I know I have written more than once about the scary boat trips that we have been on in South East Asia. But forget all of them, because this one really was the worst of the lot. It began with a 2.30pm check in at the Gili Air pier. At 4.30pm there was still no sign of the Wahana speed boat and no mention from the staff as to when our vessel may arrive. Passengers anxiously paced the waiting area, itching to begin their journey back to Bali.
Finally the boat showed up and the usual chaos ensued, with no organization from the staff whatsoever. It was basically a shoving match to get onto the boat. Feeling tired, we opted for a seat inside the cabin. There was an option to sit in the open air at the top of the boat, but this was mainly suited to the “cool kids”. Given it was late in the afternoon there was a strong likelihood of a sunset, but I had enough glorious sunsets from the islands themselves. Is it really a sunset if you aren’t holding an ice-cold Bintang? Off we roared towards Lombok and then to Bali.
The boat began to ride up and over the waves, which steadily became bigger and bigger. There was also an unusual side-to-side roll on the boat. Looking out the side windows, the horizon flew wildly up into the air and then plummeted to the floor, while the seawater crashed against the windows. I imagine this is what being inside a washing machine feels like. Everyone was in the brace position in their seats, clutching the Jesus handles on the back of the chair in front of them. The girl in front of me was panicking and her boyfriend/husband comforted her by rubbing her back. For once I wasn’t the one having a meltdown. In fact, I was feeling very calm. Perhaps it was the cold medication or perhaps violent rocking is my kryptonite, but I was close to falling asleep. I wouldn’t be much use in an emergency.
The life jackets were held in the overhead compartments and began to rain down on the passengers. This didn’t help the poor girl in front of me. She raced for the back of the boat and I didn’t see her again. I hope she didn’t try to swim for safety. It was then that the upstairs passengers, in all their painfully trendy attire, came down to the cabin looking like drowned rats. The waves had been breaking over the top of the boat and they were all soaked. Plus, the motion of the boat was too extreme for them to make it down the stairs until we made it to the sheltered side of Bali. They just had to sit there and hold on like the rest of us.
An hour and a half later we pulled up at the pier technically unharmed. We then transferred to shuttle buses to take us to our final destinations. Our stop for the night was the Little Tree House in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia. The shuttle driver dropped everyone else of first and in regular Bali-taxi-style asked us to navigate to our hotel was because he didn’t know. Using patchy GPS on our phones we guided him to where we thought it was. He didn’t want to drive down the alley we were staying on, as it was too bumpy so instead dropped us on the side of the road. We weren’t even sure we were on the right road and a dark alleyway loomed before us. It was now late at night and even the moon couldn’t light our way. With our packs on, we stumbled down the rocky path.
With each house we passed by security lights flashed on. Tall security gates lined the street. There was obviously something out here that people needed to be protected against. A few dogs barked. We got to the end of the road and there was no sign for our hostel. At the same time, a small lady walked out on to the streets to place incense, a common occurrence on the religious island. She looked up, smiled, and welcomed us in to the Little Tree House.
As we had missed reasonable dinner-time due to the boat delay, we were starving. To say I was Thangry (so tired and hungry you get angry) would be an understatement. Unfortunately the only way to get food was to head back out into the dark streets of Bali, which is not recommended. As we walked down the ominous streets we passed cars with smashed windows and overgrown sidewalks. I could only guess that we weren’t in the nice part of town. We did find a place to eat, but at the same time realized we only had the equivalent of $10NZD in cash left in the wallet. Not wanting to walk any further or to have to approach an ATM in the dark, we scanned the menu for something we could afford. It would be just our luck that the only restaurant in sight was a tourist restaurant. We finally ordered a small pizza to share and nibbled it slowly, trying to savor the calories. It was enough to keep the Thangry under control until the morning.
The next morning, refreshed, we set out to find an ATM and have a big breakfast. Both were just around the corner from the pizza place. Although the restaurant we stopped at for breakfast only served sandwiches and pancakes, and they were out of both bread and pancakes. We ate bacon and eggs without toast. It wasn’t exactly the big breakfast we were dreaming of, but by now our expectations were very low. I would have considered dog treats as a tasty alternative.
Sanur beach is the kite surf beach. Leaving Ben to book the accommodation for the night, I should have known he would seek this out. The wind hummed across the water, as we walked along the beach looking for the kite rental shop. Ben was like a giddy school boy watching the other kite surfers weave back and forth across the bay. He filled in the paperwork and was sized up for gear. The kite was already set up, so he was out in the water in no time.
It was a tricky entrance into the water, as there were many boats docked on the beach and there was a strong onshore breeze. Ben, being the pro that he is, got out with little trouble and was quickly joining the experienced riders. From the beach I watched a kite surfer struggle to get out, who eventually gave up and went back to the shore. After an hour in the water, Ben was exhausted and headed back in. His passion for kite surfing had been renewed.
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