The last thing I had expected was to be gripping onto my seat, trying desperately not to be sick or possibly die (it felt like) in a dramatically rollicking fast boat on the way from Gili Trawangan to Ubud, Bali. I miraculously managed it, in awe of most of the other passengers, who seemed far more composed. Not only was this two hour boat ride much bumpier than the slower one I had ridden over from Kuta, but we could not see the sea outside in order to prevent feeling utterly nauseated for the duration. As I shakily and gratefully disembarked I was very glad that I had spent so much money on the expensive yet oh-so-comfortable Gili Getaway boat to and from Kuta.
I also did not expect to find myself seated on the minivan to Ubud next to Jake, who had been another long stayer at Gili Castle (formerly Gili Backpackers) and so there during both of my stints. We shared a taxi but parted ways at our different accommodations, with me stopping at the rather luxurious Balinese-style villa I had booked the night before on Booking.com (Ubud clearly provided more bang for one’s rupiah than Gili T). There I met Scott, the Australian I had met on my last night of my first stint in Gili T.
Both hungry, we headed to a cafe Scott had looked up and which was well reviewed, and shared some delicious Balinese food before heading back to the villa, where I watched the sunset from the balcony, unable to nap. We then wandered to a popular shisha bar and had some less than inspiring dinner before finding a lively expat bar at which a live blues band was playing. Scott, a guitarist, was enthused by the musicians’ skill, while I enjoyed a tasty cocktail.
The next morning we found another well-reviewed cafe for breakfast and were not disappointed with our shared breakfast, despite them not serving the famous Luwak coffee.
After breakfast we headed off to the monkey forest, which was not far away on foot (I had chosen the accommodation well) and randomly passing Jake on the way.
After we had our fill of photographing cheeky monkeys we headed back to the accommodation to prepare to head off exploring further, at which point I rather delightedly learned that my flight had been delayed by yet another day, extending my stay. After extending the accommodation and feeling more relaxed, we hired a motorbike and headed off, passing increasingly rural scenes of delighted children waving and bathing in streams at which women washed clothes, as well as rolling green fields and charming buildings. I was glad I wasn’t driving so could enjoy the scenery.
We also stopped off at a touristy coffee place which provided us with a brief tour of the coffee ingredients – including an actual Luwak-producing cat, which unfortunately for Scott smelt much worse than it looked – and a large range of delicious and substantial coffee samples to try. We also bought the Luwak coffee, and I confess I much preferred the sweeter varieties that hadn’t passed through a feline’s digestive system. After I picked up some coffee as a gift we sped off to a waterfall, where we briefly splashed around in the forceful downpour before heading back to the accommodation.
Now persuaded of the value of locating well-reviewed dining establishments, we settled on a popular and hence busy restaurant just across from the villa. This was another great choice, although a dining pair less relaxed and less enamoured with the friendly service and delicious cocktails might have said something about the unidentifiable item that was probably a piece of plastic found in one of our dishes. After consuming our fill we dropped by the same expat bar from the previous night to find it full of enthusiastic salsa dancers, whom we watched while sipping on one last cocktail.
The next day’s breakfast proved equally delightful, and there was just time to walk past a market or two and jump in the pool before I finally bid my actual farewell to Indonesia – but by no means for the last time.