Paradise is such an overused term! Actually, I hate it if people see two palm trees and get all ecstatic, jump up and down and scream “Paradise!!!”. And here I am, calling my first pictures from Bali “Paradise Found: Bali”. So what happened? Why all this enthusiasm all of a sudden?
From Bangkok to Bali
I honestly feel that Bali picked me rather than me having picked Bali. I had staid in Bangkok for two weeks and I was looking for a more rural place in Thailand, where I wanted to spend the second half of the first leg of my South-East-Asia trip, when I was asked whether I could look after the house and dog of the sister of Eva, a Hungarian friend of mine. Indonesia, being so far South wasn’t really on the list of countries I wanted to visit during my Odyssey of South-East Asia. Anyway, not having any better plans, I checked ticket prices, and even though Chinese New Year was around the corner, they turned out somewhat acceptable. So after clarifying a couple of things, I happily agreed and started making travel arrangements to fold up shop in Bangkok and head to Bali, Indonesia.
Upon arrival at the Denpasar airport, it occured to me how little I knew about Bali. I knew that way back it used to be destination popular among hippies…but now? So I started chatting with some french girls, while we were waiting to clear immigration. “Why do people come to Bali?” I asked them, and they looked at me a bit funny, as if I had asked them why the pope is catholic. But then they quickly educated me that people come to Bali because of the beautiful nature, the mountains, the rice fields, the food, the wonderful people, EVERYTHING! Wow, that was quite a list! I guess I was at the right place! When I told them that I was staying in Amed, they asked me whether I’m into diving, and I replied “I don’t mind snorkeling”.
So now I already knew a couple of things about Bali: Apparently it’s a wonderful place, and diving seems to be the thing to do in Amed, which is in the very North-East of Bali. Soon it was my turn to face the immigration officer, which in many countries is an intimidating experience. The officer looked at my passport briefly, stamped it, and told me, with a big, friendly smile on his face: “Welcome to Bali!” I started to have an idea what the french girl was talking about! Feeling good about this place already! Having received my luggage and the bag with my bicycle, I was curious what to expect in this world completely new to me.
Stay tuned for more on how my adventure on the other side of the planet went…more Paradise Found: Bali