Yup. Totally in Bali. You know how I can tell? EVERYONE IS CONSTANTLY SWEATING BECAUSE OF THE RIDICULOUS HUMIDITY!!! AHHHHHHHHH!
I arrived in Denapsar at 12:30pm Bali time on Sunday and was a little worried about getting through customs. Apparently they don’t usually let tourists in with a one way ticket, but they didn’t even ask me about it! After getting through the airport I headed off to the hotel with a bunch of other people at the same conference. The hotel we’re staying at is really nice! It’s huge and has a massive pool (yay!). I’ve got a nice (but pretty standard) air conditioned (whoo!) room not far from our conference rooms. This is where I’m staying if you’re interested.
It’s been really great meeting lots of new people who are passionate about their calling. I’ve met lots of the team I’ll be joining in Papua and they’re all so nice and accommodating. Phew! There are Australians, Kiwis & Americans. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and settle into a new life.
Monday was the first full day of the conference and it was great to get a wider view of what is happening within the organisation. I loved hearing about how people are engaged with their local communities and how creative they all are in their work.
Yesterday evening a group of us wandered down to the local beach and I must say I was disappointed. The sand is like quicksand near/in the water. Very strange. I guess in Australia we’re spoilt when it comes to beaches, but still, it was a beach so it was nice.
Each night we’re left to our own devices for dinner and there is a group organised for those that don’t know anyone, so that was a good way to spend Monday night. I had dinner with some great people, but sadly it was some pretty average food. After dinner I came back to the hotel and had a swim before getting an early night.
Today (Tuesday) was another good day of hearing different people speak and getting to know others. For dinner I headed away from the hotel with 6 other Australians and went to a Swedish restaurant. No, I don’t know why either. I really enjoyed this because I got to see more of what Bali is really like (not the Swedish restaurant, the area we went to). We took a shuttle service into a shopping/restaurant strip which was really eye opening.
Bali is a poor place. There might be lots of tourists around but generally speaking the people are quite poor and the place is very run down. The roads aren’t great (but they’re ok) and there is heaps of traffic, including as many motorbikes as cars, if not more. The outside of almost every building is dirty and run down. The insides of restaurants are often done up well, but the outsides are ugly. It’s rather depressing to look at really.
Everything is so ridiculously cheap that I can’t help but think how little everyone is earning from everything they sell. For 7 of us to catch a taxi back from dinner cost $4. Insane. I bought a 1.5L bottle of water today for about 40c. I also bought a coke zero for just under 90c.
Tomorrow is a day off and I’m going shopping in Ubud with a bunch of people. It’ll be interested to see the markets and have a go at haggling… I’m sure I’ll be bad at it. I feel too guilty about trying to pay less when these people are already getting so little. I know it’s expected, but still…
The conference finishes on Saturday and I think I’ll be flying to Singapore on Sunday. I have to go there to get my work visa before I fly over to Sentani. It’s annoying, but it has to be done.
Well that’s about all from me for now. Thanks to anyone who has sent me lovely messages, it’s been great to hear from people who are thinking of me in this huge time of transition.