Day 15: Seb flies off and returns to Sydney town with tired red eyes.
The morning was bright and chirpy. Squirrels and swallows were awake and making the most of the sunlight, as they dodged and weaved through the jungle greenery. Our stay at the Eco Village was coming to an end, and home was beckoning us; and we felt the call deep within our bones, seeking the comfort we are climatised to. We met up with Perth native Michael for a Yoga class, which our aching muscles were struggling to get through after the strenuous treetop course. It was a painful class for sure, as our muscles were reeling with atrophy after trying its best to defy gravity the day before, and asking the same muscles to bend into a pretzel was equally as difficult. The class eventually made its way to its end, and we said farewell to Michael, and hoped him and his family the best. We then settled our bill at the village, which was slightly confusing due to a reservation mix up, but after it was all sorted; we were then on our way out with bags packed to meet up with Nengah. He waited by the main entrance in the village of Kintamani, away from the crazy driveway and its almost 90 degree descents. He greeted us with one of the warmest and friendliest hellos, and promptly snatched our bags and threw them into the back of his minivan. And off we went, next stop Ubud.
During our drive, Nengah regaled us with some stories, a little history of Bali, translated words and described to us his week. He was pleased that we hired him for the day to drive us around, and we were more pleased to have a friendly face of trust to tackle the hustle and flow of Bali’s streets. Our first stop after an hour of conquering the controlled chaos, was a raw food locale named “Alchemy” for lunch. This place was tethered next to a busy street, but the place itself was calm and colourful. It had two counters, both next to each other but split in the middle with a large wall. The walls itself were a shade of calm lemon yellow, and had cherry blossom trees painted all through them. Hanging from the ceiling above one counter was aged letters, each spelling out classily ‘a l c h e m y’. So we got a salad each. Usually a salad would be a small serving, right? Wrong. The salad that we purchased for $3.50 aud was the size of a punch bowl, and was just overflowing with salad. It was a mission and a half to get through it all. As we sat, there were a great amount of ex-tourists who have graduated to Balinese locals sitting and chatting, checking their emails on the wifi and laughing about their stories. I felt a little more homesick at this point; I couldn’t tell you why, because I couldn’t really understand why myself. Along one of the walls there was a shelf with packaged food to buy, with a guitar propped up underneath a sign that said “play me”. So, naturally I did, between finishing a salad I played and later whilst waiting for Jess, I played some more. Two weeks away from the guitar had really been a testament in itself, and picking it up casually was a little too foreign for me. Either way, my fingers relaxed on the fretboard and easily calloused its way through some gems that I adore to play. Lunch was consumed, customs questioning items were purchased by Jess and we were off. Next stop was the CBD of Ubud. We made a quick stop for some food for the plane, as we were determined not to eat the photocopy of food they present to their patrons, and spent big at Bali Buda.
Once again, we were on the road. We did stop to buy a few kites from a shop that makes beautifully painted custom gems, packed them lovingly into overflowing suitcases, and continued forth. Nengah told us of a beach that he recommended to see, as it wasn’t far from the airport and was beautiful to boot apparently. We took him up on this offer and headed for Jimbaran Beach. When we arrived, we were greeted with a beach that stretches for a few kilometres, with cool water crashing small swell waves, hot sand that we preferred over the volcanic harsh rocks and pebbles, heaps of restaurants that had their tables under parasols and balanced on the sand, off in the distance you could see the end of the international airports runway, also off near the horizon were heaps of small fishing boats all hand netting themselves catches of the day. In other words, the beach was beautiful. Nengah told us to go play for a few hours and we’ll meet up with him before flying off. Easily done in my opinion, really easily done. Jess and I loaded ourselves with our cameras and walked the beach. We kicked up the breaking waves, and eventually sat at a restaurant for some drinks and slowly watched the sun set. Tourists then came in droves as the sun set and the temperature changed for photos. It was comical to see droves of people posing with the sun in their hands for photos, as there were the equivalent of a soccer team of people doing it all at once. Either way, it was beautiful to watch the sun set off in the horizon of Jimbaran beach, it just was the final display of beauty that we lavished about Bali as it casually romanced us and cemented the notion of perfection.
We met up with Nengah and drove to the airport. He expressed that he will genuinely miss us, and urged us to pass on good spirits to our families for him. We expressed the same sentiment, and as we got to the airport, I posed for a photo with him and gave him a hug. We paid him, and tipped him largely, which he didn’t want to take; but we felt that he deserved more and that he deserved to take that tip. As we walked away to the international departure terminal, Jess and I both felt emotional about our last fortnight and our last moments with Nengah, Bali was something else entirely. It was charming, shocking, funny, beautiful, humbling, passionate, calm and chaotic; it was an epiphany and an inspiration. It was exactly what the two of us needed to experience for ourselves to better push forward with our lives it seemed, it was an imperative that taught us to slow down and enjoy the little things.
It was just… Wow.
Our flight was long and we didn’t get much sleep, and as we were driven home the next morning by our great friends Dani and Seth, our hometown never looked the same again as we were looking at it from an entirely new perspective. It felt good to be back home, but the urge to go back was also more enticing.
Day 15: Seb flies home, has an emotional farewell, doesn’t care what you have to say about it. Music listened to: Title Fight, Parkway Drive, Bobby Womack, Cat Stevens.