From the Togian Islands to Ubud

Hey hey from Ubud Bali!

After a couple weeks of venturing ’round Singapore and Jakarta, and a month of teaching and travelling in Sulawesi, I’m here in Ubud, Bali, reunited with my mama, brother and our long-time family friends. However, just to fill in the gaps between now and Tanjung Bira, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Spent more than a day travelling in order to get from Makassar to Bataluka Island which involved transportation via plane, night bus and ferry
  • Our accommodations on Bataluka Island (one of the many Togian Islands which we were set to explore), hosted a bunch of folks from all over the globe. Met some fellow Canadians (which – holy crap, small world – are the godparents of a girl I went to high school with), an Italian, Aussies, Swedes, Spaniards, Germans – you name it.
  • Played cards with the family who runs the business there and a drunk Quebecois.
  • Snorkelled the Togian Islands. The highlight of the spots were a sea garden which had an incredible variety of marine life and a psychedelic array of colours, and swimming with a perfectly coordinated school of fish which would form a donut around you and always managed to avoid contact no matter how sly you were.
  • The trip back to Makassar was not in our favour: arrived early`at the Wakai ferry terminal, only to board a late boat to Ampana; there, we were suppose to catch a bus at 5:00 pmto Palu… whoops, late ferry means late arrival – missed that ride; luckily, we found out there was a bus at 10:00 pm that we could catch; little did we know, this ride was over-crowded, sweaty and loud (3 infants and some people who like to sing out loud); after 12 hours of cruising from Ampana to Palu, we finally catched our flight back to Makassar.
  • Nonetheless, the bus ride was quite eventful. Chilled in the back for a little while with some dudes from Palu and a fridge (I guess someone was moving?). One lad was a student studying ecnomical anthropology and does nature photography in his spare time. In fact, he got on the bus in Luwuk which is a hub for folks who do scuba diving or snorkelling around the Banggai Islands. There, he was doing some underwater photography of the damaged corals due to commercial fishermen.
  • Said my final goodbyes in Makassar, which was more mentally difficult than I thought it would be. How do you say bye to these amazing people you’ve only known for a month and probably won’t see for a solid few years? The hardest of those good byes were with the maid, the youngest son and the uncle of my home stay. Over the past month I’ve gotten really close to these genuine, humble and hilarious people, and the best way that I can describe our partings is that “it sucks”.
  • Got on a plane to Bali, where my mama picked me up at Denpasar airport. The taxi drivers and tour guides probably thought we were both on crack as this crazy gringo girl jumped into the arms of a hollering Indonesian lady. Met my ill brother back at the hotel where he was resting, and am currently bunking with a long-time friend from Nelson who I haven’t seen in nearly two years. Lots of catching up to do, and no place better to do it in than in the tranquillity of Ubud.
  • Had some mother-daughter bonding time over a trip to the market via cycling. We later took the back roads which took a toll on our asses but was all worth it just to get a glimpse of the rice paddies that Bali is so famous for.
  • Went to a night market outside of Ubud (finally, a place where Indonesians weren’t the minority) where we all indulged in Indonesian cuisine.

Oh, and here’s my story of the day:
When we were at the night market, I went to go get myself some martabak (I’m having an affair with this Middle Eastern pancake). While the lady was cookin’ up a storm, some child beggers were poking at me and holding out their hands saying “money, money, money”. Personally, I’d rather buy them food or water so I know where the change is destined to be used and not end up in the pockets of some hustler. So, I bought them martabak. While we were all waiting for their food to cook, I asked them how old they were. They didn’t know. The youngest girl said that she thinks she’s 12 even though she has a small body. After their martabak was ready, I wished them happy eatings and said my farewells. The ironic thing though, that even after buying them food, they still asked for money. Makes me wonder where it’s really all going to…

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3 thoughts on “From the Togian Islands to Ubud

  1. Well, it seems like you have incredibly excellent fortune, despite the name confusion; I really don’t know what’s so difficult about ‘Amira;’ one would hope that it would have been easier to get such a fine name straight.
    A trip with a fridge? Well, that sounds fascinating — can’t say as I’ve ever had THAT experience, despite my extensive travels. Although, wait… I DID work for a moving company back in the day, and moved a few fridges. But never, ever, on a bus. Yes, that is an amazing adventure — were there durians, rambutans, or even the occasional barbecued pig inside? In fact, was there ANYthing inside? Except for air?
    But I digress — Ubud is indeed a stellar place, and I wonder what ethnicity the locals assign to you — Polynesian immigrant illegal, perchance?
    But you didn’t tell us the fate of your brother’s stomach. I think all of us out here in cyberland wish him a speedy recovery. I certainly do.
    Please keep us posted on this Fearless and Wonderful adventure.
    Greetings from Hawai’i. But that’s another story.

  2. How is it cycling through/around the padis? Is there a lot of up and down?
    Done it before, but always by car or moped, and it feels like the tranquillity and green splendour is somehow sucked up by the roar and speed of the machine, slow-ish though it may be. (Same as any place in the world, I guess…)

  3. Pingback: Yes, My Eyebrows Are Real | gonzotravel

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