It’s still a long way to the finish line…
After the drama of just getting out of the village. It was a relief to finally get on the bus to Bandung. That relief didn’t last long however. The ride between the village and the next town of Pangandaran should take no longer than 45 minutes, an hour tops. Two hours and ten minutes after we boarded the bus, we stopped in Pangandaran… I was already drenched in sweat, exhausted, with a sore bum and a need to pee that I knew wouldn’t be relieved any time soon.
It was a bus ride unlike any other. It took us 9 hours and 20 minutes to reach Bandung. A drive that has taken me anywhere between five and eight hours in the past, seemed like it was being played out in extreme slow motion.
We sweated, we slept and we listened to the people sitting behind us on the mini bus complain about the carton of meat we picked up in a little village somewhere on the mountain. We listened to them complain again when we were stuck in traffic in Bandung. We listened to them complain until finally the bus driver hailed them a taxi and they got off the bus.
When we arrived it was half past eight in the evening. We were wired, sore and exhausted, but we were there. Step one on our journey to Bali was complete. After a meal of sate, chatting with friends and a hot cup of tea we went to bed. Four of us on the floor of a friends room who was kind enough to accommodate us.
In the morning we took the bus to Jakarta. If you have never traveled with a longboard before (I certainly never had), you probably have no idea how truly long they are… and the logistical trouble they can cause when attempting to take transport of any kind. Eventually they figured out how to load the board on the bus, and we were on our way. Its as if something was trying to stop us from getting to Bali. First the volcano, second the long bus ride to Bandung and then third the mindless traffic jam that slowed us down on our way to Jakarta. As if this wasn’t enough, the bus driver thinking we had missed our stop at terminal one, was tempted to make us get off and catch a taxi… There was much confusion and many laps of Terminal one and two until the driver finally realized we were meant to go to Terminal Three.
Thankfully we made it just in time for check in, only to be delayed in transit. We sat around, me and the two boys… watching planes fly in and out, smoking a room that had floor to ceiling lettering shouting SMOKING KILLS and drinking over priced coffee and juice from a vending machine that seemed intent on giving us a sugar overdose.
But the plane came, we boarded. I worked on the flite and the boys chatted with other travellers and we drank hot milo and finally relaxed… We landed in stinking hot Bali around 6.30 local time.
We could breathe easy, we were here on time for the competition regardless of the obstacles. We met up with the rest of the gang who had arrived mere hours before and had travel horror stories of their own, 17 hour drives, traffic jam’s at 3am on mountain roads, running out of petrol, stop overs during the flight.
We sat together on the balconies of our rooms. We drank beer and we laughed. We sweated in the Bali night heat as we ate local Indonesian food from little wicker baskets until we were full, relaxed and happy.
With only 24 hours until the competition begins, nerves are beginning to mount, banners are being hung and thousands of cans of coca cola are being put on ice as we speak…
Barefoot in Bali.