Chapter 7:Heading Home

Sept 30
I wake up and look at my watch. 5:55 A. M. Thank you God for the wake up call. I start packing and hear my 6am wake up, a worker knocking on my door at yelling in at me. I take my packed bags and have a seat at the abandoned restaurant over looking the beach shining in the early morning light. Surfers bob up and down in the distance. My entire time sitting I only see one take a wave for a ride. At seven the workers come out and I order breakfast. A man selling tickets to the public boat comes by and says we can get on at 8am.

Emma on the boat crossing back to Bali.

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The boat anchors just off shore in front of Emma’s guesthouse. I see by the time I get there she is already on board. The boat makes a second stop on down the shore and fills with a mix of locals, cargo, and westerners heading back to Bali. The trip is significantly shorter and smoother than the opposite journey. We reach Sanur and ignoring the band of porters, ojek and taxi drivers, Emma and I head into town to find somewhere to eat breakfast. All of the restaurants, save for Dunkin Donuts, look too expensive so we hire a taxi to take us to Kuta, where Emma is staying her last night before flying to the Philippines in the early morning. I follow Emma, again walking barefoot but this time on hot asphalt, in search of cheap accommodation. We go down Poppies Gang I and II and the side streets, but nothing is cheap enough for her. Finally she decides she’s had enough and goes back to one that is 60,000 a night. We eat lunch at a wonderfully cheap warung – I actually eat two meals – and we part ways.
I take a taxi to the airport and make my way through security. At the ticket booth a sign says there is a 150,000 fee for all passengers, so I go out in search of an ATM. The ONLY ATM in the international terminal is currently “Not In Service,” so I walk to the domestic terminal in search of an ATM. A line of international passengers wait for their chance to get the 150,000 to pay the ridiculous fine.
The red haired, freckled Irish girl next to me tries to sleep in seemingly uncomfortable positions. We fly mostly in the clouds with nothing to see beneath the wings, but as the sun sets the large cumulous clouds provide a spectacular scene that, when mentioned to the girl she remarks coldly, “They’re clouds.” I think those were the last words spoken between us.

The bus between the old airport and the new in Kuala Lumpur flies around every corner like the driver has some sort of vendetta against the road, the bus or all of us passengers. He nearly strikes every curb and car that passes. I have ridden in crazy traffic with crazy drivers all around the world, but I was honestly nervous about arriving safely this time.

I try to sleep in a leather seat in some sort of open lounge where mostly airline crew sit and talk over tea and small food items. I’m tired of journaling and tend just to read more of Moby-Dick. Since my phone is out of commission I cannot even play Sudoku. Emma had paid me for the motorbike in Malaysian currency, Ringetts, so I had enough to have a good meal in the Food Garden. I had a surprisingly spicy dish for being named Thai Nasi Goreng USA, topped with a perfectly fried egg.

The Egypt air flight is full of students in identical black jackets, heading to Cairo for their first year of University. The girls have either white or black head coverings, but none of the boys where traditional hats. Only about five or six of us are actually destined for Mumbai. I nervously watch the seats and rows fill up, enviously eyeing an empty middle row. As soon as the flight attendants shut the outer door, I excuse myself from my seatmate to have the freedom of stretching out over three empty seats. I slept well for four and half hours and unceremoniously arrive in Mumbai, disembarking almost alone leaving a plane full of Malaysian students excitedly anxious to arrive in Cairo.

October 1
I get through security and customs surprised to remain unharassed by bribe hungry officials. I grab my backpack and head out in search of a rickshaw to take me the two minutes to my apartment. No one wants to go such a short distance for the right price because, “we wait two or three hours in that line. We won’t go for such small pay.” I eventually convince one to take me and I come, glad to reach my apartment; glad to being able to relax and not be in pain anymore. I find my apartment covered in a deep layer of dust, even though Kari, a friend staying with me while working as an actor in a Bollywood television show, left only four nights before. Ah, well…its good to be back. Tomorrow I will deal with my broken phone, my broken mobile wireless modem, my broken laptop charger, my distinct lack of business cards, and few friends to welcome me home.