It’s been seven years since I first visited Bali. Then, I loved it! Now it’s been a culture shock for the first week. To be honest I didn’t like it very much. As the Canadian predicted. Of course it started the moment the plane touched the ground. Instead of the small, narrow, corrupt and smokey lobby there was this big ass marble international airport. Pretty straightforward, didn’t even have to pay for my visa. But different nonetheless.
Jet lagged as fuck I couldn’t be arsed with finding alternative transportation so I took the limo service. Alone. Yes. The driver couldn’t find my hostel so we drove past it three times. Paid a shit ton of money so I couldn’t be bothered to point it out to the driver. Cause, you know, not my job. Also the aircon was most welcome. As one might put it.
Then, Kuta. Streets and alleyways I knew have been replaced with gargantuan concrete hotels. Street and beach hawkers more aggressive than ever. Transport? Taxi? Look? Shopping? I’ve been introducing Bali to the wonderful world of “nope” – and getting lost as fuck while at it.
The sheer magnitude of western tourism at its prime. Flapjacks, Starbucks, Kentucky, and Macdonalds at your beck and call. Made it almost difficult, but luckily not impossible, to find the little warungs. And also, to be fair and honest, Starbucks was ever so helpful in providing wifi in exchange for some coffee-money to be able to find my way back to my hostel.
And ah, my hostel. What a weird collection of guests they had. The permanent residents who just worked in the lobby – where the wifi was best, the backpackers, the surfers, the party people and a couple of elderly backpackers that had switched from backpack to suitcase. And were strangely apologetic of that. But why carry shit on your back when you’re in your eighties, right?
So, after my first day of fighting the jet lag and not having that sensation of instant love I slept a glorious 14 hours. The next morning I go out for breakfast and I sort of felt that surely I would have this love for Bali again, yeah? Well instead I got lost, literally.