I managed to see my beloved travel pillow go flying behind me from the top deck of the somewhat thrilling fast boat ride from Gili T to Bali as I forgot myself and moved my head up an inch. It wasn’t really explained that if you sit up on this deck you have to pin all your possessions down or lose them. This loss was somewhat disturbing as I was about to – as I thought – embark on an overnight flight home, and was already exhausted after a week of partying on Gili T and not much success in catching up on missed sleep, especially on my final night.
I arrived at the top rated hostel in Seminyak – Capsule Hotel – about which various people in Gili T had raved. On my way in the door, by whom should I be greeted but the UK gang from Gili T. They had left the island days before me but were still stuck as their airline was refusing to fly following the volcanic eruption. Luckily for me I was flying Air Asia, so would be fine… right?
The gang said they were going to – where else? – Sky Garden for a few drinks at 5pm. I had already been twice but wasn’t going to refuse some pre-organised socialising, so agreed to meet them at that time, although knowing I wouldn’t be able to stay long and would have to head to the airport. I proceeded to wander outside to take a look at what was nearby, but didn’t get far: not only was it blisteringly hot but the rushing traffic, lack of footpaths and constantly beeping taxis were too much for me after the calm of Gili T. Nothing was tranquil or idyllic about at least this part of Seminyak, and I couldn’t understand why people raved about it or could ever prefer it to Gili T.
After a short-lived nap in the admittedly very comfortable bunk, I met up with the gang and joined them in a taxi to Sky Garden to have the buffet dinner – this time a Sunday roast, which the UK gang relished as per the entrenched UK tradition of Sunday roast that I had recently discovered – and a few drinks. By now I was tired and just ready to go home, especially after the emotional rollercoaster of the last 24 hours and the imminent prospect of a long overnight flight.
So I didn’t stay very long before bidding my friends goodbye and returning to the hostel for another nap (from which I did not want to wake) until I had to rise at 10pm for my taxi to the airport. “Are you sure the flight is going?” asked the confused receptionist, as most flights to Australia were not. “Yep, it’s Air Asia and as far as I know it is!” I said, as I had not heard anything to the contrary.
I arrived at the airport forty minutes or so later to be greeted by a somewhat woeful scene: the airport had been closed such that no flights were departing. I proceeded to spend the next couple of hours humorously commiserating with fellow woebegone Australians in the queue – some of whom were very unimpressed about having to again extend their now unenjoyable stay in Bali as they had already been delayed at least once before – and experiencing the somewhat conflicting emotion of joy at more time spent in Bali. My lack of enthusiasm for Seminyak, however, gave me the idea of heading back to Gili T. However, I also knew that the Australian friend I had met on my final night was still here for another week – would our paths cross again much sooner than I had expected?
I emailed my hostel to explain that my flight was cancelled and asked them if I could come back to my room and extend for another night. When I got back, the receptionist explained that he had received a phone call just after I had left to tell him the airport had been closed! I finally went to bed and enjoyed a very long and much needed sleep in. I was so sleep deprived, in fact, that I remained groggy and tired all the next day, and only managed to get up again briefly to go and get some 7 Eleven food and stock up on toiletries not available on Gili-T before having another late afternoon nap.
That evening I took myself down the street to a recommended nice restaurant that becomes the most popular bar in Seminyak at night. It was only a short walk from my accommodation, which was something. But it was also miles more expensive than anything I had consumed in Kuta or Gili T and not incredibly delicious.
Tired and over it I went back to the hostel to find a long table of people drinking beers and socialising, so I joined in. Indeed, some were going to head out to the famous club I had eaten dinner at, although others explained that they had experienced it as a sleazy and undesirable venue. I personally was keen to at least experience it; unfortunately, my fellows were still not moving a muscle after 11pm (darn Northern Hemisphere late-night-cultural patterns!) so I was forced to head to bed as I simply couldn’t stay up indefinitely. Moreover, the mood at this hostel was generally quite morose, as most had no mind to be there but were stuck and unable to head to Australia due to the volcano. It was consequently not nearly as happy a place to be as Gili T or Kuta had been.
I had managed to book myself a last minute seat on the morning ferry back to Gili T because someone else had been prevented from arriving due to the volcano. I was of no mind to hang about the disappointing, busy and stressful Seminyak, and wanted to travel once more with the expensive yet impressive Gili Getaway service I had taken the first time (it also gave me an extra hour or so to sleep in). I consequently went to bed to recover some more much needed sleep, full of anticipation and incredulity at the situation I was in, and a trip that was unexpectedly to be continued.