Christmas & New Year Holiday 2012

by Tabitha Kidwell

Despite the fact that I teach at a Muslim school that doesn’t, for obvious reasons, have Christmas vacation, I took the weeks of Christmas and New Years off and headed to Seminyak, Bali. I started out by meeting up with my friends Jackie, Jon, Holly, Kate, and Ron. We stayed in an awesome little bungalow that had it’s own pool and lots of space to stretch out and feel at home.

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We could even decorate for Christmas!

We could even decorate for Christmas!

You could access the beach by either a 10 minute walk on the roads, or a 3 minute walk through a trash-strewn and muddy path along a construction site. We couldn’t waste 7 minutes of beach time (14 roundtrip!), so we took our chances with the path, at least in the daytime. We spent most of our time relaxing on the beach. Kate, Jackie, and I went on morning runs. Jon, Jackie, and Holly tried surfing. We ate at the same awesome restaurant everyday. It was the perfect start to vacation!

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We pulled ourselves away from the beach one day, to head to the southernmost point of Bali, where a tiny temple called Ulu Watu is perched on a cliff overlooking the South Sea. It was breathtakingly beautiful (if you could ignore the monkeys, that is. A guide with a slingshot offered his services, but we opted out, with the only loss being my bottle of water.)

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We also celebrated Christmas in Seminyak, by singing carols in our taxi…

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…and having an elegant Christmas Eve cocktail on the beach.

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The day after Christmas, Holly and Ron headed on their way, and the other 4 of us headed up to Ubud, the (touristy) center of Balinese culture, whose most famous resident of recent years was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. We were just there a couple of days, but it was long enough to eat lots of detoxifying food, visit the spa, and meet up with my friend Roxy from Peace Corps Madagascar, who was there for a month doing a yoga teacher training.

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Roxy was nice enough to bring a little bit of home with her: Christmas gifts from my mom and sister!

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After a couple of days in Ubud, Jon, Jackie, and I returned to the coast to meet up with our friend Jen and take the fast boat over to Gili Air, a speck of an island off of Lombok, Bali’s neighbor to the east. Our friends Liz, Adam, Josh, and Jess joined us there. I spent a week last year in Gili Trawangan, another nearby island, and the Gilis are some of my favorite places in Indonesia. No motorbikes are allowed, so they are super quiet. In fact, the roads are basically just sandy paths – by the third day there, I think we all had given up on shoes! There isn’t much to do except relax and snorkel or scuba dive. I went diving a few times, did yoga, went for runs and swims, and still had lots of time to nap, read, and watch the sun set. It was the perfect way to end 2012 and ring in 2013.

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