30 hours of airports and planes now in Bali. Bali is listed as one of the most beautiful places on earth and I agree. They have it all culture, well disposition people, low crime, good food, and unbelievable natural beauty. I have two days before we fly to Timika in west Papua then heli to base camp to start the climb I will take advantage of every minute.
I get maps talk to folks and split the two days into beach and inland. Map out what I want to do get a driver to get me around for $40 a day. Thought about motor scooter they get through the crowded streets much faster but also dangerous I will hold off on both scooter and surfing until I get back after the climb. I came here to climb and should have a few days after to surf. The waves here are huge and many of the good surfing spots have coral bottoms that will cut you up if you fall, and I fall a lot.
Both beach and inland have four goals nature, culture, food and history. Indonesia is mostly a Muslim with Christian and Hindu mixed in. Bali is mostly Hindu so I go to Uluwatu temple on the coast and handed a dress called a Sarung at front gate that I must wear in respect. It is purple with a gold sash perfectly matching a tie dyed shirt have on and blue shoes I am wearing. First time in a dress and already accessorizing Not sure if the slit is on the side, front or back. I am a pageant dad and can figure it out. This is traditional Bali attire and very comfortable may rock it when I get home.
I drive around the coast stopping on the beach for lunch then home for a team dinner.
The next day I head inland to Ubud and further north to active a volcano. I go early to a Bali production costumes and dancing then to another temple another Sarung different color that doesn’t match anything. I travel through farms, rice fields, and coffee plantations where I go through a coffee tasting. Their specialty is a coffee called Luwuak named for the animal that eats the bean, poops it out and is harvested, cleaned, and roasted. It is very expensive and I buy a box to serve friends at home only telling them of the origin after they drink it. Make it to Ubud turn back to the hotel traffic is getting bad . I stop and eat at a restaurant in the rice fields watching the workers hand plant the fields made my back hurt. Get home pack for a 5 am flight to Timika then on to basecamp by heli.
I am writing this 3 days later from the airport in Timika west Papua. It has been raining here for 3 weeks with climbers stacked waiting for flights to basecamp. We will be here for another two days at least waiting for flights up. Unlike Bali Timika is poor, dirty, hot, humid, mosquito ridden, and I haven’t seen the sun since I have been here. It is in the malaria belt and have to watch getting bit and coat myself with bug spray and try to keep my room mosquito free. I am also watching my food and water closer the risk of getting sick is higher here than would be at basecamp. I have eaten half of my supply’s I brought with me.
Last night when told of the delay they also present us of a option to fly to Wamena a remote village in the jungle home of the Dani tribe one of the most primitive tribes in the world. Will I make it? Not sure but a break from Timika is needed. My plan to travel to wamena a drier place at 9,000 ft elevation, until the log jam clears and flights start to basecamp. Climbing the mountain is my first priority and staying healthy is essential to a successful expedition. AC again shows why they are the best giving us another option while we wait.
This is a long post and will leave you with a even longer lesson to grandkids do’s and don’t s when traveling. Which has been my life the last week and still not there.
Lessons to grandkids:
Do’s and Dont’s when traveling in foreign country
- water, never drink from a tap or restaurant unsure of the waters origin. make sure use a sealed bottle of water or treat a steri pen or tablets. Even rinsing your teeth after brushing or ice cubes in drinks are bad ideas.
- Beware careful of what you eat make sure you pay attention to how it’s prepared, in Indonesia when they say foods hot be very careful.
- Carry hand sanitizer, wet wipes and some napkins keep hands clean before and after eating. Most foreign public bathrooms will not have toilet paper and third world have neither toilet or paper.
- Carry copies of passport travel arrangements. I also take photos and keep in my phone.
- Observe local customs and respect them, your in their country be polite. I had to wear a dress in the temple yesterday but it went well with my shirt.
- Learn basic words Hello, goodby, please, thank you, yes, no.
- Don’t get into politics either theirs our yours.
- Safety in numbers travel in a group. If you travel alone research the risk.
- Hide the bling don’t make yourself a target with expensive jewelry or watches.
- Pack light, pack clothes that are wrinkle free, sink washable bring a clothesline. Laundry service is available also. Many of my expeditions I give my clothes, shoes and sunglasses away to local guides. Only take what you need.
- Get phone activated to work abroad use WiFi, turn off apps that run up data could get expensive if cellular roaming. Many times you can purchase SIM card and get local number that works cheaper when calling home.
- The legal systems are different obey the law. Indonesia if your caught with pot it a death sentence.
- Negotiate the rate of a cab before you get in. Uber lift work well abroad and is better regulated.
- ATM’s give you the best exchange rate. If able pay with card or local currency always the best.
- Contact your credit card company and warn your traveling.
- Get a google translate app and a good metric/currency converter, and practice using it before you get to the country.
- Carry basic meds and first aid kit. Carry health and auto insurance card most time they work abroad.
- Carry a journal and write every night. I cant remember anything if I don’t write it down.
- Keep pictures backed up on web on blue tooth to your phone. I saw a monkey take someone’s camera today and in it all of their trips photos.
- Make sure you have correct adapters for charging phone or camera.
- Stay out of the tourist traps many time just a few miles from these are where the real people live and you have a better understanding of the culture. Tourist traps is where you will find the hustlers and pick pockets.