I left early Sunday morning which was two days after the other girls. My travels there were a full day adventure. It started at 4:30 am with a taxi ride to the Melbourne airport and ended at 9 pm in Bali. In between I had a fantastic 8 hour layover in Sydney. I spent the morning enjoying breakfast with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then walked around the Opera House.
I flew out of Sydney at 5 and landed in Bali around 9pm. Nina and Matt (one of Nina's friends from a past CRU Summer Project) met me at the airport and took me to the Bali Surf House where we stayed in Denpasar. The Surf House is a ministry house that is connected with Global Church. There are a group of missionaries (including Matt) that live there and do ministry on the island and help people with travel plans that come and stay at the house. It was so awesome to stay at a place with people that loved the Lord.
We woke up bright and early and got on a boat that took us to Nusa Lembongan, an island near Bali. It was the most beautiful place!! We went to the island with some of the missionaries that live at the Surf House and a group of music missionaries from Oral Roberts University. We were so blessed to be with such an awesome group of people.
(Riding up to Nusa Lembongan)
(Our first picture on the island. R-L: Megan, Me, Katherine, Sarah(behind),Marilyn, Nina)
(villa at Mainski)
We had a relaxing morning and early afternoon soaking up the sun. After laying out for awhile, we decided to rent bikes and explore the island a bit. Matt took us to an awesome place with mangrove trees. Which are trees that grow in the middle of water.
(We loved relaxing by the infinity pool)
(biking around Nusa Lembongan)
(the mangrove trees and local boys singing and playing on the beach)
At the spot I enjoyed some nice, fresh coconut water and then we headed back to our villa to shower and get ready for dinner.
We met up withe Surf House and ORU groups at a Thai Restaurant for one the of the best meals I have ever had. Katherine and I split two of my favorite thai dishes, green curry and pad thai. Being with a music group and simply just being us crazy girls a dance party broke out in the middle of the restaurant after dinner. It was a perfect first day on the island.
The day started with snorkeling around the island with the ORU team. We split into three boats and took off to different snorkeling places. I enjoyed the views underwater nearly as much if not just as much as I enjoyed the views at the Great Barrier Reef. It was beautiful!!
(our awesome snorkeling boat crew also known as the dream team)
After snorkeling we found a great spot for lunch and then Nina, Megan and I decided to go on a paddle board adventure. We paddled for about 2 1/2 hours and absolutely loved it. The three of us had two paddle boards between us. One board was big enough for one person to lay down while the other person stood and paddled and the other board was for just one person to paddle. Nina, Megan and I took turns on the three different positions. We paddled a way out and then decided to lay on the boards and chat. It was super relaxing until we looked up and a boat was headed straight in our direction. I'm sure we were quite the sight to see as we scurried to move out of the way.
When we got back to our villa I showered and then our new friend Kurt, one of Matt's friends from Hawaii, took me on a motorbike ride to explore more of the island. That day was full of great adventures but riding out of the touristy area and being able to see the island was probably my favorite part. I loved seeing people just living life out at their homes and seeing the beautiful countryside.
We ended the night eating dinner with everyone again and then heading back to the villa and hanging by the pool.
This was our last day on the island so I woke up early and had breakfast on the beach. I then talked Sarah into going for one more walk around the village before we had to get on the boat and go back to Denpasar.
(loved the culture around the village)
I was actually super excited to be back in Bali since I hadn't really gotten to see it yet. It was fun spending some time at the house relaxing and getting to know the people more that stayed there.
That night we went to Jimbaran to have a seafood dinner on the beach. It was another beautiful view and surprisingly I enjoyed my crab dinner. We had fun chatting and eating great food. We decided to go meet up with the ORU group again after we ate. They were staying in Seminyak, a nicer part of the city. At Seminyak we walked around the fancy shops and then met up with the group for a live Indonesian band. The band played Indo music, had two guys in mask come out and dance with them and then ended with some covers we all new. A great night.
(Menega Cafe at Jimbaran Beach)
(live Indonesian entertainment at JP's Bar)
Thursday was INCREDIBLE! We went to a town called Ubud which is known to be the more artisty place in Bali. On the way, our driver stopped so Megan, Kurt and I could see a Kris and Barong Balinese Dance. It was a fun dance/ play. They gave us a paper that explained what was going on in each scene.
Once we got to Ubud, we went straight to the Monkey Temple where were able to feed and hold monkeys. It was such a good time. We bought some bananas and would hold them so that monkeys would crawl on us. I had an apple in my purse so once I ran out of bananas to feed them they were crawling all over me trying to get into my purse to steal my fruit. It was quite funny.
( This face explains exactly how I felt when the first monkey crawled up my arm.)
Next we went to a delicious restaurant called Clear Cafe. The food and atmosphere there was so great we ended up spending 3 hours ordering more and more food and chatting about how much we loved it.
The last couple hours in Ubud were spent at the Ubud Art Market and another market outside of town bargaining with the people to get cheap clothes and nicknacks. It was my first time to bargain so I wasn't great at getting the prices knocked down but I walked away with two sarongs, a dress and a few other things for much less than the price they initially wanted.
That night Megan and I went on a motorbike ride with Matt and Kurt and then the ORU team came to the house for another dance party of course.
Friday was Megan, Sarah and I's last day in Bali, but we went out with a bang. The big thing I really really wanted to do while were there was ride an elephant and we finally made it happen Friday morning. We went on a 35 minute elephant ride and then were able to feed and take pictures with them. After a yummy buffet style lunch, we got to see the babies and a little show that the elephants put on. It was fantastic. The people at the park were so chill and awesome. They let us take our time feeding the elephants and helped us take fun pictures. I really enjoyed that they didn't hurry us or make us feel like they had other people to get to even though the park was filled with people.
(meet Ava the Elephant I rode on)
That night we went to Uluwatu beach and had our last dinner in Indonesia. It was the perfect spot to watch the sunset and finish up our time in Bali. The three of us left the surf house super encouraged from being surrounded in prayer by the girls and friends at the house. We then flew out at 11:50 pm and made it back to Melbourne at 7am this morning.
It was an awesome trip with tons of culture, beach views and fun adventures with great friends old and new. LOVED IT.