Sunday, February 3, 2013

Indonesia and Mom in Korea

Hello Everyone,
Currently sitting in bed at 1:15 AM, writing this post while waiting for my damn laundry to finish. Still have not packed or clean my room yet and I leave to Indochina for 26 days in exactly 14 hours....procrastination at its finest. But I have the excuse of being super busy this last week. Before I start with that, however, I will go into my 10 day adventure to Bali.

Got into Bali at around 12:30AM local time in the beginning hours of Saturday morning. Walked out of the airport and had my first lungful of hot, humid, and sticky Indonesian air. Instantly all the taxi guys swarmed the white people looking to drive them around and rip them off. Fortunately I was prepared for this and got the normal rate to my hostel. My next surprise was finding out that my room did not have A/C and that I would be sleeping in 95 degree F weather the night 5 nights. Perfect! For the hectic beginning that it was, Bali turned out to be a very exciting and eye-opening trip.

The first day I went to the beach and literally laid there all day. I had bought the 5th book of Game of Thrones (so good!!!!) and my goal was to finish it on this trip, which I easily accomplished. That night I spent back at the hostel meeting some new people around the pool. So I went to Bali by myself, not really expecting what traveling alone would be like. Quickly found out that almost everyone backpacking is alone. This makes hostels that much more fun because you meet all sorts of different people who are looking to meet other people also! I actually learned that it is a disadvantage to travel with friends because then you tend to stick to your own group and don't reach out to as many people. So all the people that I met were traveling alone and from really all over the world. Everyone has different reasons for traveling. Some had vacation time. Others were in between jobs. I met one German guy who literally just sold his apartment and car and quit his job and just left Germany to travel with really no plan to where. Crazy story and an equally as crazy of a guy. This trip, however, quickly erased all doubts in my mind about traveling alone in Indochina and I encourage you all to do the same!!! Anyways back to my trip...

Sunday I traveled to some different beaches with a couple of European girls. We started with the super touristy beaches and ended up with our last beach being almost completely empty but easily the best beach we had seen. Twenty foot high waves with clean white sand as far as the eye could see. Ended the night with a cocktail at the bar overlooking the magnificent view.

Monday traveled to a volcano and the Monkey forest which was pretty neat. The monkeys literally climbed all over you which were pretty intense. One moment you are sitting down and the next moment you have a monkey on your shoulder pulling at your hair. Tuesday went white water rafting which was a blast. A little different from Colorado but I still liked it all the same. The next day was my last day in Sanur so I just hung out around the beach and did some shopping, pretty low key. Thursday I went to my new hostel in Kuta, which is on the other side of Bali. Kuta is the "party" area and basically where every single Australian goes on their summer break. Bali is basically the Australian version of Mexico to the United States. Thursday night was quite the night...

So we went to the main club called Sky Garden. It was probably the coolest club I have ever been to. 6 different floors and the top is a rooftop bar and dance floor overlooking all of Bali. Super fun dancing, great times. Stupid me decided to walk home by myself at night. Once I leave the main district it quickly becomes very dark. All of a sudden I have two women grabbed me asking if I "want some loving tonight". Quickly pushed them away and tried running until I felt a cold sharp point at the back of my neck. Their pimp had come and asked for me to empty my wallet. I throw out 80 dollars and bam run as fast as I could. By the time I got back to the hostel I realized I also had my IPhone taken too. Uhhhh....
Friday morning comes and I am in a pissy mood. Find out three of my friends also got jacked that night. Quickly find out everyone in Kuta usually gets mugged at some point. Basically I chalked it up to a "life experience" and moved on. I was not going to let it ruin the rest of my trip. Saturday and Sunday I spent on the beach and shopping, nothing too crazy. Basically by Monday I was ready to get back to Korea so I could see my mother! I loved Bali and had a great time. Met some wonderful people and got very tan.  Saw a very distinct difference between the rich and poor. Almost 80% of Balinese live in poverty. In Kuta people would do anything for a dollar. Walking down the street people yell out to you things like "transport" "shirts" "hats" "mushrooms" "marijuana" "pretty girls" just trying to get your attention to sell you something. The taxis would honk at you as they drive past and pull over to try to see if you need a ride. I have never seen such desperation to make a quick buck and it honestly made me sick. I felt so bad for everyone and yet they need people like us to live. Tourism is the biggest source of income for Bali and without it they would have next to nothing. Really makes you appreciate all the things you have in life.
By the way here is the "peace" sign found almost everywhere in Bali..
Yes, exactly what it looks like. Crazy

Ok so moving on to this week...

Mom arrived Tuesday afternoon. Rejoice! Finally after six months I reunite with my mother again. Did not know quite what to expect but we were both clearly overjoyed to see each other. Moved her into her new place in Sinchon and had our first dinner together in quite a long time. Wed we went to the DMZ. We did the JSA tour, which basically means we got to go to the front line. We went to the place that you see in all the movies. Literally a stone line with two South Korean guards and two North Korea guards standing on opposite sides of each other. It was a very surreal feeling. The kind of moment where no one is talking, like a cemetery. The moment kind of over flows you once you realize that you are literally in the middle of a war. Sometimes living in Korea I easily forget that but once you see this sight the harsh reality slaps you in the face. Overall it was a great tour. Spent the rest of the day showing her Yonsei (my school) and the area I have been living in. Thursday we went to the traditional village, saw one of the palaces, and went to a museum close by. By this time Mom is really starting to like Korean food which is awesome! Honestly I am going to miss it so much when I go home. Friday it was pouring so we went to another museum and at night walked around Itaweon (foreigner district) and did some shopping. Saturday we went to dongdaemun (basically a flea market) and then to gangnam did see all the high price shopping area. Sunday we went to another shopping area called myeong dong and then went to seoul tower where we literally could not see anything because it was snowing (fail). Ended the night with jimjilbang, which is a korean sauna. Perfect way to end the trip and one that I think (and hope!) that Mom enjoyed very much.
Tomorrow we head off to Vietnam. Mom will be with me for 5 days then will be returning home :(. I will be spending another 21 days on my own in Indochina. I am super excited for this and curious to see what my mindset will be after this trip. Well it’s late in the morning now and my laundry is finally done. Looks like I am going to be finished. Hope all of you are doing well and I look forward to talking to you guys soon! Until next time,


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