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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Bali & Oksana

INDONESIA | Saturday, 26 January 2019 | Views [153]

For the third time I'm in Bali. As I've professed before, Bali is one of those places I like but don't love; I enjoy it but it doesn't have my heart the same way as Norfolk Island or New Zealand. I like it for the fact that there's a little bit of everything and how it's a great place to indulge in things for much cheaper than back home, such as massages, dental work, pedicures, and eating out. It's also one of those places where, if you're a perpetual traveller, you're likely to end up often (e.g. in transit, meeting friends). 

Oksana is a lovely Ukrainian neurologist whom I met in the Maldives last year...an odd place to meet considering the Maldives are a destination to go for your honeymoon rather than as a single guy. We agreed to meet somewhere this year, and she initially was thinking of Sri Lanka or the Seychelles. In the end she chose Bali. Flying from Brisbane meant a rigourous trip, because I went to Jo's for an evening (Tiaro is three hours north of Brisbane by car) and due to my flight leaving at 7 AM I pulled an all-nighter. I made the ultra-conscious decision for my 2019 resolution that I'm not going to drink anymore, or at least not get wasted anymore. I want to be sharp and focused all the time and fully enjoy every moment in life. If I have to endure five hours on a Jetstar flight with little sleep, no food, and no inflight entertainment then so be it, but I'm not going to replace that with four glasses of wine. Landing in Bali I was super exhausted, and Oksana wasn't due to land for another six hours. I dragged myself into Kuta and got a massage for $12 for one hour. Before leaving I'll have to try a massage where fish nibble on your feet. 

Oksana landed at 6 PM, and after a big hug and a million heckling taxi drivers trying to charge a ridiculous amount for a ride, we got a ride to our hotel for $15 (the expected cost). Checkin at the hotel is very professional: they offered guava juice and then carried our bags to our room. In a way I felt like I was back on the ship in Antarctica. This is what our room looks like at our hotel in Nusa Dua:

Oksana and I have two completely different travelling styles: as a doctor she only gets a limited amount of vacation time per year, and since it's -30 in Ukraine at this time of year, she's not going to go to a cold place or anywhere during summer. When I tried to convince her to meet me in Norway to view the aurora, it was a definite "NO." She prefers warm places and likes to stay at hotels and relax at the beach.

I've always dreamed of having a travelling companion though it presents its own set of challenges. Similar to how I felt when I brought Alison to Norfolk Island, I couldn't just throw down my bag, jump on a motorscooter, and go do my own thing. Yesterday I woke up after sleeping like a rock and then had breakfast at the hotel. Hotel breakfast buffets around the world are very hearty and filling but are largely the same at every chain hotel. Afterward we took the hotel shuttle and then lazed in a beach chair. Unlike most people, I find this an unorthodox travelling method. Staying at hotels and going to beaches doesn't particularly strike my fancy, but if I'm with other people I have to compromise a bit. This is out of the front of the hotel...

Last night Oksana had food poisoning. The hotel cleaners did an excellent job on our room and I gave them a nice tip for making a special trip to clean for us. As Oksana rested, I went out for dinner and got one of my favourites: sweet & sour chicken. Despite being a major tourist destination, Bali maintains a firm grip on its culture. Canang sari (offerings) are found everywhere, even at the resorts of Nusa Dua. Every March, there's a holiday called Nyepi where absolutely everything, including the airport, shuts down for 24 hours. You must stay indoors and keep both light and noise to an absolute minimum. I wonder if I'd be able to handle that. 

I have my wish of not just having a travelling companion, but a special lady in a special place. For the next week, I'll be at Oksana's side as we shall make some magic and enjoy Bali together. 

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