Archives for posts with tag: Illness

I leave Padang Padang too early in the morning for a bus so it’s an expensive taxi ride to Sanur, where I will catch a locals boat to Nusa Lembongan, finally. This large creaky wooden outrigger delivers me safely and I hop a moto taxi to take me to my hotel. Tamarind Beach Hotel, my first time making a reservation using Agoda, actually planning in advance where I will stay is not something I do usually, but I am thankful for it this time. While I am not able to haggle about the price (having already paid in full online), I’m very happy about this lovely accommodation. A pool overlooking the ocean and a gorgeous room with an outdoor bathroom, luxury…hot water too!

My beautiful room.

View from the pool at Tamarind Beach.

This is my relaxation time. I do yoga every day and eat good, healthy meals. My energy is still so low, I’m not planning on any adventures here. I do rent a motorbike for 4 days though, just to give myself some freedom, it’s a good call as I discover some truly beautiful beaches where I waste away my days, and also a perfect bay and bar to watch the sunset go down accompanied by a cold beer.

Another perfect sunset.

For one day I do a circuit of the whole island and also take the bridge to the neighboring island  of Nusa Ceningan where I drive a little track up over the hump of the island. It’s barely more than a hiking path, and a rocky one at that, yet I do it easily on my scooter, I’m getting better and better at driving these things.

Temple gates

One of the main industries on Nusa Lembongan is the cultivation and processing of various types of seaweed. So all over the island there is a smell that is not unpleasant but a bit weird, kind of salty and musty at the same time. The smell comes from the seaweed laid out on tarps to dry in the sun, it’s gathered daily from the farms set up in the low water between the two islands.

Blue Lagoon

After a week here I feel only a little bit better, I’m still tired constantly. I’m actually starting to become a bit worried about my health, have I picked up something besides the ear infection? Mono, a parasite, or worse? I get in touch with the doctor I visited in Singapore and he suggests yet another course of antibiotics with the addition of a steroidal nasal spray. I swear I have never taken so many drugs in my life, but I am sick of being sick and will buy these things as soon as I possibly can once back on the mainland.

Mangrove Beach

I leave Nusa Lembongan with some regret, I liked it here, a good blend of local flavour with enough tourism to make finding some pretty delicious food easy. A virtual smorgasbord of beaches to choose from daily, friendly locals and a very chill vibe, I almost wish I could stay longer. But the rest of Bali beckons and I’ll need to spend some time renewing my visa soon as well. Onwards.

Collecting shells

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Well said.

I showed up sick to Bali (as mentioned in my last post), fortunately it didn’t last too long and within a day I was feeling back to “normal”. But normal still wasn’t very good. Still tired, ear infected and feeling downright out of it and done with it all.

I was in Kuta of all places, and it’s a nightmare of a place at the best of times, filled with the worst of all travelers excesses, day-glo mushroom bars, drunken teens, t-shirts and bumper stickers loudly proclaiming that so and so is a fag, or sucks dick, or worse. The local people constantly yelling at you to come into their shops to buy this crap (what must they think of us?) or clamoring to provide transport, transport, transport.  To be dealing with this in my state of mind was appalling, yet it took me 4 days to muster up enough energy to get myself the hell out of Dodge.

I spent my time there either reading a book on the beach, trying to ignore the frenetic posturings of hyperactive/drunk kids or walking around looking for photos opportunities and graffiti. Also finally, planning ahead for a change and making reservations on Nusa Lembongan, for what I hope will be an entire week of relaxation and restoration of my body and soul. But first, I need to get out of Kuta.

Construction heads.

Afternoon blues.

Bali Demon.

I desperately want to go up a volcano, I want to peer over the edge into a crater. I want to see lava boiling, maybe even some smoke billowing. Alas, I have this $*?%& up knee, and I can’t manage all the UP and DOWN that its required to get a glimpse of something not too  touristed. So, I book a tour, I have to acknowledge that it’s the only way I’m getting up and close with a volcano.

This tour will take me (and about half the other tourists in Indonesia right now, or at least it feels that way) direct from Yogyakarta to Bromo (Cemoro Lawang actually), a full days drive, and then onwards to Denpasar on Bali, another full days drive, and a ferry thrown in for good measure.

