Unexpected tears welled up as I hugged my daughter goodbye. The guys were yelling to me, “Get on the boat, On the boat!” and our goodbyes were cut short. I shouldered by backpack waded out into the waters and climbed on.
And with that I was off on the next section of this travel adventure. I’m soloing in now, and although this was the journey I’d imagined – solitude and the chance to meet other adventurers – now that I was really sitting on this boat, headed back to Bali and soon to board my plane for Bangkok, I felt surprisingly sad.
Ciel and I were constant companions for the last three and a half weeks, we’d barely argued and had enjoyed each other’s company even more than I’d anticipated. I knew that we might never again have a chance to spend so much time together, without the distractions of other family members and friends. We’d bonded as mother and daughter and as friends – played, laughed, worried about our mysterious skin conditions, practiced our Indonesian, swam, biked and partied.
Our stay on Gili T topped off our time together perfectly. Lucky girl – she gets a few more days in that idyllic paradise before flying back to California.
I held onto my seat in a cold sweat as the fast boat back to Bali jounced up and down on the giant waves. My head slammed against the headrest and I took slow deep breaths willing my stomach to calm. The rest of the passengers moaned and sighed. The journey back to the bigger island was quite a bit rougher than the passage out to Gili.
We all exited with relief once we reached the port of Pandangbai and jostled each other in the hot sun wondering where to go. Transport back to our hotels was included in the round trip ticket, but everyone was going to different places, how would they figure out who was going where?
I closely followed a man in a white cap who waved his hands and continually yelled, “Ocean Star! Ocean Star!” (the name of our boat line,) and soon was directed onto the very back seat of a crowded bus headed to Sanur. I squeezed into the seat, starting to sweat again as they piled a load of baggage directly at my feet.
I sighed with relief when I finally reached the hotel and said a prayer of thanks I’d had the foresight to book a room in a slightly upscaled place with a swimming pool. After being unceremoniously dumped off the bus with my small pile luggage I was directed in the direction of my hotel. I hiked about a quarter mile in the burning sun because that driver was in some sort of hurry and didn’t want to take the detour to the Prima Cottages. So much for transport directly to the hotel.
The pool, lounge chairs, and the cool, spacious room with my own bed and shower quickly transformed my mood into a happier one though. The pool restaurant wireless connection didn’t work (as usual) but that turned out to be a good thing. I ended up sitting in a bar restaurant, watching the full moon rise as I caught up on my emails and sipped Bintang, the local beer which I’ve come to truly enjoy. Soon a band started up, playing favorites from the ‘70s and requests and I watched European dressed, dressed in bling for Friday night, dance and party.
An ending and a beginning. New adventures and experiences await in the land of Siam. My taxi to the airport arrives in an hour