First off: Happy birthday to my big sister May aka maymay aka my twin aka vegasdining (#alwaysbeplugging)! You are a rockstar and I love you very very much. You really have influenced me so much throughout my life and I honestly don’t believe I would be who I am today had you not been born 2 years before me.
Wish we could see each other more often. One day, when we’re both in our 30s, we are going to live in the same city. Or state. Or hell, even the same country would be nice. MWAAAHHHHH!!!! Daisuki dayo (lol it’s weird to talk to you in Japanese).
Anne and I got going on our scooter trip around 7:45: Our plan was to get breakfast at Mana down the street, then to Pink Beach, about 70 kilometers away. Then after that we’d ride back and go to a cave near town that was recommended to me.
We rode about 5 minutes to Mana. It was a gorgeous hotel with a pool, open seating, and daily yoga.
I got avocado toast and a coconut milk latte.
It was my first avocado toast (on thick slices of sourdough, too!!) since I left NY 5 months ago… it was blissful, to say the least. And the latte was so nice and warm and coconut-y, I really loved it. It all cost me 80,000 (about $7), which is A LOT for breakfast, but I think it was worth it.
We got on our scooters and started our drive to the beach.
The first part was fine, just normal paved roads. Then we turned onto a small road, and rode right in the middle of rice patties for a kilometer or two. Although the roads were a bit bumpy and tricky, the patties were really lush and green and so beautiful.
Once we cut through the rice patties, we were back on big roads for a while.
There were a lot of horse-drawn carriages on the roads, and I wasn’t sure why. Maybe there’s a certain sect of muslims who don’t drive cars?
We also saw a man on a motorbike with a MASSIVE saw, sticking out on the side of the bike, completely exposed. It was crazy— he could easily injure anybody who came too close.
We took a left, and suddenly the roads got really bad. Holes everywhere, lose rocks and gravel, uneven paths. We thought this would only continue for a few kilometers, but it went on for 11. It took us about 40 minutes to reach the end of it, which was the beach.
We paid 50,000 IDR each to enter, which was a lot, but we weren’t going to turn back at this point.
We were hoping the beach was actually pink as advertised, but it wasn’t really pink at all. If you looked closely at the sand, there were some pink particles, but the sand itself was just off-white.
The beach itself was really beautiful though. Crazy clear water, few tourists, and perfectly blue skies.
We swam in the ocean, took a bunch of pictures, and laid out. It was so hot out, I was a bit concerned about getting sunburnt.
Lately, I’ve been feeling stressed about traveling solo for the rest of Indonesia. It’s really been consuming my mind for some reason. I’ve been traveling solo for so long now, but I think I’m just getting anxious about not being able to make friends for some reason because I’m going to Java and Sumatra, two places that I’m not so familiar with backpacker-wise.
But then, it dawned on me on the beach that I only have 3 more weeks of solo travel before it’s over. In June I’m meeting up with Amanda, a friend from NY, in Malaysia. Then we’re going to the Thai islands, where I’ll probably meet up with Adrian and then travel with him in another country for a bit before going back to Japan.
I’m going to try to savor these last few weeks because it’ll be over before I know it. I’m not going to stress about it. It’ll be fine.
I was hungry around noon, so we walked to find lunch. There were a few restaurants on one end of the beach, so we walked into one and ordered nasi campur, aka mixed rice, and a fresh coconut for me.
While we were waiting for food, a group of about 50 boys walked in. I think they were all Indonesian and on some sort of school holiday or something. They all got a buffet-style meal, and walked away with plates full of various veggies and meat, plus an entire fish for each of them.
There were a few Chinese tourists sitting in front of us, and they somehow managed to get five lobsters for lunch. They were just casually sitting there, ripping apart entire lobsters, chomping down on them. It was wild. I have no idea what kind of tour they had arranged that would prepare whole lobsters for them, but I was impressed. And a bit disgusted.
When we got our “mixed rice,” it was just some rice with the tiniest portion of cabbage. I couldn’t believe they actually sell this as a serious meal. It was one of the saddest lunches of my life. Anne couldn’t even eat hers because the cabbage was too spicy.
We walked up to some cliffs nearby. The views were really nice, and made for some nice photos as well. The Chinese people were there as well, taking dozens of photos of each other. Well, it was really just the guys taking photos of the girls. One girl did about 3 outfit changes in the 20 minutes that we were there.
We got back on our scooter and rode 5 minutes up the road to another area that we thought was a beach, but turned out to be more cliffs.
We decided to just look at them from afar because we wanted to head back to town before it got too dark to see the cave.
The way back was rough— with the endless rocky roads and constant catcalling, it seemed to take forever. My butt hurt so bad by the time we got to Bangkang Cave around 5:15.
The cave spelled really bad, probably because of the bats, and Anne was too scared to go inside because she doesn’t like bats. We decided to just skip the whole thing because they were charging 60,000 IDR, Anne was hungry, and I didn’t really care at that point.
We decided to just go for food instead. We rode to Nugget’s Corner. They had quite a few vegan options, so it was actually hard to choose what to get for once! I went with quinoa chickpea salad since it’s something I don’t get to eat often.
The food came, but there were no chickpeas. I started eating it anyway, assuming they just ran out of chickpeas or something. 10 minutes later, the waiter came over with a big bowl of chickpeas, apologizing for having forgotten to add them. I appreciated it, but thought it was funny that the chefs forgot one of the key ingredients of the dish.
Anne and I were both so tired at that point and were ready to just go back and chill for the rest of the night.