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Jalan Jalan Jalan Jalan is about the time I have spent in Indonesia. Usually this involves me getting in to some unusual situation and then having to face the many cultural and language barriers to get out of it. Also, there are usually monkeys involved.


INDONESIA | Monday, 12 March 2012 | Views [1049]

For those of you who know me in Australia you will know that I’ve always lived on the crazy side of life and like Cyclone Tracey I tear a path through anywhere I go mixing it up; why? Because life is boring otherwise. It helps to have a short attention span and lack of patience if you want to have fun. I will never forget the photograph I saw in the Museum in Darwin which was of a beat up, old Torana nestled amongst the debris of Cyclone Tracey’s war path. Someone had painted on the back of it ‘Tracey, you bitch’. I love that; bring it on!

For those of you who know me in Indonesia you will know that I often get called Traciegila, because gila means crazy, Tracie rhymes with crazy and it suits my personality.

So how do we measure craziness? And what do we mean by craziness?

I’ve always been inspired by the crazy’s. I always say; if you’re contemplating regret; don’t, discuss it with a friend, justify it and move on! I’ve been lucky enough to have friends who I can be myself around - go freedom for self expression!! - Semangat!! For example, Hayley and the Richards family, Carmel, Monica, Sue and of course my sister Karen. I won’t list you all but you know who you are. So my point is that when I say I’m going to do something crazy like walk from Ubud to Sanur just because I want to you would know that this is a normal Tracie thing. So what if the hundred or so people I spoke to on the way thought that I was a crazy bule who had just escaped an institution for the insane! I could blame the cuaca panas, the chili, the arak I suppose…but I think its just that I was programmed this way.

The thing is, that I’m naturally a rebel. And I don’t mean the bandanna-wearing type nor the beret-wearing type; but, I have to question everything all of the time.

If someone tells me, ‘don’t eat cheese before noon’, goddamit I will eat cheese before noon! Why? Why not? Everything is just an experience.

So I will tell you about my Forest Gump moment. First of all let me tell you that I didn’t grow a beard by the end of it but it doesn’t matter because thanks to Hana, after the other night’s Trivia extravaganza, I now have a gorgeous set of stick on eyebrows and mustache. Phew!

So the original plan was to get up at 4am,  chuck my backpack and cool walking sandals (courtesy of Sue) put one foot in front of the other and hike it to Sanur. But when the alarm beeped at me and I looked outside, it was rainy and dark so I went back to sleep. As you do.

I eventually got up a few hours later and found myself trekking down the road at 8:30 in the morning. The idea was that I couldn’t, listen to music, smoke, read a book when I stopped or use my phone and I could only drink water and eat fruit along the way. So if you want to get all DnM about it, the idea of this stroll was to let everything go, supaya (yes! Finally get to use that word in context!) I could let everything go – consider it a cleansing of the soul, heart and brain if you like. Or maybe I really do just like Forest Gump that much. Who knows? Semangat!

I followed the flat and winding road; it wasn’t too hot as it was overcast so it was quite pleasant. Well that was a boring sentence wasn’t it?

Anyway I’ll skip to the important parts. (I always imagined reading Jayne Eyre without the descriptive paragraphs and thinking it would only take 5 minutes).

I ran in to Wi from work and he was surprised to see me. He asked me; ‘Tracie where is your bike? Do you have a flat tyre? Do you need a ride?’

‘No thanks Wi, I’m going for a jalan kaki to Sanur’

His daughter on the back of his bike smiled at me and another smaller version of her, popped out from in between him and her taking me by surprise. It's funny how many Indonesian people can fit on a motorbike or in a bemo...

‘Noo Tracie, why? Why do you want to walk to Sanur? For olahraga?’

‘I don’t know, maybe for sport but also just to talk to the people along the way and have a think’.

He left and wished me a hati-hati (atau mati!) and a selamat jalan.

I stopped at the markets in Singapadu and bought some manggis. Yes that is your fault Ben because now I’m addicted to manggis. I spoke to the lady’s in the market and they laughed when I said that I had walked from Ubud.

Crazy Bule. Ha!

On I walked singing to myself ‘pagi, pagi jalan jalan (jalan jalan), siang, siang jalan jalan (jalan jalan)…’

I thought about some stuff for a while, then after these thoughts had whirled around in my head long enough I let them fly off and now I don’t even need to think about them anymore. And I don’t mean thoughts like, what should I have for dinner? Or should I buy that dress? I mean serious stuff that has been eating away at me for a long time. I once heard that to come to terms with your past you must slowly digest it. The way I see it was that in the last few years, my past was providing me with a nice dose of indigestion because…(wait for it!)…things just kept coming up! Ha! How’s that for a good pun?!

