The flight took less then four hours, and when we stepped outside the airport, it truly felt like we were on the other side of the world. The first few nights we stayed in Kuta, which is one of the main cities and was also the site of the tragic nightclub bombings back in October 2002. Though I had worried parents back home, I felt very safe while in Bali. The security and policemen were noticeably present, and even our taxis were quickly looked over before pulling into our hotel.
Our first day on the beach was terrific. We rented surfboards for two hours, and some of us even got massages on the beach after eating fresh mangos and coconuts. We also had sore throats by the end of the day from saying “no thank you” to all of the people trying to sell us stuff. They would sell everything from bracelets to, our personal favorite, a complete bow and arrow set. Unfortunately, one friend learned the hard way how close we were to the equator. Pale skin + no sun screen + oil from the massage + intense sun = one painful sunburn!
We loved the Balinese people and their friendliness. We learned how to say the simple “thank you” in Balinese – “suksumo” – and this simple gesture would brighten their faces. The streets would be crowded with mopeds, taxis, and a few bikes. It’s a poor/developing country with 80 percent of their GDP coming from tourism.
We spent the bulk of our trip in Tanjung Benoa, which is near the Nusa Dua resort area. This became our home base for many adventures. My favorite part of the trip was our trek up a volcano at 3 a.m. to watch the sunrise. It was truly breathtaking (in more ways than one, if you include the two-hour hike up).
We also greatly enjoyed white-water rafting through the jungle. The gorgeous river flowed through the valley with terraced rice paddies rising high above us in the surrounding hills. We also ducked under bamboo bridges, got showered by waterfalls, and saw the occasional local person bathing in the river.
Other highlights from the trip include a boat ride and snorkel trip to an island off the coast of Bali, eating fresh seafood on the beach, parasailing, visiting a forest filled with monkeys, and watching a cultural dance while watching the sunset on our last night.
Lastly, congratulations to the Mustangs on the first of many wins this season.
Take care and God bless,