Going it Alone when Dumped In Bali.

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I was going it alone in Bali. Countless people ask me how is it that I travel on my own, or what made me decide to go solo! I can only say, “In life, sometimes something happens, and it is only much later that we realize it happened for a reason.

Oodles of years ago, while I was living in Tenerife and going through a rocky relationship with an Italian Stallion, (The dictionary explains: - slang saying refers to a man regarded as virile and sexually active) Yeah, well the "Active" bit he certainly was, but not only with me! I think that you will get my meaning?

The moment had arrived where I was sick to death of this guy’s trouser zip working overtime with other women. Consequently, I jumped at the idea, when my friend Stella suggested we visit Bali. A paradisiacal island in Indonesia. In those days, we were young and slightly “off the wall” so it was not unusual to do impulsive things.

Before we knew it, the plane was landing at Denpasar (Ngurah Rai) the international airport in the south of Bali. Since we did not know a lot about the island, (at least not at that moment in time) we headed to Kuta beach, which originally had been a small fishing village. Today it is a very touristy resort and extremely popular amongst the surfers due to the large waves that hit the coastline.

We found ourselves a charming resort with individual bungalows’ set amongst swaying palm trees and green lawns. The first night we visited the famous night strip and had our first taste of delicious Indonesian food. I adore eating! So savoring the different cuisines of the countries I visit is one of my preferred pastimes.

When we returned to our bungalow to encountered hundreds of small, bright green frogs sitting in the grounds. They were all croaking at once and added a very special and unforgettable sound to our stunning surroundings. I quite like frogs! One of my exes looks rather like a frog! However, that is another story!

The very next morning we decided to hire a four-wheel drive to go around the island and explore. As I had forgotten to bring my driver’s license, naturally, Stella had to do all the paperwork in her name. (I mention this as you will discover, it is an anecdote for later in my story)

We headed off, in the direction of Ubud situated in the center of Bali. Ubud is a beautiful town and very far removed from the maddening crowd of Kuta. It is considered the culture hub of the island. Some of you will most probably know this location due to Elizabeth Gilbert the author of the novel, “Eat, Pray, Love” where she based the last part of her story. Apart from the fact that back in 1990 Mike Jagger from the group “Rolling Stones” married the model Jerry Hall in this awesome town.

I love UBUD! Put it on your list if you have not been there yet. 

You will never guess where we stayed! At a place called “Frog Pond Inn” (The frogs are everywhere on this island. Rather unfortunate since I didn’t want to remember Frogface EX) Unbelievably, after all these years, the hostel with the croakers included, is still there. I have just checked, and it would appear that it is still as good. The reviews are excellent.

We spent a couple of days exploring the place. Naturally, we visited the famous Monkey Forest! They are not my favorite animals at the best of times. But one should make an effort to visit these places, otherwise what would be the point of traveling?

 

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After we had left Ubud, the pair of us headed to the well known Lovina beach and booked into an enchanting beach hut. The first day was great because we went to visit the “Batur natural springs.” An incredible place in the middle of the jungle where you could imagine Tarzan to come flying through the trees at any moment. For a few hours, I felt like Jane relaxing in the warm waters. Sadly, much-awaited jungle king didn't appear. 

The following day Stella and I decided it was time to visit the beach. Now let me tell you a bit about my friend. Stella comes from a very classy family and has even been to Buckingham Palace to take tea with the Queen. On passing, I will mention that the furthest I ever got to tea at the palace was when I stood outside the gates with a well-worn flask containing our national drink. OK back to Stella.  She doesn’t need to work since her adorable parents set up a trust fund for her. The interest pops into her bank account every month. Stella is intelligent, laid back, has a beautiful face, a lovely speaking voice and is disgustingly overweight! Added to all that, she is the female version of the Italian Stallion in Tenerife. Men are her favorite pastime, and she will let you down at the drop of a hat if some male appears on the scene. (Stupidly I had forgotten this small detail regarding my friend when I agreed to the trip to Indonesia.) OK, now you are in the picture about Stella, I will continue.

