Sticky Situations – Bali 2020

A few months back I started writing and planning a series of 10 blog posts documenting my travelling experiences from the beginning of the year. I managed to write and upload a grand total of 1. Fucking 1. (And if you haven’t read that masterpiece, you can give it a read here).

Now this is not because I’m lazy or unmotivated, it’s because I’m just not a travel blogger. I love travelling, and I love writing, but for some reason the two do not go together in my head.

But as I had a story to tell (and nothing exciting has happened to me as of late) I thought I’d give travel blogging another go. Kind of. So here’s the story of the most eventful day of my life.

14th February 2020

Now let’s think back to Valentines Day 2020: the pubs didn’t have 10pm curfews; we could legally shag a stranger; there were no queues to get into Aldi (I don’t know which I miss more). It was a simpler time all round. A time when we all thought Covid 19 was a little sniffle that would pass us by…

Problema Número Uno

My first big problem was bloody Covid 19. To be honest, it’s been everyone’s big problem of the year, so I won’t pretend I’m anything special here, but here’s how it affected me…

I had just finished travelling up the East Coast of Aus when I decided to change the next part of my travel route as Singapore now had ~40~ cases of this coronavirus thing… So I decided to get on the first of 2 connecting flights, to Bali, and then just not get on the second one to Singapore… I thought I’d chill in Bali for a couple of weeks, and wait for this covid lark to blow over.

Still waiting for this covid lark to blow over 7 months on

I also refused to admit that I’d changed my entire travel route because of this bloody virus, for fear of being told I was overreacting. Well this ongoing worldwide pandemic really showed me I needn’t have acted like such a big man.

At this point in time there were around 8 cases of Covid 19 in the UK, and none in Indonesia, so I felt pretty safe in Bali. Even safer when I went through the airport and had to fill out a health report: ‘no I do not feel ill’, ‘I have not got a long and continuous cough’. We had our temperature checked and our forms signed off by a health official before we even got to immigration.

As a side note, I had nothing like this at Gatwick a month later (immediately before we went into lockdown), so it’s honestly no surprise Indonesia, a significantly poorer country with no NHS, kept pretty low numbers of cases throughout the entire pandemic, despite also having a population of four and a half times the size of the UK… But anyway…

So I was waiting in this long ass queue to have my temperature checked where I ended up borrowing a pen from a girl stood behind me. We got chatting and the girl told me she wanted to go to a place I’d never heard of in a few weeks. She explained that she had no one to go to this ‘Sumatra’ with, and it was too unsafe to go it alone as a young female traveller. Having no future plans at this point, I told her: “oh I’ll come with you”.

She looked at me like errr wtf… I’d met her less than 10 minutes prior to this, and before we’d even reached the end of the same queue, we’d planned a trip together.

Pals 4 life in Sumatra

I’d recently realised the rules of travelling are so different from normal life. Imagine chatting up someone in the Tesco queue and inviting yourself on their hols: extremely bizarre and creepy… But on the other side of the world it’s spontaneous and adventurous.

It’s the same with social interaction: you can chat to someone at a hostel bar and become great friends. Whereas if I sparked up a conversation with a girl at table 45 at spoons, I’d be told to fuck off.

So I swapped numbers with my new friend, left the airport and hopped in a taxi to Canggu. The views from the window included amazing statues; rice fields; even the airport itself was a pretty cool sight. However it wasn’t long until my next big problem struck and the surroundings quickly went from relaxing to stressful af.

Problema Número Dos

The problem in question was realising I couldn’t get cash out. I tried 7 ATMs, 3 bank cards at each one, but no luck. Instead I ended up blocking 2 of the cards. I started to panic. How I was going to pay for this taxi ride?! I didn’t even have any giffgaff credit to cry to my dad about it… Why was I such a cheapskate for fuck sake. Would I have to give the taxi driver my phone? Or sell my body? To pay for a £6 bloody taxi?! I joke now, but writing about the situation is bringing up the stress for me again 7 months later, and I know how the story ends (not with me selling my body).

After some hoping, praying, and begging the cash machine to do me a solid, the eighth ATM did in fact produce some money: I almost cried in gratitude as it spat out the bills. I tried to buy some cookies to thank the driver for stopping at every cash point in Bali, but the shopkeeper couldn’t give me change from a 50,000IDR note (£2.50), so I gave him a simple ‘cheers mate’, instead.

To be honest, my time in Canggu after this wasn’t particularly exciting. I was exhausted from my busy month in Aus, and it was kind of rainy, so I shut myself in bed pod and watch Netflix for the next two days. Now you may be thinking, ‘wooooow, you were on the other side of the world and you were sat in the dark watching Netflix?!’ Yes, yes I was. I also ordered a Dominos.

In fairness to myself, I hadn’t stopped socialising and going outside for the past 30 days, I needed some time off. Plus the Stranger on Netflix was too good to not binge watch.

I did come back to Canggu a few weeks later where I went to a Fisher set, danced on a table in the middle of a crowd, and had my purse stolen out my pocket. So an equally stressful money related event.

I then reported it to a police officer who forced me to make a ‘donation’ to him, and then hug him. So all in all Bali, like me, was a hot mess.

The (sweaty) face of someone who’s discovered their purse is gone

I should mention that I did have an amazing time in Bali, and Indonesia in general, despite having enough stress to last a lifetime. 100% recommend travelling it when there isn’t a pandemic on.

Thank you v much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this one, normal blog posts of me whining about being a boring old adult will continue next week x


2 thoughts on “Sticky Situations – Bali 2020

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