BALIFORNIA: 5 Ways Bali & California are Soul Sisters

1.  WHAT IN THE HELL DOES EVERYONE DO FOR A LIVING.  Once settling in to Bali and noticing the sheer number of familiar faces you see on a daily basis, it begins to beg this question:  What in the %$#@ are all these people doing with free time all day?  You don’t really know what everyone is doing there – are they permanent expats or just on a temporary hiatus from working life.  Why are there so many people out during the day on any given day, and what do they do for a living?!  Obviously some people are just on vacation.  Also, with the flight from Australia being just a couple of hours long, it makes it very similar to a coast-to-coast flight in The States.

Traffic in Ubud, including a family on a scooter taking a wicker cabinet home during rush hour.

2.  Traffic is CRAZY.  There are no traffic lights, except for one or two that I saw while hurtling down the narrow street in a Taksi from Canggu to Seminyak.  Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but it is definitely not what you are used to seeing in other countries.  You can be sitting in a taksi in bumper to bumper traffic, and the scooters just pile around, skipping ahead of the cars like a pack of wild dogs.  Since we have the little monster with us, we decided to forego renting a scooter and just walk/taksi everywhere instead.  That’s not to say everyone makes that decision.  I routinely saw a family of 4 on one scooter, age ranging from 1 – 91.  #SquadGoals   It seems to be a common thing in Bali, even in the central Bali town of Ubud.  I mistakenly thought coming to Ubud would involve tranquility, maybe some peace with nature, smelling incense as you walked down the street to go get a fresh juice, but NOOOOOO.  What I smelled was petrol mixed with my own sweat, as we tried not to get mowed down.  Then I smelled Bintang, because mama needed a drank.

Best Fruit Bowl Ever at Macan Cafe

3. Good Food, Great Food, and MORE FABULOUS FOOD.

My inner fat kid woke up at the butt crack of dawn the first day we arrived in Bali.  No joke, the food is just out of this WORLD here.  The most amazing fruit salads, made of dragonfruit, watermelon, papaya, strawberries, and the list goes on and on.  There seems to be a lot of Aussie influence on the food scene especially in Canggu and Seminyak, however, you can find some seriously amazing Indo and Balinese restaurants.  Even the most amazing of these options comes at a mere fraction of the price you would pay anywhere in California, though.  and OMG THE POKE BOWLS.  Don’t even get me started.
4.  The Tree-Hugging, Granola Lifestyle Abounds.

At Nude Cafe in Canggu

Just like California, you will find loads and loads of yoga studios and vegan restaurants.  You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free restaurant, the only difference is that they aren’t pretentious about it.  Half the time I didn’t even realize the whole menu didn’t have meat on it!   There are several yoga studios, full yoga retreats, and even multipurpose restaurants/pilates/yoga facilities to use while here.   We even stayed at an alcohol-free resort while in Ubud, which promotes holistic lifestyle.  In all honesty I didn’t realize that when I booked it, but it was actually pretty enjoyable. (It helped that I fully stocked the mini-fridge with cans of Bintang upon arrival.)

5.  Bob Barker Would Have a Field Day with the Stray Pet Population.

One of my favorite Bali Dogs at Old Man’s in Canggu

You cannot miss or ignore the number of stray dogs in Bali.  They hang out in restaurants, often sticking to the same “territory” like some of the bums in Ocean Beach do.  You routinely see the same ones day after day, and it is a miracle they don’t all get hit by the scooters.  They befriend certain families, take naps in the temples and pagodas lining the beach, and guard the sea walls with the ferocity of a sea lion.  (not very fierce at all).  I can’t resist taking pictures of them all and have started an Instagram account called @balidogs.  Not quite sure what I will do with it, but would love to raise money to get the dogs spayed and neutered, as if to become the Bob Barker of Bali.  It has a certain ring to it!

BALI BALI

As part of the FunEmployment World Tour, my husband and I decided it would be a great opportunity to use this bit of time off to take a proper holiday.  When you’re “working for the man,” he tends to give you only a few weeks off at best, which usually gets consumed by family visits and short getaways.   Living in The States puts us so far from one of the coolest areas in the world:  Southeast Asia.   Bali is the vacation destination Heavyweight Champion of the World, with the heavy gold belt locked tightly in a case in Denpasar and everything.

Lots of people get Bali confused with Bora Bora – since most Americans probably don’t realize even where it is unless they hit maps.google.com, I’ll give you a quick geography lesson.

Bora Bora is the one with those cute little huts over the water.  It’s the one that was featured in the hit movie Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn and Kristen Bell.
Bali is the one in Indonesia, the older cooler sister that Hawaii aspires to be but will never quite make it.  Bali is a small island a few hours flight north of Australia, which makes it a top destination for the Aussies.  (Ladies, think:  good food, cheap drinks, beach, and hot accents!)  For us Americans, it’s quite a bit further of a flight, regardless of what coast you are on.  However, I must say it is SO WORTH IT.

Have you ever been to a beach with temple gates greeting you?  Have you drank out of a freshly-cut coconut for $1?  (and I’m not talking that Vita Coco water Madonna came up with and sells for like a billion dollars a cardboard carton)  Have you ever ate a fruit bowl in America with “seasonal fruits” that consisted of dragonfruit, watermelon, papaya, strawberries, mango, banana, and chia seeds the size of your fist?

Stay tuned to the blog for more on our trip to Bali.  We are spending the first week in Canggu (pronounced Chang-goo), a small surfer beach town that is the most up-and-coming area without getting all touristy.  It’s amazing!  Next week we will be going to Ubud for a few days, and the rest is still undecided.  Leave your ideas for us on the comments, and be sure to follow my instagram:   WorldWanderslut