July. Call me partial, but it is a lovely month of the year, every year, for more than one reason. First things first, Happy birthday to me!
In keeping with the trend of restful nights, another 8 hour night followed. It would have been the aircon or the phase of nothing-to-do-other-than Eat, Burp and Sight See (Sorry Elizabeth Gilbert!), the nights on vacation days help you catch up on any sleep debts you have from the days on the hamster wheel.
The morning began with the usual machine made coffee at the patio of the room, listening to the birds tweeting, watching the calm albeit high tide sea, gardeners going about what gardeners do, early morning swimmers taking a dip and the man of the house packing used laundry back into our suitcase. We were going back home today.
We wanted to make our trip worthwhile for everyone involved. That included our daughter, who was braving through all the temple relic visits and all the conversations, only with the faintest hope that we would make it up to her by doing something fun at Bali. So we decided to do away with a half day shopping trip to Kuta ( which was what was on schedule) and instead went to Tanjung Benoa, which is where all of Bali gathered for adventure water sports. It was a ten minute drive from our resort and we got there early yet there was a big crowd already.
We sat with a slime ball employee of the adventure sports club, whose main job was to convince whoever he spoke to, to think of themselves as the best people who have set foot on the island of Bali. He tried his best to convince us that the adventure sport options he offered us were at a special price. But having been there done that several times over, negotiating that is, we told him what we thought would be a good price. After the usual back and forth drama, we settled at some price we thought was reasonable. (Restless Wira did not relax till he was assured that we had frozen the deal and heard the cash machine in his brain go Ka- Ching!!)
The first of our adventures was the ride on a banana boat. The ride was just that. A ride on a banana shaped air float that was towed at high speed into the ocean, without a clue how far, how long or how jerky the ride was going to be. But let me say that it was enjoyable (for me), an adrenalin rush (for Akank) and safe ( for GSR). If the banana boat had capsized or worse still deflated, the only saving grace was that we were all wearing life jackets and would still be afloat at sea for someone to spot and save us!
The second sport we opted for was more adventurous. In retrospect, GSR says it was the most foolish thing to have attempted. To start with, we were not given any life vests to wear on the motor boat that took us to a point in the sea (that seemed like the middle of the sea to a novice’s eyes), to a bigger boat. The bigger boat was stationed just over the spot where we had to deboard the boat to get to the adventure. Secondly, the adventure club employees (at home in the rough waters, smoke spewing motor boats and figure hugging scuba wear) never really prepare you for any emergencies that may occur enroute to the sea bed or beyond. As it turned out, the Sea walker, (which was what the adventure was called) was a half hour walk on the sea bed among the under water sea life and coral reefs. We were given scuba diving suits, foot wear and huge oxygen head gear to wear that allowed us to breathe through under water. Here is a link to a YouTube video of us under the sea!
What really happens when you get lower than 5 meters /16.5 ft under water, is that, your ears start popping (and that hurts) because of the change in pressure. To equalize the pressure, they advised us to keep blowing air into our ear canal. But like all good advice, when you are on your own, 5m under water, and the only sound you hear is your own breathing, the gush of water around you and the awful realization that this may well be your grave, the advice doesn’t come of much use.
But just as I was busy recalling the hand signs that I was shown for emergencies, before I was guided under water, I was swarmed by hundreds of multiple colored fish! The fish temporarily made me forget the discomfort in my ear. It was blissful to be part of their world till the ear pressure and the light headedness of being under water hit me back in full force. I survived the experience and lived to tell the story!
Wira’s eyes sparkled when we handed over a handsome tip, for being our knowledgeable guide and friend for the length of our stay at Bali. I “warned” him that his inputs on the various subjects we talked about were going to be published online and that he would be responsible for the authenticity of the information shared.
Disclaimer. All information shared in these blogs are either my observation or Wira’s. If you have anything to clarify, you know where to reach me (and I know where to reach him)