To the Curious Ones,
It’s 5:46pm and I’ve just landed in Denpasar, Bali and what a wild, chaotic place it is…
Instantly, my plan to rent a scooter and explore on my own has been put on hold. It seems like people here drive as if road lines are mere suggestions. In just 15 minutes, I've heard more honks than in the rest of my life combined. Now, I am a man of risk and usually live by the motto ‘What’s an adventure without a slight chance of dying?’ but in this case, I am convinced that it is a guarantee ticket to the afterlife. No thanks.
I am sitting in a car to my accomodation in Ubud. It's been eight hours since I last ate or drank anything, and I'm growing increasingly concerned about the water situation. I’ve heard you shouldn’t drink tap water, which is a problem for someone like me because I only drink tap water
Curious about the journey ahead, I ask the driver, 'How long until we reach Ubud?'
'One and a half hours—maybe longer if there's a traffic jam,' he replies.
'Is traffic usually an issue?'
Well… deciding I can't wait any longer, I ask if we could pull over to buy some water. The driver obliges, and I find myself in a convenience store. I grab a pack of Pringles, a Kit-Kat, an onigiri, and, most importantly, a bottle of water."
As we drove past a KFC, my curiosity got the better of me. I Google, 'Is KFC in Indonesia good?' Turns out, it's just fine—my apologies to Indonesia for assuming it wouldn’t be.
During the drive I notice a surprising amount of kites in the sky, which seemed odd since its nearly 7pm. I asked driver, ‘Are those kites?’
We finally get to the accommodation and what a beautiful place it is. I don’t want to brag but I have a skill for picking gorgeous spots that are usually pretty cheap.
On the way to the accommodation, I notice we're taking a labyrinth of backroads and side alleys. This worried me as I still needed dinner and as much as I lie to people and say I’m good with directions, I am horrible. It’s alright ‘my ancestors would walk for 60,000 years with no map and just like them, I’m one with the land’
This bullshit doesn’t get my far but it gets people to trust me ahahaha.
Eventually, I end up at Savannah Moon. Spotting a white guy seated at a table, I think to myself, 'This must be the place.' I order the banana leaf duck along with a glass of red wine.I hate red wine, and just as expected, it went down horribly. But despite that, it was a gorgeous experience.
On my way home, my phone died, leaving me lost amidst rice fields. While most people might panic in a situation like this, I remained calm; getting lost is practically a hobby for me. One of my favourite 'lost' stories involves my best friend Mannie and me on a three-day hike up Mt. Freycinet—our first overnight hike together. The first night, we were so sore that we each popped two ibuprofen and shared a joint on the beach. Ironically, we then got lost on the very beach we were trying to relax on. We spent 30 minutes walking up and down, missing the trail back to our campsite. The part of the story I love is when we found ourselves retracing the same track four times, each time concluding, 'Nope, this isn't it.' That night we also somehow streamed Cobra Kai on 4k with 1 bar of connection.
I eventually found my way home and hopped straight into the shower after a long day. As I then settle into bed, I am excited what the rest of the week brings me.
Sweet dreams to you, my friend. I’ll write to you again soon, and until then, know that I am embracing the beautiful mayhem that is Bali - with a bottled water in one hand and my questionable sense of direction in the other.
Love and adventurous vibes,
Tom Eric Dickinson