So, there wasn’t much about Chuck’s and my 6th wedding anniversary trip to Bali that resembled Eat, Pray, Love, but who couldn’t associate the beautiful island with Liz Gilbert’s bestseller, at this point?
Bali was a sparkling jewel of an island. If it hadn’t been for some unfortunate happenstance courtesy of China Eastern Airlines – both on the way there and on the way back – it would easily be one of my favorite trips. That said, we had a lovely time and I would surely go again if I had the opportunity… just with a different airline 😉
We intended to relax in Bali. We had just four days, and I booked an excursion on only one of those days. The other three were for pure relaxation. I found the “eco-village” at La Joya Biu-Biu on AirBnB, where the only unit available at the time was the romantic, stone n’ thatch Cliff-Edge Ship Cabin #22. Of course, it was also the most private and the most expensive. I breathed deeply and went for it, and I am so glad that I did. I fell in love with our intimate little bungalow with the most stunning patio and view of the Indian Ocean ❤
The first major China Eastern mishap was a flight so delayed that our luggage didn’t make the transfer flight (and we only barely made it ourselves.) Since there is only one flight per day from Shanghai to Bali, which conveniently arrives in the middle of the night, we spent nearly two of the four days at La Joya without our stuff. For me, this meant no bathing suit, no fresh panties, no makeup, no face wash, no glasses. My spirits were high nonetheless, and I embraced what I called “that gypsy life” in an attempt to make the most of it and savor our precious hours in this little corner of Paradise.
And I’m not gonna lie… it was kinda fun going commando, with dewey skin and salty hair. I couldn’t enter the eco-village’s picturesque infinity pool without a swimsuit, but I took the opportunity to splash into the rigorous waves of the private beach at La Joya in a casual blue beach dress I purchased at a local market. I could not, for the life of me, find a swimsuit of any kind. There was plenty of swimwear in the town for men and for children, but nothing for women. Not even a burkini, folks. Apparently women in Bali don’t swim. At least not that part of Bali, which is admittedly quite remote in the scheme of things.
I will say that our first night gave us some of the best laughs we’d had in a while. Chuck jumped out of bed in uncharacteristic haste to find a mischievous looking beetle crawling in our sheets, and less than an hour later we startled awake as one of the resort cats crawled and howled his way up our thatch roof. It sounds silly, but that first befuddled, stripped, vulnerable evening in Bali was one of the highlights of our stay. I love laughing with my Chuckles.
Enough of that mushy stuff. We eventually got our luggage and I was so very happy! As I washed my hair and swept on some mascara and lip gloss before dinner, I joked that, as it turns out, I’m more of a unicorn than a gypsy!
Our one adventure was the Adventure & Spirit excursion to climb, rappel, slide, and leap from waterfalls in the northern mountains. This came highly recommended by friends, but I was quite nervous at the physical demands it would likely entail. Luckily, our group consisted of Chuck, myself, and two quirky male New Yorkers, one of whom was even less of a physical fitness specimen than myself. I was by no means the epitome of grace, but I did just fine. I was actually rather proud of myself.
I wish I had more photos of my rugged accomplishment, but the tour guides’s GoPro ran out of battery within 15 minutes of our journey, and of course I couldn’t exactly carry my iPhone with me. You’ll have to take my word for it that I rappelled Gigit Waterfall like a champ (not really.)
We sunbathed poolside on days falsely predicted to endure 100% chance of rain. We dined on plentiful helpings of the most delicious local dish, nasi goreng. We (correction: I) frolicked with dogs, cats, cows, and chickens. We wandered to Balangan Beach and watched a thunderstorm pass from a thatched, beachside cafe. We dodged some very naughty, kleptomaniac monkeys at Uluwatu Temple and sipped colorful cocktails as the sky lit up in sunset hues…
….And on that note, I’m not going to get into the fiasco of getting home, because I want to leave it right there. It may be a poor country, but Bali is truly simmering with diamond-in-the-rough charm ❤