As I mentioned in my last post about Wellington, I booked a last minute trip to Bali! I was leaving for Wellington on a Wednesday morning and I booked my flights to Bali on Tuesday night at around 7 PM. I was in Ubud attending The Institute of Code, a 10-day retreat where you learn how to code (code is the seemingly scary letters and numbers that make up a website or computer program – I promise it’s not as terrifying as it looks).
I arrived two days before the retreat began and have already had one of the best days of my entire life! My heart feels so warm (although it might just be the muggy heat) and happy in Bali.
Tuesday, March 22
My flight landed in Bali around 2 PM and, after 11 hours of flying I was exhausted. Ubud is just over an hour out of Denpasar, so I took a cab to my Airbnb and relaxed (as much as one can in a smouldering 90 degrees)..
I took a walk around the bustling center of Ubud, looking at the shops and trying not to fall into the giant holes in the ground. After dinner, I met up with a few of the IOC crew and then went back to my Airbnb. My accommodation didn’t have air conditioning *cue huge gasp* so I had to take a long, cold shower before bed. It was still 77F degrees at 9:30 PM – yowza.
Wednesday, March 23
The next morning I took it easy and had a lovely breakfast provided by my accommodation. I met up with another IOC student, Holly, who arrived early and wanted to explore. We met at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary just down the street from where I was staying and had a blast playing with the monkeys.
I realized later I should have been a bit more scared of them than I was, I’ve talked to multiple people who have been bitten or attacked by them. I’m a scaredy-cat so it’s probably best I didn’t know this.
Check out these monkeys, they’re so freakin cute I can’t handle it. They’re mini, fuzzy humans with tails!!!!
UGH OMG SO CUTE.
On a walk around town, we stumbled upon a Dairy Queen and it took everything in me to not burst into tears of joy and hug the hug the DQ employee. For those of you who don’t know me or know what a Dairy Queen is – I’ll explain. Dairy Queen is an ice-cream shoppe that serves soft-serve ice cream. The best thing they serve is called a ‘Blizzard’ which is like a McFlurry but about a million percent better. DQ was my first job, my mother’s first job and our family’s ‘go-to’ place. I’m obsessed with it and I’ve been deprived since I moved to New Zealand (how they have one in Bali and not New Zealand is beyond me???). I ordered a Chocolate Xtreme, and while it wasn’t exactly the same (it also melted down to soup within .5 seconds), I was ecstatic!
Holly and I ate a mid-day meal at a fantastic little cafe called Watercress Cafe and they had a beautiful kombucha (my favorite drink) selection.
I went back to my accommodation to relax and take a nap because Holly booked us in for a volcano sunrise trek leaving at 2 AM. I slept on and off until it was time to leave for the hike.
Thursday, March 24
I was unsure of what to expect for this sunrise hike. I honestly didn’t think anyone else had signed up and we’d be the only ones in the van. From 2 AM to 3 AM we picked up a few individuals, all from different parts of the world – Australia, Sweden, UK and Russia. We took a pit stop at this tiny neighborhood shop, where they made us fried bananas and coffee. Balinese coffee isn’t filtered so the junk at the bottom is extremely thick and gritty. We made our way a bit further up the road and, to my surprise, we joined about 100 other people prepping to hike up Mt Batur. At 4 AM (it’s pitch black out still) we began the hike, it was about two hours uphill and mostly ash toward the top.
The sun began to rise and finally we made it to the top. We spent an hour up top taking it all in and snapping pics.
They fed us a super fancy and delicious breakfast of bread, one egg and tiny banana. I’m pretty sure we were supposed to save our banana for the monkeys we see later, but there was no way I was doing that.
Now the sun was up and it was starting to get hot again. We started walking down (well, skiing) because the ash was so thick we were sliding down the hill. Halfway down it was like monkey heaven. Wild monkeys were everywhere – on the signs, jumping on people, chasing each other – it was incredible!
This was probably the best day of my entire life so far. Have you ever just felt so happy it starts radiating out of you and you can’t stop smiling and your heart is warm??? That’s this day.
At this point, I don’t think I stopped profusely sweating once. Probably a good thing, I’m ridding my body of the toxins right?
We hopped in the van and stopped at a coffee plantation on our way back to Ubud.
In the photo above, you’ll see coffee bean poo. A cat-like animal (if I remember correctly) eats the coffee cherry, poops out the bean because it can’t digest it, then they clean and roast it. Apparently the chemicals the bean acquires as it goes through the animal’s body creates a unique taste…
The coffee was tasty and the people were extremely lovely, as usual. The plantation also grew the cacao plant, so we got to taste test some chocolate hehe…then we made our way back to Ubud.
Ok WOW this post is getting ridiculously long so I’m gonna wrap it up now. Holly and I got amazing massages (including a scrub and a bath) after we returned and we relaxed for the afternoon. Later in the evening we took a cab out to our luxury villa where we stayed for the next ten days with Institute of Code!
I’m so excited to share my experience at Institute of Code with you all! It was truly life-changing ten days so stay tuned for my next post.
Have you been to Bali? What were the highlights of your trip? Leave your comments below!