Indonesia. The dream of many. The best vacation of armies of vacationer and backpackers. And my worst nightmare. This country doesn’t just hate me – it has it in for me. Everything under the sun, pretty much, is happening to me and me alone. In this country, if it can go bad, it goes bad.
How so, you ask? And I must be exaggerating, right?
Well… let’s see.
Java, Day 2: Swimming on a beautiful deserted beach, playing in the surf. The tide turns and if it wasn’t for Travis’ great swimming skills, I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.
Yogyakarta: I get all of the mosquito bites, Travis gets none.
Bali, Day 1: I wake up at 10 PM, really itchy. Half asleep, I don’t clue in right away. I grab my head lamp, inspect the bed – yes, bed bugs. I panic and start to cry (I was half asleep, felt violated, and last bed bug encounter wasn’t far behind). Again, Travis gets nothing. We spend the night sleeping on the floor of the balcony. It’s freezing on the cold, hard tiles but I don’t get more bites.
(Bed bugs are bigger than what most people think – this picture shows the adult size pretty well. This isn’t my picture though, I wouldn’t be caught dead with one alive on me just for a photo op. I also didn’t take pictures of the bites because I’d rather not remember them… but the photos on Google are no exaggeration.)
Bali, Day 2: I get dressed. I feel itchy, and figure that it’s all in my head. Turns out it wasn’t, I get more bed bug bites in broad daylight. More crying, more feeling violated, more frustration. I change clothes after Travis inspects all of them. My bites balloon up; they are swollen, itchy. I have 13 of them. I pack my bags, and notice that my purse and day pack are crawling in bed bugs. I kill many. The night before in a moment of clarity I took my backpack outside, but not those bags. Travis’ things are fine. We buy garbage bags and travel with our things wrapped-up.
Ubud: Belongings remain in garbage bags. I live in the same clothes for 3 days straight. We try cooking my bags in the sun to kill the bugs, but it never gets hot enough. Stupid raining season.
Ubud, departure day: Pack my belongings. My 2 bags are still crawling with bugs. I kill a big one. Leave some behind in old plastic bags. I have a cold; I sneeze and sniffle the whole trip. On the ferry to Lombok, I accidently hit my backpack and discover it’s infested with tiny ants or spiders. They move too fast for me to tell. I’m not excited when I have to put in on my back to move. But wait, there’s more! As we get to our ferry to Gili island, the boat owner turns crazy (like, cocaine crazy) and decides that he is not letting us on his boat unless we buy a return ticket. Even though we paid, he decides that we can’t get on his boat, leaving us stranded in the middle of pretty much nowhere. His plan: sees how we can get along after the 20 other foreigners are off on the boat and we’re left behind. I run to the public boat terminal and buy the last two tickets to the island, leaving psycho boat guy in the dust.
Gili: I get all of the bug bites, Travis gets none. It’s never sunny for too long, so we can’t try cooking my bags again. I mostly wear the same clothes every day.
Today: My cold was getting better, although now my throat hurts. We went diving and it went well. Just as I thought, “Hum, I could like this place” – boom! I get an allergic reaction to God knows what. I have a rash from my bum to just above my bra line. I think it’s soap that was used on the freshly-cleaned clothes. Or it could be the neoprene wet suit. Yet another antihistamine for me today. Oh. And a gecko pooped on our bed twice.
Bottom line: I’ve been bitten, rashed, invaded, conned, harassed and drenched by this country. I hate the constant itchiness and the perpetual fear of my bed. I can’t sleep well. I’m afraid of every bit, itch, movement, spot, fluff, speck of dust. I’m paranoid. This isn’t fun. I’m always asking “why me?” and I’m tired of being the only one being treated like a buffet. I’m tired of being here. Even though “here” is beautiful and every 5 seconds we’re on the beach I point out to Travis the perfectness of the shade of the water, I hate it here. I want to go far far away and never return. I need to vacation from this personal hell of mine. I want to go somewhere where I’m not afraid anymore. I want to go somewhere where I can enjoy myself. I want to burn all of my belongings and start new, bug-free.
I want to go home.
I want to know “why” – why me, why this, what the bigger picture is. There has to be a reason why this is happening to me… it can’t just be for nothing. Can it?
12 more days to go until Thailand.