Today we took an all day tour of Bali. We got out of touristy Kuta to see the rest of the island. It’s pretty, BUT…
Visualize this: you are in a tiny Asian mini van on a single-lane road no wider than 15 ft. The road edges are notional white lines that are bordered like a canyon on either side with single-story cinder block shops and houses. These places are mostly stores with completely open fronts, but some are walled houses. They are cute, they are filthy, they prevent the road from getting wider.
Beyond the village buildings you can see open space full of rice paddys or perhaps a jungle or maybe even a gorgeous view down a mountain. But stop looking at that!! On either side of you there are a million scooters to navigate. Some scoots have people, some are loaded with boxes, or maybe 4 kids, perhaps a guy holding a suefboard, that one over there has a lady on back with a chicken. And they are driving around you like maniacs.
Also in the road There are people walking, there is a horse cart behind you and a big bus in front. Every now and then a pack of dogs decides to jump in the middle and he whole mess swerves around them. Not to mention that it’s really two way traffic, so when your minivan isn’t able to fit around the scoot in front it is driving heading into the same mess coming at you.
So even with all the traffic everywhere we did get to see a beautiful old temple by a lake, swim in a black sand beach, feed monkeys some banana at a roadside stall, and take a dip in a local hot spring.
The kids especially loved the beach and we even took some black sand home with us. The water was quite warm and shallow so they built a castle on a sandbar that slowly became a sand island as we stayed longer.
The drive back looped us up over the mountain a different way – a tiny backdrop that didn’t have the traffic as before. The scenery was incredible, and the fact that our van fit on the road was unbelievable. At times we were riding a ridge that dropped down on either side often with small houses and paddys dotting down the hill.
The enjoyable part was brief, however, and we soon joined the throngs back on the main route.
So, visualize the above traffic but now it’s raining a bit and getting dark. The drive home was so long as the traffic turned into “rush hour” and near standstill.
This place is so beautiful but the excessive crowds and traffic that permeates the island – even out of the city- is raking my nerves. I feel like we are in Thw Australian equivalent of Cancun. Tomorrow we are out!