Our boat was just slightly less seaworthy.
When we wake to leave Ubud, Tony does not feel well: he has an encroaching fever which, in the middle of the jungle in south Asia, is certainly worrisome. It could be anything: the food or the mosquitoes or the temperature. Perhaps the angered spirit of the departed King decided to start doling out Balinese curses willy nilly. But, he maintains, we should just brave on. Some time on the tiny, isolated Gili Meno would uplift his spirits!
The route, we thought, would be a pleasant boatride to the Gili islands, off the coast of Bali. Each of us pictured a gentle ferry: an enormous, weighty monstrosity, practically a small island, that would barely sway as it was rocked by the ocean. Boats so big the ocean was rocked by them.
This was not the kind of boat we got on.
Eat. Pray. Love. Or maybe just the first one.
It is 4 a.m. The Taipei Airport transfer lounge. We have been here for approximately 6 hours, and will remain here for another six. I have never been so awake in my life.
I don’t mean that in a oh-the-beauty-of-the-world sense, either–I want sleep, desperately. I feel it inside my bones. My hands quiver. My eyes are heavy. My breathe rattles. I need to be unconscious. But there are several factors impeding this.
It is about 16 degrees Celsius: a joyous retreat for travellers making their way from the sweltering Taiwanese summer to far-away lands, but a frozen hellscape for anyone attempting to sleep in an airport. A movie is playing in the adjacent part of the lounge – something starring Mark Wahlberg, and maybe it is in Italian. I can’t be sure – the video is not playing, just the audio, a series of haunting, sourceless grunts and explosions issuing from the very ether. Someone has opened a fire door, and there has been a constant beeping for three hours.
Oh, what a deceitful writer I am. You see, while I seemed to be plugging away in the word mines, gaily chipping at verbiage ore to polish and refine and bring to you, my doleful consumers, I was actually not here. I mined all these glorious gems of literary spew weeks ago! Really, I was in Indonesia and Taiwan for the past two weeks while the internet aided me with my gentle ruse. Though you thought me sweating profusely over my keyboard, furiously slamming my worn, calloused digits into the letters, I was actually drunk on a beach somewhere, which is really my natural state. Will you forgive me? I imagine you will when you cast your eyes on this here photographia.
Did you know Bali was mad pretty? Let’s talk about it.