On my last night in Bali there was a knock at my door, my host family had brought me a beautifully wrapped gift, a thank you for staying with them. It was a gorgeous orange sarong, a lovely reminder of my time in Ubud. I was very touched.
I allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, the traffic wasn’t too bad so we made it there in 1.5 hours (on a bad day it can take 2). I had to wait about half an hour for the check-in counter to open then went through security. By then it was lunchtime and I wanted to eat something as I wasn’t sure they would feed me on the plane. Unfortunately I had forgotten to pack my own lunch to bring with me.
I found a café and ordered my last nasi goreng. As I was waiting for my food I was hit by a big waft of cigarette smoke. Then I realised some genius had built a smokers room right across from the café, and the smokers had the door open, to give them some fresh air no doubt. If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s cigarette smoke. I waited until the smokers room was empty then went and closed the door, very loudly to make my point. I tried to enjoy my meal. But the krupuk crackers were stale and under the harsh fluro lights I could see how rundown and dirty the café really was. I left in a hurry. Then I went to the bathroom – a shocking reminder that I was in a third world country – by contrast the loo on the plane seemed like luxury.
After a 3.5 hour flight I landed in Perth. It was 15 degrees and raining. But the welcoming hugs from my Uncle and Aunt were wonderful. After a catch up with them I went to bed, curled up under four big blankets, feeling tired but unable to sleep. It felt like my body was battling something and I hoped I hadn’t collected plane germs. Finally I drifted off, while trying to push back the reality of too much reality. Bali warmth felt distant already. But my bright orange sarong made me smile.