Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Bali.

Day 2: Scooter-ville in Negara

Posted in Bali on February 16, 2012

Wake up was planned as much later than the usual due to the lasting effects of jet lag. However, our natural body rhythm had most of us up by 7am. With an appetite for a good breakfast matched equally for one for adventure, we all wandered downstairs. Rice is the staple of this civilization; there may not be a person on this island who has not eaten rice three meals a day; you can even get it at McDonalds (wherever that may be).

We hired a car for $35 for the day to take us to see the sights. The first order of business was shopping for some cheap necessities at the local mall. One can always tell the hip hang outs in town by the number of scooters parked on the side of the road. We arrived at scooter-ville in Negara and entered the mall. Imagine a Rite-aid, Safeway, Fry’s, and Baskin Robbins all crammed into one. Unlike Walmart however, the lowest price is not posted, but rather the result of a bout of bargaining. Most transactions are negotiated by either party typing a number into a calculator until both are nodding in agreement. It’s feels invigorating to get your price, until you realize that you spend five minutes bargaining over 60 cents. Then it’s on to the beach to try our hand at swimming in the Indian Ocean. Our first stop is a surf spot call Medewi Beach. We are greeted by a bunch of young men itching to rent us boards and teach anyone willing how to surf. Unfortunately we are looking for a sandy beach so the exodus moves on to Brown Sugar Beach. We play in the surf amongst grazing cattle and women collecting drift wood for burning. The fine black sand below our feet provides a nice environment for body surfing in the warm water. Thunder sounds in the distance and before long the drops are starting to fall around us. Our surfing buddies show up unexpectedly hoping to make a sell on their rentals and lessons, but our motivations now are to visit the local carnival on the way home. The carnival is more of a giant flee market, where locals bargain with vendors for cheap knock offs of names such as Adidas, Swiss, and Guess. For every vendor selling the cheapest watches, there are ten more just around the corner, all attempting to make a living off the idea of conspicuous consumption. The real challenge is finding a food vendor you trust that won’t have you running to the toilet an hour later. Some took their chances, while others stuck to the Coca Cola and bottled water. In the end we all survived the experience with local food unscathed.

Finally it’s back to the hotel for some personal time before dinner. Dinner will be at a Muslim restaurant with a cook whose knowledge of America puts us all to shame. Rest assured when this guy finally walks off the plane for his first visit to the states, you’ll be able to see the smile 100 miles away. The next order of business is a good nights rest for the coming adventure tomorrow.

Tommy Marx
DWC Team Leader

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