Randomness on the road

This post is even more meaningful because yesterday when I started writing about how you never know what happens when traveling, suddenly apparently all the wifi in this neighborhood died. So, randomness speaking there. And today we met this Californian couple for the 4th time within 2 days. Luckily they might be able to help me spot the best places in San Francisco!

(Picture here if the wifi wouldn’t take like 20 mins to upload – Impatient, I know)

Yeah, so. Weird and exceptional things happen when on the road. Maybe its because you are more open to random interesting things, new tastes and basically curious to see whatever comes along. I have been in Bali for less than a week, and already I have randomly visited a coffee plant and a cacao factory, gone rafting, got a lymph treatment, manicure and pedicure, have eaten superb food every single day, and gone to an awesome movie screening almost outdoors (less than the price of a cup of coffee, including unlimited popcorn and water). No rice fields or yoga at least yet, and I’m still planning to get that long-needed haircut. I’m doing a fairly good job on supporting the locals!

Inner yard. Basically could be any yard.
Inner yard. Basically could be any yard.

These random experiences and encounters with people often, but not always, lead to something more than just memories – last night’s succulent dinner with two new friends inspired me to do a juice cleanse for at least 3 days. Why not? This place is probably one of the easiest places on earth to do something like that; I’ve already had so much juice I know it will not be a big deal. Saying no to food will be the hardest part, getting green juices and coconut juice is no biggie. Battle of the mind it is, we shall see how the body likes it! I will keep you posted. Day 1 starting officially tomorrow, but I didn’t eat anything but a turmeric cinnamon shake this evening so I call it started already.

Mmmmmm juice.
Mmmmmm juice.

So far I have been comfortable being settled in Ubud, since we’ve been driving around quite a bit. I have still some comfortable time here before heading off to the shores of Canggu, where the goal is to get someone to teach me how to surf. Posts coming up about The Green School and Big Tree Farms as well as the cleanse and Ubud hoods.

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Orienteering

First you are somewhere you’ve known as home for years, thinking about how soon everything will be different. Hopefully better. Most likely sunnier. Perhaps cheaper. Definitely exciting. Part of the journey is the planning, but some things are better to be left unplanned. Leave room for coincidence, and real adventures will happen! Some of the adventures might include a festival with dance, traditional music and fire juggling, or going to play badminton in a bamboo hut with local villagemen. In +32 degrees. All this in one evening. (no post-worthy pictures, plus the wifi would make it download 10 more minutes. Though here all I have is time, it is good to sleep too.)

When I left home I had a strong idea of what was waiting for me, since I’ve been to Bali before. It’s not the hardest destination to go to, at least in most places everything is in English too. But going from +1 to +32 and from mute people to “taxi taxi miss”-yells every 2 minutes, I did have a shock. Being awake almost 2 days didn’t really help the overwhelmed feeling I got when arriving here. Lesson I learned the first day: you are never in such a hurry when arriving to a new country that you do not have the time to check reasonable fares to your destination. This is especially important when traveling alone, since you are the only one paying. That’s one of the minuses of traveling solo – there’s no one to share costs with. Luckily it seems like everyone is heading this way, so I am sharing a place with a friend: cheaper, better, and with a pool. When inland and in this heat, one must have a pool. Even with a tight budget.

Home for now - room with a pool, including breakfast. Not too shabby.
Home for now – room with a pool, including breakfast. Not too shabby.

The first days of a trip should be dedicated on .chilling. This is very unnatural for me, specially in a new environment. Partly due to that I couldn’t shut my brain off the first night here, and ended up turning around in bed for 5 hrs before falling asleep. Another tip: when tired, handle foreign money with special care. Suddenly 50000 seems like 5000 and you’re paying hundred times too much for fruits.

Post-spa treat. I just needed this and the 1.5hr lymph massage and herb scrub.
Post-spa treat. I just needed this and the 1.5hr lymph massage and herb scrub.

Yep, I am a budget traveler. But these small things like massages, pedicures etc. are things I have been saving for and not doing in Finland. And this is also my way of supporting the local people and their income. Win-win! (Oh God I hope  I won’t run out of money :D) One thing to do when accommodating yourself to a new environment: if you have the time and care, take your time to compare prizes. Do not trust the men on the street offering special price only for you my friend. Even when you get 50% off.

