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Bali Take Two

Written on: Monday November 17th, 2008

I started this Bali adventure with Mary Helen.  Mary Helen is one of the new teachers at SIS.  She could not imagine me traveling to complete a half marathon by myself.  It was really sweet of her to travel with me.  We wanted to stay in the Nusa Dua area.  Nusa Dua is the area of all the big resorts, it was difficult to find rooms in our price range.  I called up one place and a dutch man answered.  The poor man must of been hard of hearing, the only room that he had that was in our price range just had one bed.  Mary Helen and I are close, but I don't think we are that close.  Finally, after searching for hours on the Internet for budget accommodations we found Ellie's.  A British man picked up the phone, he said they had rooms available.  It was the first hotel that I could use my kitas!  Hello Discount!   Hotel booked, check!

On Thursday, I received an urgent call the receptionist.  It turns out they canceled our flight and re booked us on an earlier flight.  Thankfully, Friday was an in service day.   Leaving a little early wasn't a big deal and trust me it was a blessing to get out of these WASC meetings early.   We head to the airport at 2ish.  There is no problems checking in.  We have a little snack and board the plane to Bali.

We land in Bali without trouble.  The British man from the hotel is holding a sign with my name on it.  Already this is a better trip than last weekend.  We drive about 20 minutes to Ellie's.   I thought Nusa Dua was going to be a long beach front road filled with resorts.   I guess that I was imagining Hawaii.   Ellie's was actually off a pretty major highway.  Highways in Indonesia are pretty ugly.   I was a little disappointed with the location.  However, you drive into Ellie's and its beautiful.  The hotel only has 5-8 rooms and is adorned with Hindu statues.  Our room is modern and clean.   Ellie's is the place you go if you just want to relax and stay in the hotel all day.  They have a location for a roof top massage, a great pool, a dvd collection and the best breakfast in the world. 

The couple, who are managing Ellie's have an interesting story.  They took time off work to tour the world from England.  They made it to Australia, New Zealand and once they got to Bali they stayed an extra two weeks and canceled the rest of their stops.  They decided that they loved Bali so much that they would sell their business and move there.  They came back and found out Ellie's, which they stayed at originally, had an opening.  They jumped on the opportunity and have never looked back.  They seem quite happy with their decision and was interesting to see other expats view of moving to Indonesia.  They have only been living in Bali for a couple of months. 

Friday night, we try and find a good place for dinner.  We are both in pre-carbo loading mode.  The British couple recommends a Italian restaurant and then offers to drive us up there.  How nice are they?  We are the only ones staying in the hotel on Friday night because of the warning, due to the Bali bombers.  They are scheduled to be executed in early November.    No one knows what the response will be like.  So, some coutries issued warnings not to travel to Bali.   We eat at an Italian restaurant on a beautiful hill.  It must be an excellent place because it is packed.   We don't get the great view because we have to eat on the lower level.  But, the food and company is great.  I have pumpkin ravioli, which is too die for.    This restaurant is nice because they serve free bruschetta and an after dinner lemon liquor.   After our fill of Italian food, we go back to the hotel.  Another great thing about the hotel is they have a library of dvds to choose from and a book exchange library, which is great in Indonesia because books are super expensive.  I am on a mission to finish my book in order to exchange it.  We head to bed fairly early and look forward to a day of packet pick up and leisure. 

Saturday morning starts with a nice relaxing run.  Mary Helen has signed up for the 5k and hasn't run for a couple of years.  So, she wanted to get a couple miles under her feet.  We are staying on a highway and Indonesia is not sidewalk friendly.  There are many random holes and other distractions.  This makes me a little nervous because I am a little accident prone to begin with.  But, I decide to take it easy and slow.   We are doing fine.  I finally start feeling comfortable and a get to this section of sidewalk where it becomes gravel.  There is a crowd of people and cars.  I start to look back to see where Mary Helen is and boom.  I have tripped and am flying towards the ground.  I put out my hands to break my fall.  I am fine there are only a couple of scrapes.  None of the wounds are deep but they are all dirty.  Most of them are filled with sand.  This makes me nervous because I don't know how the Indonesian hospitals are set up.  One women sees my fall and takes me into her shop.  She just puts band aids on my dirty cuts.   It was a very kind gesture but I would rather use the restroom to clean them out. No restroom just band aids....

We get back to the hotel and I spend about 30 minutes cleaning my wounds.  Once I feel like they are as clean, I go down for breakfast.  Breakfast is included in our bill.   I ordered pancakes.  My two pancakes come with fruit, yogurt and honey, coffee and a smoothie.  Can life get better?   After breakfast, I spend a couple hours relaxing at the pool.  I figured chlorinated water should be good for cleaning out wounds.  