In Cemoro Lawang  we will spend the night in a pre-arranged hotel of dubious cleanliness (though there is a promise of hot water), wake up at 3:00am, and be driven to a viewpoint to observe the volcano during sunrise. We drive in a 40-year-old jeep that would probably give us carbon monoxide poisoning if it was actually possibly to seal the windows shut.

After watching said sunrise with approximately 200 other people from a very crowded platform, everybody jostling trying to get the “perfect” photo,  we will then be driven back down the very bumpy road and across a dusty, ashy plain until we get as close as possible to the base of the volcano where we are given the option of paying for an ill-tempered pony or walking up the trail that leads to the steep 250 stairs that take you to the top. These stairs are practically invisible due to the build up of volcanic ash on them. The ash and the dust  billows wildly around us in the gusting wind as we climb single file up the “stairs” hands clutching at broken handrails and using shirts/scarves/whatever is handy to cover our mouths.

Once at the top we are greeted by a very smelly pile of rotting garbage and so many people milling about catching their breath that we are all in danger of being bumped over the (barrier free) edge, either back down the outside or, more terrifyingly, actually INTO the gaping black maw of this, still active, volcano.

You can follow a single file path in either direction away from the mob at the stairhead, though god help you if you meet up with someone who wants to pass you in the opposite direction. From the single file pathway you can gaze down into the deeply shadowed pit of the volcano, the steeply sloping sides covered in various corn husks, flower offerings, candy wrappers and the ubiquitous plastic bags. This litter may have something to do with offerings to “feed” the volcano so it doesn’t get hungry/angry (aka hangry) and erupt. Ok, that’s fine, I don’t want to insult anybodies religious beliefs but damn it looks really ugly.

Finally, due to the fact that it’s REALLY early in the morning, the sun is at such an angle that it’s not high enough yet to actually light up the inside of the gaping hole you came to see, it’s all in shadow.

After this you have to climb back down the precarious stairs, or you can do what I did and say screw it, to hell with my knees, suck up the pain, I’m hopping/running/bounding down this freaking volcano! So I did. And I got yelled at by my fellow tourists for “stirring up the ashes.” Oh um, I though it was the GALE FORCE WIND that was doing that?

After making it down off the volcano and trudging however many meters back to where the jeeps are parked, that’s right jeeps, about 100 of them. Who knows which one is yours? But find it you must, and while waiting for the rest of your group you empty about 2 kilos of the  sand, dust and ash combination out of your filthy socks and shoes.

Driven back to the hotel where buffet breakfast is included, and it’s not bad, especially since you’ve been up for about 5 hours without any food or coffee. So looking forward to that promised hot shower you head into your room and turn on the shower head. Nothing. Not even cold water. Oh. You go find the man who last night VOLUNTEERED the information about there being hot water available in the morning, something that you hadn’t been expecting but once you heard about it were pretty thrilled to hear as its COLD here. But no, no hot water, in fact see that bucket, and that scoop? There you go. Fine, at least it’ll get the dust off.

Back onto the bus for a full day with a lunch break, sleeping for most of it. Waking up about half an hour before you arrive in Denpasar (Bali, finally!) and feeling very ill. Vomitous in fact. Keeping your shit together as some nice people you met during the journey arrange the half hour taxi ride to Kuta and, once there, find you a hotel that has a decent bathroom so you can finally throw up, yay. You feel better after, thank goodness, and sleep for about 10 hours.

Sunrise View

The Approach

Almost at the stairs

View of the crater (note the garbage)

Looking back.

Alright, I admit it,that IS pretty!

Ok, so this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. I know, the sarcasm is dripping and my bitchy side has come out. It wasn’t THAT bad. Keeping in mind that everything I have said is true, if you could manage for a moment to block out the crowds, the garbage, the ice-cold mandi bath in 10 degree Celsius weather and the dust storm on the stairs it was actually really beautiful.

And normally I would be able to handle all that stuff  a whole lot better. But I’m really tired, burned out, travel-fatigued and, quite frankly, kinda homesick. I’ve been on the road for almost 4 months. Ive had this lingering ear infection, I feel tired constantly and honestly, I feel over it. This is not good. I’m supposed to spend upwards of another year on the road, how can I possibly get myself back into happy travel mode?  It’s time to stop and rest up for a bit. For real. So I have a plan. More on that soon.