I stopped at a small shop in a village just before Batubulan and met a lovely girl called Indah and her little sister Novi. I ate pineapple and watermelon and had a chat about the weather. It was still overcast but the badai had berlalu’ed (wrap that around your tongue!). Talking about the weather in Indonesian is much more interesting. You don't even need to say that you found a fifty thousand rupiah note at the end.

Then I kicked on towards Batubulan. I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling too sore or tired so I just kept on walking and looking at things. For example, there was a wedding precession stopping traffic, twelve year old children riding motor bikes home from school and anjings making love in the street (thank god for the spay/neuter program!). It didn’t feel like I had just walked 15 or so km’s but rather it felt like I was taking a light stroll on the beach watching the waves crash against the sand bar or in Indonesia’s case, watching tango wrappers wash up against the black sand beaches.

As I walked through Batubulan I heard another voice call out my name ‘Traaacie!’

It was none other than Komang; Mokos Master of Blues!

We had a chat on the side of the road and I explained that I was walking to Sanur. He was so happy and surprised to see me walking there. He also asked me where my bike was. At home of course, I answered. He offered to drive me with all seriousness but I explained that I needed to complete my mission. It was good to see a familiar face but at the same time it felt like all of the people who I stopped and talked to or who rode beside me on their bikes talking to me were familiar anyway.

Now the next part is my favourite part. As I walked along the footpath through Batubulan, a mob of school kids just leaving school for the day, crossed to my side of the road.

The kids were cheeky! They skipped along side me and asked me in their best English what my name was and where I’m from. h you’re an Indonesian teacher ‘hey hey, dia bisa bicara Bahasa Indonesia!!” So now I had my own precession going for me! Some of the boys explained why they were carrying a long sword. They had been practicing traditional dance at school. The students drizzled off after a bit, making their way home for lunch after a hard days study. They jumped on the back of motorbikes with the rest of their family or skipped down the small gangs towards their homes. I walked on smiling to myself.

It wasn’t too long after that a couple of the girls and their father pulled up next to me on their bike.

‘We have barong masks, ayo ke rumahmu!’

So I followed the family down to their house and was introduced to the Ibu and the bapak. The little girl explained that their family made barong masks and she took me on a full tour of the barong shed. I then shared my manggis and watermelon with the family, before heading off gain. One foot in front of the other; pelan pelan, adeng adeng, alon alon.

The traffic started becoming more gila as I approached the outskirts of Denpasar. I was getting low on funds but decided to stop at a small warung to do my bit for animal welfare. This particular warung had a cage full of puppies out the front up for sale. I greeted the family and asked for a bottle of water and a small container. The puppies were so thirsty and they lapped up the water I gave them quite quickly. I didn’t tie myself to their cage and demand their freedom but I explained that the puppies needed water and to be let out of the cage for a run. So together we exercised the pups, gave them a hug and a kiss and I threw in a bit of information about getting the pups vaccinated.

And then it was back to me again. Walking. Just walking. I crossed the bypass and wondered for a moment how I would be able to stand the tedious bypass. It started to sprinkle a little hujan so after another couple of kms I stopped in at a small roadside warung and chatted with the bapak there.

“Apa kabar Pak?’

‘Biasa saja.’

‘Why only okay?’

He then spoke Balinese and we played charades and I worked out that he was in a motor bike accident.

‘Kasihan Pak’.

I bought a kopi from him, had a Little Sit Down (LSD) and then said my goodbyes before taking on the bypass again.

We’re nearly there!

The bypass wasn’t so tedious for a few reasons. One of them was the random Balinese men selling gorilla masks at the traffic lights.

‘Mau ini?’


Yes that’s right I already have a gorilla mask.

The hujan started getting a bit heavier but I just gave in to it and let it fall.

At one point I jokingly hid in a small tin shed with a corn lady (lady selling corn) and that was funny. You probably had to be there.

Then all of a sudden I was in Sanur. Jalan Tamblingan.

I stopped at a circle k and sat down on the bench seat out the front. I looked down at my feet and noticed that I had a couple of nasty blisters. I then realised that my legs hurt! I decided to finish off the 30km or so walk with a swim in the rain at Pantai Indah as well as a coconut to rehydrate and a warm soto ayam for my belly.

I lay down on the beach and had a nap in the rain and was later woken by two small dogs licking my face.

I slept well that night at Erin and Clare’s house; despite Kucing, the stray cat, leaving Clare, Erin, Laura and I a lovely little dead-rat surprise during dinner.

Well that’s the end of my walking adventure. I think that I will do it again sometime. Thanks Corinne for the idea. And for now, let me just say that most people I know think that I’m crazy; crazy by name and crazy by nature. But without the crazy, the gila, the ‘look this is me in a nutshell’ moments; we would all be going nuts anyway…out of boredom. So don’t measure the craziness. Don’t question the craziness. Just justify it with a friend…or in a blog post. Semangat! Semangat!

Tags: bali, berjalan, crazy, forest gump, gila, indonesia, jalan, sanur, ubud, walking

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