After a afternoon of relaxing, it is time to get our packets and venture around.  We drive to the pretty Nusa Dua area.  It is filled with gardens and shopping complexes.  This is what I thought Nusa Dua should look like.  I am excited to be running around this area.   We walk around the gardens and the Bali connection.  I need to pick up band aids and disinfection cream for my cuts.   We get all of our supplies and then we try to find packet pick up.   I printed out an email that they sent with all the infomation.  But, it has no address on it.  We know we are in the right area.  But, no one has ever heard of the building we are supposed to be going to.  So, we walk around aimlessly and keep getting directions going in opposite directions.  Until, a little old Japanese man comes up to us and tells us to follow him.  What the heck? We follow him into the Asia museum, which it turns out is the packet pick up place.  They changed the location.   This is the first marathon in this location.  So,  things are disorganized.  One good thing is my $60  half marathon became $25.   Our shirts aren't ready, instead we get a water bottle.  We sit down and wait for briefing and the carbo loading dinner.  The marathon runners are mostly Japanese, they must of had a special deal or something.  I have discovered that the number one tourist of Bali are Japanese.  Who knew?  We wait for about an hour and finally they brief us in English, bahasa and Japanese.  Our carbo loading dinner is sushi and cakes.   It looks more like snacks.  They only serve juice and soda for drinks. 

We decide to go and find dinner in the Bali connection.  We find a cute little tapas place, but it doesn't really serve tapas.  It had the biggest crowd.  So, we were convinced it would be awesome.  It was ok, I eat come chicken kabobs.  Indonesia food is ok.  I haven't found anything I can't live without.  They did have some dancers.  It was a fun evening.

Sunday morning is finally here.  We wake up at 4:45 to be ready for our race at 6:00.  The hotel feed us a breakfast of toast and coffee and drive us to the start.   It is a humid day.  This worries me, how am I going to run for 13 miles in this heat.  I take an extra bottle of water to sip on at the start.  There is supposed to be 4 water stops.   All of the events are loops, although there are only 4 water stops you should hit it twice making it a stop every two miles.  This seems like a good plan.  We don't start running until 6:20 and its a little hot.  But, I feel good and then it happens.  We aren't running in the beautiful Nusa Dua gardens, we are running on the highway.  They can't actually stop traffic.  So, they are cars all over the place.  There are only a couple hundred runners doing the half marathon.  So, we are running single file down the highway.  I finish my water bottle and am running to the next water stop.  I know there should be a water stop before the 5k turn around point.  I pass that point and no water.  OK, well there should be three more before I get to my turn around point.  I pass the 10k turn around point and nothing.  I ask the people working the race and they just keep pointing forward.  I am starting to get worried.  It is hot and I am running on the highway, which makes it worse because there is no shade.  I try to think about the symptoms for heat stroke and make a deal with myself that if I feel dizzy, I will drop out of the race.  About mile 5, I start feeling nauseated.  I can't tell if its dehydration or the smog that I am breathing in.  I keep pushing forward.   Finally at the turn around point, there is a water stop and a shower to run through.  I grab two waters and soak myself in the shower.  I am feeling good.  My legs feel strong.  It is hot but I don't feel too tired.  Then I pass it.  I am running over a bridge and I feel waves of nausea.  Under the bridge is a trash dump, my weak stomach can't think the smell and I honestly think I will get sick.  I try to just breathe in and out of my mouth.  Oh god, it is awful.    The rest of my run is spent counting songs and trying not the breathe in my nose.  I finally get back to the gardens and I realize that I can still make it in about 2 hours.  I finish the race strong and am cheered in by Mary Helen, who did awesome on her 5k. 

Now, its time for the awards.  They are supposed to award the top ten in all three races for both female and male runners.  But, they only have information for the top three.  All the top three in all the categories were Indonesians, which was awesome to see.  They try to do random give aways.  But, the MCs give up and just tell everyone to come to the stage for flowers and presents.   Mary Helen received a umbrella and an iron.  My present was a hair dryer.  Mary Helen and I played on the stage a little.  We made people take pictures of us on the awards podium.  Although, it was a hot and smelly run, it was great.  I will not run it next year, if it goes on the highway.  Its just too much smog. 

We finish Bali with relaxing at the pool and I did a rooftop massage!  Life is good!  I miss you all and would love to hear about your stories!