Getting there

Helsinki on Sunday 2.11.
Helsinki on Sunday 2.11.

 

I am currently sitting on the stairs of my homestay accommodation I booked in Ubud just the night prior to leaving. The wifi doesn’t cover my balcony, but this isn’t too bad. The journey how I got here was long, and since I only arrived yesterday I have pictures of messy plane food. Enjoy.

I left home after lousy 3 hrs sleep on Tuesday morning at 5 am. Thank God I took a taxi instead of having to wait for a bus without a jacket, I think the temperature was around+1C. First tired mistake at Helsinki airport: I didn’t choose the window seat for my flights. I ended up sitting in the middle on my long flight, meaning not even a glimpse of sweet dreams or any kind of sleep for that matter.

It was chill and rather exciting to wait for the first flight, operated by Finnair. After that, I had a few hours in Schiphol, Amsterdam. Great airport if you have time! I had a few hours before the 11hr sitting to Hong Kong, operated by Cathay Pacific.

When traveling, I usually make sure I book the window seat so at least in theory it is possible to sleep. Not this time, a time I will remember. Well, I got to watch 4 movies (Boyhood – boring, some random romantic not even comedy with Daniel Radcliff – bad, i Origins – interesting but confusing, Begin Again – not so good) and 3 episodes of How I Met Your Mother (laughed out loud).

Hindu meal 1: Marinated chickpeas and salad, spinach bean tabbouleh(?), cardamom infused rice, coconut lentil stew. Fruits, bread roll and a rye?bread, low-fat spread.
Hindu meal 1: Marinated chickpeas and salad, spinach bean tabbouleh(?), cardamom infused rice, coconut lentil stew. Fruits, bread roll and a rye?bread, low-fat spread.

Usually I choose Asian Vegetarian meals for a few reasons: they tend to have more flavor than the lacto-ovo meals, and chances are they’re gluten-free too. Usually the regular vegetarian meal is pasta, so this is definitely a win. Delicious! No salt or pepper provided, but I wouldn’t have needed them, anyway.

Hind breakfast: Apples (3 different kind), rice, eggplant (yum), spinach lentil curry. Strawberry yoghurt, jam, low-fat spread, same bread roll and ryebread.
Hindu breakfast: Apples (3 different kind), rice, eggplant (yum), spinach lentil curry. Strawberry yoghurt, jam, low-fat spread, same bread roll and ryebread.

After these delicious meals we landed in Hong Kong around 7 am local time. Damn I wanted to go visit the city, I felt so homely and nostalgic even just at the airport. Thank God for free Wifi I kept myself occupied until the next and last flight left after 10. By this time I had been awake for like 27hrs, so the last flight went in a haze with one movie (some random with Colin Firth) and food, then dozing off for 2 hrs.

Hindu Meal from HGK to DPS, second breakfast/lunch: Palak paneer(?), tumeric rice, mushrooms and peas, eggplant. Two naan breads not pictured, raita yoghurt sauce, pickled veg, fruit.
Hindu Meal from HGK to DPS, second breakfast/lunch: Palak paneer(?), tumeric rice, mushrooms and peas, eggplant. Two naan breads not pictured, raita yoghurt sauce, pickled veg, fruit. Sorry for the mess.

We landed at 3pm, after which I rushed to pay for my visa and go to immigration. I was surprised that at no point no one asked me my ongoing flight – I only booked my flight to Vietnam because I knew I would be in trouble if I didn’t have any. My friend couldn’t board in the States because of not having the next destination clear and paid for. Go Cathay! After changing to lighter, more +32C suitable clothing, I did another big mistake: all the taxi offerers were so aggressively wanting to give me a ride, I didn’t stop to check the prices online, No buses, only option taxi, over an hours’ drive to Ubud. Did I mention I hadn’t slept for way too long? And it was hot. I learned something from this, though. Always check the price scale in advance.

In the evening I walked around Ubud a bit, then tried to sleep. I slept 1 hour, then woke up and spent the next 5 rolling around in my bed. I guess I had a good 6-7 hrs sleep anyways, and woke up just in time for breakfast in my balcony.

I would love to post more pictures, but posting this has taken me over half an hour already. And it’s definitely not because I’m having a writers’ block.