Oh Brother Where Art Thou: Part 4

mt_batur_sunset

 

Okay, so I am a bad person and I lied. I am totally blogging today. I had a class cancelled so now I have a free hour in which to blog. Now you get to read my nonsense today, lucky you.

……….

Chad was determined to surf while in Bali. I mean, isn’t that what most people come here for…..not me but when have I ever done anything that people expected of me. We started Thursday with a drive in morning rush hour traffic over to the other side of south Bali to Seminyak. Seminyak is the upscale tourist area in south Bali, it makes me feel really poor and like I should be dressed in some labelled clothing brands not Old Navy when I go there. Haha. But my friend’s partner works on Seminyak beach renting out beach chairs and teaching surf lessons. So I thought why get some stranger off the beach to teach my bro when I could get a friend. We got there and said Hi to Gede and Chad was rearing to go but Gede said wait for about an hour the waves to get bigger. Chad looked at the already largish waves and signaled to the waitress for a beer. That’s the Canadian way- get a buzz on and everything will be okay. Finally, it was time and Chad entered the water with the board and a tiny Balinese man. I on the other hand was enjoying just sitting on the beach under an umbrella reading my book. We all need those days, am I right? Every so often I glanced up and watched the lesson. He did quite a good job for his first ever time on a surf board, I think he stood up about 3 times. Go Bro!

The day at the beach was cut short because we needed to go home and get ready for our next adventure that day, driving up north so we could climb a volcano the next morning. My friend, Claire was coming with us and thankfully knew a good driver to take us up to Kintamani.

Kintamani is up in the mountains of Bali so the temperature is significantly lower than around the coast. And by significantly lower I mean it’s like 25c rather than 35c but when you are used to 35 everyday, 25 is sweatshirt weather. I was getting some funny looks off the tourists who were still sweating in 25. Chad, Claire, our driver and I were celebrating a successful trip with a few beers on the front porch of our room when a man walked up to us.  He introduced himself as Kenny from Chicago. Kenny came to Bali because he was promised that with his American dollar he could live like a king but now that he spent some time here his money wasn’t going as far as he thought it would- I guess no one explained the current economic climate in the US to Kenny before he left Chi-town. He was in Bali to film a documentary about the side of Bali that the tourists don’t usually see- mainly the ceremonies and festivals. Yes, I know it sounds quite interesting in theory but in practice and after meeting Kenny, these might turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. You can check them out on ‘Cruisin with Kenny’ on Youtube apparently.

After a few hours we shook Kenny loose, had some dinner and went to bed because we had to get up at 3am so we could watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur. Now I am admitting that I am not a mountain climber and I thought I was in pretty good shape. I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week and did lots of outdoor activities in Canada but this was tough, man. I have never sweated so much at 3am before and my legs hurt for about 3 days afterwards. I feel a lot of shame telling you this when the next thing that I am going to tell you is, we were followed up the volcano by a 9 year old girl carrying a backpack full of drinks to sell at the top to the tourists. It was a school holiday so the children of the local guides were put to work by their parents to earn money to pay for their school supplies. I felt so humbled by this little girl that I dutifully bought a bottle of Coke and drank it at 5am. It was lukewarm and I had an empty stomach, I did not feel very well after this.

And it wouldn’t be a trip in Bali if there wasn’t a ridiculous element to the story, a group of about 20 late-teens or early twenties Americans were also climbing Batur at the same time as us.  I guess they had been lured in by the ‘easy climb’ and in their young American spirit wore a variety of shoes ranging from flip flops or Birkenstocks to Toms.Who knows how they made it up as the whole path up the volcano is surprisingly enough sharp and crumbly volcanic rock. I have a scar on my left leg proving how sharp these rocks were.

When we reached the top we were rewarded with 2 slices of bread and a hard boiled egg to greet the sunrise. The sunrise itself was pretty spectacular and I am really glad that I got to the top but now it was time to return to the bottom, following the same jagged, rocky path back down. By this time my leg were starting to cramp up and shake quite a lot and I feared slipping on a rock and falling down the side of the volcano- granted it would have got me to the bottom a lot faster. I posed a business proposition to our guide, Wayan, that she should invest in a wagon or toboggan to push tourists back down the volcano. I don’t think she dug it.

Obviously since I am writing this post, I made it down the volcano and am not living in a little shack in the shadow of Batur. Even though that would be kind of cool until the next eruption that is.

Well apart from a few more beers and dinners, that is the last of my brother’s trip to Bali. Hope you enjoyed it and I am sure that I will have more ridiculous things to write about soon.

Peace- K

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