Back to Back from Bangkok to Bali (Week 4)

My family did not go on vacation often. It is expensive and scheduling off work is difficult. I’m very thankful to the Freeman Foundation for funding my weekend travels and experiences this summer. I’m also thankful to be working with an organization that has flexible hours on tasks that can be handled remotely.

Friday, 6/7/2019, two other Freeman Fellows and I flew to Bangkok, Thailand for the weekend. Immediately, we noticed a stark difference this city had from Metro Manila. The traffic was quiet. Almost eerily quiet. No one honks. I have no clue why they are seemingly so polite on the road, but it would be an interesting topic to look into. Like the Philippines, though, when it rained it poured. This mean occasionally wading through rat and cockroach infested waters – I’ll save you the imagery. We visited Khao San road for lunch and shopping. I will unapologetically confess that I bought a pair of knockoff leather-bound sandals. Some might call them Birks – I’ll be true to what they are: Brown. Non-brand. Leather-bound. Sandals. We spent a lot of our time either shopping or visiting temples. I had a mission: to find a pair of Supreme Crocs for a high school buddy of mine. But after what was surely a couple thousand stalls and stores, I still have not found them. I will not give up. The temples, on the other hand, were a major success! The art and history just cannot be captured by an iPhone camera or my clumsy prose. I tried to learn as much as I could from the description plaques and brochures for each attraction.

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Monday evening, we landed in Manila. Tuesday evening, we flew to Bali. As you might expect if you have read my third blog, I spent the less than 20 hours back on Katipunan Avenue by coding in R, going to Gold’s Gym, and eating at Kenny Rogers Roasters. We landed in Bali late at night and our amazing hotel manager stayed awake for us to check-in (truly, an angel). Indonesia has by far my favorite geography/landscape of any place that I have visited. The climate is cooler than the Philippines and the almost constant juxtaposition of mountains and cliffs against an ocean backdrop (or vice versa) is hard to not fall in love with. We dodged brawls in the monkey forests, visited temples, and climbed Mount Batur to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The five days we spent in Bali were fun but not enough. In the future, I’d like to go back and hike around the other islands in Indonesia for a few weeks. Until next time!

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