It was marvelous to be lazing peacefully on the Lovina beach and to observe the locals splashing around in the water. Suddenly Stella jumped up, gathered her towel, and walked off to another part of the beach to sunbathe. I must admit that I did think this was rather odd! But I wasn’t too fazed. After a very short while I looked to where my friend was, and lo and behold she was chatting with one of the natives. I will put you even more in the picture. The local men of Indonesia are usually small, dark skinned and pretty skinny. Not my idea of a drop-dead gorgeous, irresistible hunks! Having said that, it wouldn't do for us all to have the same taste.

The next thing I knew, Stella was returning with the Balinese boy plus a friend of his who sported very long hair.  

She asked me if I would like to go snorkeling with them! Since I had never snorkeled in my life, It occurred to me, that it would be an excellent opportunity to try. I did wonder why it was necessary for two of them to take us, but nit-wit here gamely agreed. So off the four of us went, to see what laid beneath the sea.

There we were sitting in this little boat while the boys rowed away from the shore. I started to notice that Stella was being very friendly with the guy who had been speaking to her on the beach. It was then that the penny dropped. Holy hockey sticks! She was making a beeline for this fellow, and a long-haired guy had been brought along to get off with me! I couldn’t believe it, and I was furious. I hadn’t come to Bali to find a man nor with due respect, had I come to get laid by a local. I might mention that when Backpacker Granny gets mad! She shows it! I own up to having been very unfriendly on that boat. I secretly loved the underwater swimming, but for the rest, Oh Dear God, I couldn’t wait to get back to shore.

 Ha, it didn’t end there. On the return journey, the boys suggested we take a trip,  to view the Dolphins the following day. Please remember, we lived in Tenerife, where Dolphins are running, or should I say swimming rife in the ocean. Why in the world would I want to watch any more darned dolphins? (Excuse me dear Dolphins, but I have seen loads of you fellows) Of course, it goes without saying, Stella immediately said she would go. In all honesty, it wouldn’t have mattered in the least but the following day was my birthday. I know without any doubt that I would never leave a friend on her birthday. I wouldn’t care two hoots how attractive the man was. And at the end of it all! What girl wants to spend her confounded special day on her own?

To cut a long story short my so-called friend disappeared early in the morning of my natal date. She left some poxy present on the bed and didn’t appear until the next day. To cap it all, on return she informed me that she was staying in Lovina and that I could take the car back to Kuta. I was flabbergasted that she could be so irresponsible about the car and of me driving it without being covered by insurance. I ended by telling her to take a long walk off a very short pier. I mean really, what a selfish B....h!

I consider myself a competent and confident driver. However, on this occasion, I was petrified that something would happen on the return to Kuta. I was in a strange country where I knew the laws were very different to ours in Europe. I had visions of me having an accident and being slung into some ghastly cell with no one to help me. Of being raped by local inmates who I didn't even fancy! I could see the headlines "British woman disappears in Bali, last seen rowing out to sea with two undernourished males and one extremely overnourished female" Amazing how fear will make the imagination work overtime!

I returned to my destination driving at approximately two miles per hour. The other drivers most probably thought I was just another one of those foreign idiots who hadn't a notion how to maneuver a vehicle. I did have the chance to lap up the incredible beauty of the scenery with the greenest of green rice paddies. Under other circumstances, I would most probably have stopped at several places. Sadly I was too concerned about returning the car safely.

Fortunately for the rest of the inhabitants and me, I arrived at my destination all in one piece.  The car was intact and so was I. Now came the moment of finding somewhere to stay and going it alone.

I am pleased to say I found a remarkable hostel; I ate alone, went to the beach alone, explored alone. And do you know what? I positively enjoyed it. That new-found state of total independence is indescribable.

Yes! I was doing everything alone! Oh alright, Let me be honest here! Between you and me, one day while savoring the Balinese coffee, I met this magnificent specimen of a male! Nope, he wasn’t a local! He was a dazzling Dutch man. Now as any self-respecting woman will tell you, there are some things in this life that you cannot possibly do alone! Well, OK you can, but it just isn't the same! Enough said.

 Can you believe we are still friends today? No, no, no! He is not the one that looks like a frog! Never in a million years.

Suffice to say "Solo traveling is just the best!"  Thank you, Stella, for showing me the way.