Today is our last day in Bali, and it is also T.’s 20th Birthday. On his Birthday, T gets to visit the Holy Tirta Ubud temple, wear 3 different sarongs, bath in the holy water with sacred fishes, attend a Hindu ceremony at the temple (and get blessed along the way).
A little before 7 am the earth trembles under our feet. It takes me a few seconds to realise that this is an earthquake, one of those many which have hit the region in the past couple of weeks. We learn that this one is in Bali, and of magnitude 5. It is a sharp and deep tremor, which recedes quickly. T. and A. are still fast asleep.
More travel. We head to Ubud, central Bali.
T. a student in Anthropology (and a former kid) is specifically excited by the prospect of visiting the Monkey forest. Monkeys are indeed everywhere. People too. L. comments on the fact that there are in fact more people than monkeys.
We dive in Panangbay, Bali. It has been over a year since we have not been in the water and we reacquaint ourselves with the heavy (when on earth) gear of the modern diver and the subtle buoyancy which makes us float between layers of ocean, light and free.
A and T are bickering at each other. They share the same room is our eco-resort villa. Since the ‘villa’ is just an open roof, we pretty much all share the same room, together with a vast collection of bugs and frogs, which all spring to life as soon as the sun sets.
Our next place is a diving resort. Or rather, an eco-resort. We sleep under a white mosquito net, which flaps gently in the wind. The bedroom is open under a thatched roof, the rudimentary bathroom is outdoors, a slim shower in the middle of exuberant vegetation which T. and A. find exciting.
Vacation are our time for intense reading. We pack our kindles with books or all sorts before we set off. I stock up on contemporary fiction, based on reviews from the New-Yorker, literary prizes short lists and friends’ recommendations. L. does the rest and always revives classics (Russian authors last’s year, Balzac this year) and piles up essays.
Over our years of travel together, L and I have developed a fondness for Trip Advisor. For all of its flaws, its poor User Interface, erratic search and inconsistent experience across mobile, tablet and desktop, Trip Advisor is the only app we use before, during and after our trip.
We went to our first Indonesian beach today. Waves like mini tsunamis, crashing on a dark sand beach. Nobody in the water. Too dangerous. The beach is full of young couples watching the sunset and having their photo taken on a back drop of huge waves. A few kids running around, far away from the water.
When you travel, there are always a couple of things you forget. Only to discover that in most instances you can buy them easily and cheaper in the country you are visiting. There are of course a few exceptions.