Two Weeks, Three Islands, a Million Stories

Casey and I are back from our adventures in Indonesia. Over two weeks, we saw parts of Bali, Java, and Lombok. While Casey still has two more Southeast Asian trips planned (be sure to check out her blog later this spring when she’ll have posts about Indonesia, Vietnam, and a yoga retreat on Koh Phangan!), this was my final traveling expedition in this part of the world.

Looking back on all that happened in Indonesia, I am simply overwhelmed. I have so many stories to tell and so many photos to show off! My plan is to give a little overview now and then to continue to recount my experiences in my new blog, which I’ll be starting once I’m back in North America.

So, for now, in a nutshell:

1. Ubud, Bali is a vegetarian yogi’s dream come true. It’s artsy and it’s seeped in Balinese-Hindu culture, so if you ever can’t find me, check there first. We were super lucky to be there during their new year’s celebrations too, which made the experience extra special.

2. Yogyakarta, Java reminds me of what I imagine Bangkok was like a few decades ago, before Bangkok built big fancy malls and started catering so heavily to western investors. Yogya, as the locals call it, is a busy city with zippy motorbikes, horse-drawn carriages, and becaks (basically big passenger-carrying tricycles) filling its narrow streets. Artisans there specialize in batik and wayung (shadow puppets); we were able to see these crafts being done by hand. On our last day in Yogya, we went on a spiritual tour through a tourist agency called Via Via. It was incredible — many stories to come!

3. Kuta, Bali, in the words of a fellow blogger named Kate, “…may be the most vile place on Earth,” and I must, sadly, agree. The city has sold its soul to the highest western bidders — McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC, and big surf retail stores like Rip Curl, Billabong, and Quiksilver. It’s touristy in a bad way (while Ubud has somehow maintained its authenticity), it’s dirty (e.g., surfing among chip bags), and it’s impossible to walk down the street without being hassled by vendors. It’s altogether unpleasant…except that the beach is a decent place to learn to surf. But that’s honestly its only redeeming quality.

4. Sengiggi Beach, Lombok is a little beachside town with several guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, and shops. Casey and I surfed and relaxed at our little hotel. There isn’t much to say about the restaurants or the shops, and the town is disjointed and divided by a big main road that we had to cross several times a day. I enjoyed our time there, but I missed the food and the art and the general vibe of Ubud.

Some of our most memorable experiences in Indonesia revolved around local people. We found Indonesian people in general to be loquacious, open, insightful, and kind. We are thankful to many for their guidance, knowledge, and friendliness!

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