I have a cold. Or a flu, I’m not sure what it is other than a snotty, yucky, my-head-is-going-to-explode thing.
I mean, it’s not like I’m bed-ridden, or need to go to emergency, it’s just been with me for the last few days, and it’s really giving me the shits. It’s not right to be sick in paradise. There’s just something wrong with sniffling and coughing on the beach.
Yesterday, I woke to swollen glands and a tight chest and thought ‘bugger’. But I had made plans, so I walked down to the ATM to extricate some more of my quickly diminishing funds (though Bali is a cheap holiday destination, I had already managed to blow my budget). I thought the walk would do me good before I jumped in a cab to my friend’s hotel in Nusa Dua.
But when I went to get my card from its usual place, I found nothing but crumpled receipts and business cards.
It was gone.
I tried to remain calm (which for me is like attempting to lasso a hurricane, kind of impossible), as I marched back to my guest house, trying to remember the last time I had seen it. Seminyak. Five days ago.
That was the last time I had used an ATM, and must have left the card in the machine.
After a thorough search of my room, I called the bank, managing to get some information across before my credit ran out.
Luckily, I had kept a card from another account in a separate place, so I grabbed that and then headed for the phone shop to top up my credit. After topping up with the only 50,000 Rp I had left, I called the bank again, my main concern being that Tyrhone was in China, so if they cancelled both cards to our joint account, he would be left high and dry without any funds (which would just add to the chaos of his trip).
I got this point across, before I was put on hold, and then beeep, beeep, beeep. I ran out of credit. Still in the phone shop, but with no money left, it was back to the ATM down the street.
The bank assured me that my card had been cancelled, but we didn’t get to the part about unauthorized transactions. And since I hadn’t written down the number on the card that I use for internet banking, I couldn’t check it myself. Oops. I kicked myself that I had neglected to do something so simple that could have given me the peace of mind I wanted, but there was nothing I could do about it.
I emailed Tyrhone, who didn’t seem worried, so I enjoyed my visit with my friends from Perth at their five-star resort in Nusa Dua, swimming, eating and catching up. As you do.
On the way back last night, I got dropped at a restaurant near my guest house to pick up some food. I never, ever thought I’d get sick of Asian food, but I had developed a craving for spaghetti Bolognese that needed taking care of.
As I was feeling pretty rough by this stage, I just wanted to get my food and go ‘home’. I had a dvd waiting, as well as my deluxe four-poster bed that I would sadly have to say goodbye to the following day. I wanted to make the most of it.
But Bali was having none of this. The smiling waiters welcomed me in to the restaurant and pulled out a chair. I soon forgot about not feeling great as I chatted with one young guy about where he is from (which I love to do, since they always ask us) in Bali, and it turned out he is from the village of Bondalem on the north coast. I shocked him by telling him I had actually been to Bondalem (for a yoga retreat last year), and he couldn’t stop grinning, giving me all his contact details in case I go again.
With my takeaway food in hand, I walked back to the Sunhouse Guest house, past a few taxi drivers who were hanging out, shooting the breeze.
“Takeaway again?” One of them called out to me, jokingly (I had done the same two nights running).
“Yes, I’m sick,” I explained, motioning to my throat and nose area.
“Aaaah,” he replied, concerned.
“Drink lots of water!” He shouted out to me down the street.
“Warm water!” Another interjected.
“Okay, thank you!” I shouted back, amused by taxi drivers giving me medical advice.
Back at the guest house, I boiled some water and took a mug to my room to sip before bed.
As the warm liquid soothed my throat, I reflected on how my mood had shifted from negativity and stress to acceptance and gratitude.
Bali is looking after me, I thought to myself. And though I didn’t want to be sick in paradise, or lose my card, or deal with the bank in Australia, it was still a good day.
And now I’m in Ubud. I’m still not feeling the best, but still Bali continues to look after me. After a lovely conversation with Gede, the driver who got me here, I was deposited on a back street.
A lady came by on a motorcycle, and before I knew it, I was on the back, being driven to check out a guest house. The first one she showed me was okay, but I told her I wanted to have a look around. She took me to another place, a home-stay in a Balinese compound.
It’s a bungalow set in lush garden, surrounded by Balinese statues, at the back of the family residence. It ain’t the Ritz, but its got a certain charm, a sleepy, laid back feel that is suiting my mood. And for 150,000 Rp (about $17), it’s a steal.
After I unloaded my bags in the room, the grandmother of the house brought me a thermos of boiling water, Bali coffee and tea. I could have hugged her.
After renting a brand new mountain bike from Agung, the lady who showed me the place, I rode into the centre of Ubud to one of my favourite little streets for lunch – Goutama St. The food was beautiful, but unfortunately I do not yet have my appetite back for Indonesian food, so I couldn’t finish it.
As I sit here in the communal area of the home-stay, the children of the house play in the garden, and roosters cluck in bamboo cages. ‘Grandma’ just came back from the market and told me something very interesting, I’m sure.
And I’m grateful that once again, Bali has taken care of me, got me from A to B, fed me and found me a home for the next few days. I may not feel 100%, but I feel safe in the knowledge that I am in the right place to relax and recuperate. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.