Welcome to Bali!
Well, I landed safely in Denpasar, Bali at midnight on February 8th. I had nothing but an iphone with cellular data turned off to avoid roaming charges, and instructions to take a taxi to the Pepito Supermarket to meet my Airbnb host. I exited the airport with my fingers crossed, as I was not provided a specific address. Am I mad? I am going to meet a stranger named Marco late at night in a parking lot in a city I’ve never been, and get on his motorbike with my backpack and laptop bag. This is irresponsible, right?
I exit the doors, and within minutes I hear my name. Marco decided to come right to the airport because he thought it might be too tricky to coordinate at the supermarket. Fantastic! Marco has a thick Italian accent, and is covered in tattoos. I hop on the back of his motorbike, and within 20 minutes or so I am at my new accommodations just south of Kuta Beach. Marco offers to take me into town in the morning and make sure that I know where I am going and how to get there. I stayed at my accommodations for 2 nights while I got used to Kuta, and found my way around. I decided to get a place closer to the town/beach for the next few days/nights.
I met some locals on the beach, did some surfing, and danced the night away with the locals and some Swedes at Surfer Bar.
I will say that I think being open to meeting and talking to the locals really shaped my experience in Kuta. Once you get to know the locals, they no longer, ahem, “harass” you to get massages, buy beer, or get surf lessons. Once they see you a few times, and see you talking to the other locals, they treat you like a local, and welcome you into their space on the beach, offer you chairs, and tell you about the real Bali.
I took a day to surf, which was absolutely fantastic. Shortly after, I ended up playing football on the beach with the locals for nearly 4 hours… my foot was blue and swollen for days, but it was totally worth it! That day, I was in a trance. Not a care in the world, a smile on my face so big that my cheeks were hurting. I finally made it here… and I can feel the stress melting away… Soon I’m going to need to figure out my plan, and a daily routine where I won’t be distracted by fun and sun!