“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
I've learned that the countries that charge you for a tourist visa, are also the countries that have full page visas that take up presious space in the passport. Indonesia is yet another one of these countries. In all reality, this is just a coincidence, because I am an American, and I ussualy pay more for visas. My English friend didnt have to pay for Mozambique, but still got the full pager... So I guess it's just a reality for me, but I am running out of pages in the 'ol passport.
Kuta, Bali. I think everyone visiting Bali ends up in Kuta at one time or another, as it is close to the airport, and you go through it to get to most of the rest of the island. It has a wonderfull beach, though it has to be raked every morning. If you can stand about a million vacationing sufer dudes from Australia, this is the place for you. I've heard Bali referd to as Australia's Cancun, and nothing is more true. It is a very differnt, all be it welcoming, scene from the rest of this trip, as everyone I meet are partying until 1 or 2 in the morning, yet can somehow be out the door, surf board in hand, by 6 am to catch the best waves. I do not go a day with out an Ozzie or ex pat of some sort trying to describe the brilliance of the sunset while doing mushrooms, on this beach and that. Everyting is so laid back here, I can definitly imagine living here on nothing but a retirement pension and a sun tan. One out of every three scooters in town has a surf board rack, making traffic look pretty funny night and day.
On down the coast from Kuta beach, you have very simular beaches like Legian, Seminyak, and Echo, all surfer scenes, though maybe a little less crowded the farther north you go. Though surfing and diving is the main reason anyone goes to Bali, there are also some pretty cool jungle treks and elephant safaris. for $60 a person can get free shuttle to the jungle area around Ubud or Celuk, and ride an elephant for a few hours.
Everyone I talked to or met in Kuta was doing generaly the same route. After scooting, surfing and drinking up enough of Bali, everyone seemed to head to the Gili islands and Lombok, for some rest and relaxation, just a fast boat trip away. Gili, besides it's beauty and great diving in bath tub warm water, with reefs teeming with sharks and turtles, is probably best known for it's serenity. It has no motorized vehicals, no bikes, and supposedly no dogs. the Gili Trawangan island is the furthest from Bali, and is tagged the party island. It has tons of beach bars and weekly parties, and with tourists constantly rolling in, the music and drinking never really stops.
The Gili Air island is more laid back, and surfer and other beach bums like to go there and just relax or do mushrooms where no one is around. The beach is dotted with cool little bungalos, and a few watering holes. It has a small expat comunity, and I can definitly see the appeal in living here.
I love the ocean, and will, I'm sure end up living on a beach somewhere, and if the rest of Indonesia has the same to offer as Bali does, and I hear that it does, one could spend years here and never get bored. If the money would allow, I could definitly see myself diving off of every island I could find. Sulawesi, Java, Sumatra, and the thousands of other tiny islands around the country are a scuba diver's dream. I will undoubtidly be back in this region, but for now, it's time for Singapore, then off to Central America.