When I was in Bali, I met a Dutch girl named Janet who was fun and fearless. I rode on the back of her scooter on the way to a temple on a lake two hours north of Ubud because I was too scared to drive one myself. One night, a group of us from the hostel were talking about travel plans–where we’ve been and where we want to go. When it was Janet’s turn to share, she paused, thought for a moment, and said: “Maybe I’ll go to East Timor.” She said it so casually, like it would be as simple as going to the market, or the bathroom. Traveling to East Timor strikes me as neither easy nor breezy but to her, it would have been. I was impressed.
While traveling hasn’t turned out to be nearly as scary or difficult as I may have originally imagined, I’m still a planner at heart. I may have had spurts of impulsiveness along the way, like booking my last minute flight from Chiang Mai to Bali or deciding to go from Siem Reap to Bangkok the night before crossing the Cambodia-Thailand border. Mexico definitely wasn’t part of my original itinerary. But I still do plenty of research in advance and generally know what I’m getting myself into, like if I need vaccinations or a visa, and whether planes, trains, or automobiles (or the occasional boat) can get me from place to place. Which brings me to Phase 3 of The Big Trip: South America.
Tomorrow is my last full day in Bali. I’ll miss it but I’m excited to explore Singapore for a few days. Where am I heading after that? I said I’d be going back to America but I won’t be going back to the United States. I will be in North America, though. When I leave Asia next week, I will endure a few layovers and end up in Mexico. I am really, really excited.
I assumed at the beginning of my trip that I’d be in Asia for at least a couple of months longer than I will have been here. I originally wanted to visit Laos, Nepal, and the Philippines. Possibly Japan if my budget allowed. I figured I would have spent more than nine days in Thailand. If anything, maybe I would have ditched Asia for Australia or searched for cheap flights to Europe. So why Mexico? I have many people and things to blame thank for this sharp turn.
I realize I haven’t updated in a while and I’ve been bouncing around with limited WiFi since the last post. I technically left Bali for for Lombok’s Gili Islands. I returned to my beloved Big Pineapple hostel in Sanur. Then, with one week left before my flight to Singapore, I decided to come back to Ubud. It’s quiet here and I need some of that. Thanks to all the homestays, I can afford my own room which includes free breakfast and an inquisitive proprietor who wonders where I am all the time. Allow me to catch you up on what happened between Ubud: Part 1 and Ubud: Part 2.
There aren’t many hostels in Ubud and the one I wanted to stay at was fully booked the day I was set to arrive. I took my chances when I got into town, found a nice family homestay and somehow got myself a room after gesturing with an old Balinese woman who spoke no English. Then I met her son, Lilir, the owner. Very nice man.
After checking in, I went to the Sacred Monkey Forest which was near the homestay. It’s about $2 to enter for as much fun as you can stand. After the sad elephant camp in Chiang Mai, it was great to see animals just hanging out and being animals. The monkeys looked healthy and although they weren’t afraid of us humans, they weren’t antagonistic toward us either–unless you had food on you. Then they wanted the food. I had a ball watching them play.