, was happy to lend me his space for tonight. And the rest of the staff could not have been more accommodating either. All this and free breakfast in paradise for a mere $30 a night!
I got some wheels
and was off to explore this little slice of heaven.
I think this might be the place that cements Indonesia into my heart forever:)