"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

10 Things I Learned In Bali

Posted in Travel by matt on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I’ve been working on this post in a series airports after wrapping up our 10 day run through Bali and New Orleans. We’ve hit the layover jackpot lately as most of the airports we’ve been in had free wi-fi.

Free internet in airports falls right between “raindrops on roses” and “whiskers on kittens” as one of my favorite things because it’s the ultimate time-killer. And it helps me keep in touch with you!

After mulling awhile, I’ve collected ten things that I deem share-worthy from our trip to Bali. Here they are:

1) Despite my 3rd grade infatuation with them, most monkeys are pathological kleptomaniacs that should be avoided like the plague (Embarrassing side-note: In 3rd grade I was the president of the “monkey club” which I also founded, co-chaired and am currently the only living member of. Wanna join?). One of the nastly little hellions actually snatched Cayla’s chap-stick and ate it. His indigestion is our retribution!

2) Tropical paradises actually exist. I’d seen them on postcards, but wooow. God has made some beautiful stuff for us to enjoy. Pictures here.

3) I’m just kidding, monkeys are still awesome and you can’t join my ultra-exclusive club. They’ve just changed from being the “endearing-fluffy” kind of awesome to the “scary-tyrant” kind of awesome. And I still want one.

4) If you’re willing to crash on the occasional moldy mattress and ride shotgun in a crammed mini-van careening around corners, then a couple hundred dollars (after airfare) can take you a loooong way in this little 3rd world paradise. I was amazed at how much we ate and how little it all cost.

5) If you wanna get to know someone, travel with them. And I don’t mean one of these posh all expenses paid package trips. I mean real travel. I’m convinced that trips bring out both the best and the worst in people. Cayla and I have experienced this as the stress of it all brings out various virtues and vices in each of us. It’s worth it, though, because it gives us an opportunity to learn more about each other and to grow closer.

6) Bugs love Cayla. An old Balinese woman described her as having ‘sweet blood’, and I think she’s right. At one point in the trip Cayla actually had 35 bites on one leg alone! Mosquitos, sea lice (?!), ants, and nasty invisible bed bugs (Mom was right, you really shouldn’t let them bite) all teamed up to munch her miserable. Fortunately they relented a little after we moved inland and to a higher elevation.

7) Roosters are in no way obligated to only crow when the sun rises. Or, if they are, Balinese roosters must have the most dysfunctional circadian rhythms imaginable, cuz they crow around the clock.

8) Reading Bram Stoker’s book, Dracula, is a great way to gloomify any vacation – no matter how sunny! I tried to pick something ‘light’ and ‘vacationy’ to read, but I ended up with something that gave me creepy dreams.

9) Couch Surfing is great. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically facebook for nomadic hobos. It’s an online network of people who are willing to host others in their home when they come and visit. My grandfather’s candid response to this was, “Yer gonna get yer head chopped off.” But it’s actually recommendation-based, so you can choose who you want to stay with based on the ratings other people have given them.

We ended up staying in the home of a young Indonesian pastor named Eko, and he was a rock-solid man of God. His kindness t0 others and love for the Lord were an encouragement to Cayla and me, and there’s no way we would have met him if we’d stayed in a hotel. Like I said, Courch Surfing is great.

10) Merit-based religion abounds. Balinese offerings littered the roadsides in an effort to appease their sinister-looking gods, but theirs is just a dramatic example of a common problem. Buddhists in Thailand offer prayers to score ‘credit’ on their eternal bank accounts, and Bible-belt Christians make church attendance into a sad hobby.

But all the credit for life and eternal security goes to Christ! He came to end this fruitless attempt to reach God by being God among us. His efforts are our success! He is worthy!

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One Response

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  1. Lori said, on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I reallly enjoyed reading your experiences and what you learned.

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