Monday, January 12, 2009

I thought my face was exploding, but it was just bedbugs.

Which...whatever. They're all healed up now, and apparently didn't follow me out of that first hotel (which was actually a rather nice place). So, let's see. I found out that Kuta Beach during rainy season is pretty gross. The river overflows and all the trash in it washes into the ocean. A lot makes it onto shore, where it's then cleaned up and carted away. Most of it, though just stays in the water. It's terrible, it looks like people are swimming in sewage. I cringed as I watched children play in the filth and come out of the water with bits of refuse stuck to their skin. I then promptly signed up to do some surfing.

Which was awesome, by the way. There are still plenty of clean, beautiful beaches right now, and now I might have to rent a surfboard when I get back in March and stay at one. I think the dirty water reacted with my wonderful new sunburn and gave me heat rash. There isn't really anything more attractive than red, itchy, patchiness spanning your shoulders and back. Anyway, our surf instructor said the pollution happens every year, it's always in the papers, and yet the government won't do anything more than rake up the trash on the beach in the mornings. I suppose I wouldn't be motivated to spend more money on cleaning up and/or prevention either if I knew a gazillion tourists would still come to Bali and swim in the muck.

I decided I would wait until my "prickly heat" healed before I got a wonderfully cheap full body massage and, instead settled for two sessions of wonderfully cheap hour long foot massages. Hour long, you ask? Yes. An hour of ecstasy and it's still not long enough. I did eventually get an hour and a half full body massage in Ubud for less than $10 ("Overpriced!" says Watana from Thailand) and I'll probably get a five hour treatment when I return in March. Don't hate.

Kuta was fun (even though I kept passing out at 6 pm), but I headed up to Ubud to meet up with Alex and later, Wilson and Josh. We saw aggressive monkeys, a beautiful waterfall, and more temples than I can remember. Luckily, I have two and a half gigs of photos to help with that part. Alex and I almost got into a physical fight with a "guardian" of the Besakih temple. For serious, people. I don't think he was actually legit and his hatred for Americans (or maybe just us) was palpable. If you've seen Alex, you know he could probably knock out two average-sized men with a half-hearted punch, so we probably weren't in any real danger (though the guy did take off his sandals! I guess that's the Buddhist equivalent of rolling up your sleeves or taking out your earrings). Our driver, Ketut, was awesome, though. He took us to all the good sights, and even a few off the beaten path.

Oh, but I'm here for some educational program. Right. We have our lessons in Bahasa Indonesia this week and next. I'll tell you how that goes. My host mother is super nice and is hosting five Indonesian students going to UGM. I plan on speaking terrible Indonesian to them all the time. Our time in Yogya is actually cut short because of transportation issues, so we get less time in Yogya but more time doing archaeology in the Banda Islands. I suppose I'll be able to deal with that.

The next post won't be so tl;dr, but if it is, suck it up!


  1. finally a post by our very own dinnertable. and yes, i have been feverishly peering every other day to see if minda would post. adamd

  2. Minda, I love your post! Even if I didn't know your screen name, I would know it was you from the references to hours-long massages! Enjoy your time in Indonesia. I look forward to seeing you in March. By the way, I'll safeguard your Joe Corbi's order (in the freezer of course) and make sure Keith doesn't eat it.

    Be Safe!


  3. Minda! I just happened to check this blog and see your post (I just knew dinnertable had to be you). I hope you're having a blast. Can't wait to hear stories/see pics when you get back.