Aug 1, 2011

3 Years In the Making: Hello Bali

Never has relaxing come at such an expense for Amanda and I. Money notwithstanding, this vacation to paradise cost us three years of law school, three months of bar exam study, and two days of the bar exam. I realize that these items all revolve around me. However, in the first years of our married life, that is exactly the way it was. The last three years were stressful, busy, and very un-relaxing. Law school was a fifty pound weight around both of our ankles, a third wheel in our lives, an obnoxious neighbor that insists on dropping in at the worst times. That is not to say we had no fun. Amanda and l never eschewed completely our hikes, camping trips, and relaxing trips to Michigan. Yet I can say with confidence and I am sure Amanda will agree that life for us of late was no box of chocolates.

And now, here we are in Bali. We have awarded ourselves for enduring three years of stress with the grand-daddy of chocolate bars. Bali is coated in nuts, caramel, nougat, and bigger than we could ever eat. Our task for the next five weeks is to explore, relax, have fun, and not stress. That’s the kind of assignment any of us can get behind. It might be the most emotionally expensive trips we’ve taken in our careers as travelers. But here we are, ready to leave behind another chapter in our lives and embrace the next.

After dumping all of my acquired law knowledge at the Phoenix Convention Center last Tuesday and
Wednesday, I was feeling light, empty, and ready. Don’t ask me what a tort is or how many jurors must agree. Right now, I don’t know and I don’t care. Amanda and I spent Thursday in a whirlwind packing for our journey. By 10:30 Thursday night, we were rolling down the tracks out of Tucson and towards Los Angeles. The train was step one of our journey. It was my first time riding the train in my own country and, to be honest, it wasn’t too bad. We got some sleep and it arrived to L.A. and hour early. And the price simply can’t be beat, so long as you buy your ticket far enough in advance.

Once in L.A. , Amanda and I were able to spend some time with my sister and her fianc├ę who live in Hollywood. We spent our day in L.A. strolling through the beautifully manicured streets of the Larchmont neighborhood. In L.A. we finished up some last minute preparations, such as picking up our visas at the Indonesian consulate.

Fast forward 24 hours of flying and here we are in Bali. We spent our second anniversary in the most incredible hotel either of us have ever seen let alone stayed at. (Thanks mom and dad). The Laguna is surrounded by beautiful swimming pools everywhere you look. It is a universe engulfed in luxury and smiles. Our stroll down the board walk took us past all of Bali’s finest hotels. We are in a segregated compound of sorts filled with wealthy tourists from all parts of the world.

Yesterday we took an excursion to a fish market for lunch. We strolled around looking at all the fresh fish for sale. Snapper was on our minds as we selected a two pound beauty. We then walked it across the street where we had it grilled to perfection. An enormous fish with a side of rice got us through lunch and dinner yesterday. It was easily the freshest fish we’ve ever eaten. It had most likely been dead for only a couple hours. Delicious.

Today we are meeting up with a former photography professor of Amanda’ s who has found a way to retire in Bali with her husband. We are excited to talk with them about all the changes in Bali since we were last here six years ago. Bali has exploded with tourism in that time and is now suffering from all the growing pains associated with the influx of foreigners and their money. Prices are skyrocketing and water levels are dropping.

Yet, despite the influx, we are confident that Bali will never run low on its hospitality and heartwarming smiles. We missed you Bali, thanks for having us back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Leighton and Amanda, to both your blog and Bali. A much deserved adventure.