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Visa Running

Reading back on the last blog it’s evident that the majority of the blog was written by my hormones. You’ll be happy to know that I am back to my usual self with no more radical thoughts of how to fund my retirement. I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life though but that is simply ok.

It’s been a solid three weeks so if you’re in for the ride, let’s start. We needed to do our two monthly visa run and we chose to go to Kuala Lumpar because flights and accommodation were cheap. We packed up our temporary home in Canggu as the owners had new guests staying and packed our four day trip into one suitcase and stored the rest of our belongings.

Kuala Lumpar is a three hour flight from Bali which we thought would have been easy. We just forgot to include the hour to the airport, the waiting at the airport and then the hour to the hotel when we arrived in KL – safe to say it was a long day of travel. As we arrived in Kuala Lumpar we had a minimal wait in the customs line and once processed we went straight to the metered taxi line. Opting to go with someone that runs a metre in their taxi is always the better choice. Many lessons have been learned especially with the Balinese taxi drivers always trying to make an extra dollar. As we journeyed our way to the hotel I realised quickly that KL was a huge city and that tearing down the freeway at 110km per hour was a little different to our Bali speed and seatbelts were now necessary. Usually the girls have been having free range in the car so this was an unwelcomed request. We ended up booking a hotel which was about 25 minutes out of the city called Sunway Lagoon Resort. It was a recommendation from a friend as she had stayed there as a child and had really fond memories of staying there.

The Sunway complex is HUGE. Three hotels, a university, an international school, a water park, adventure park and a massive shopping centre all in the one place. We literally didn’t need to go anywhere else. We had four days to kill and two very excited girls. The weather was a little more steamy that Bali but nothing on Darwin so we adapted well. Malaysia gave us a bit of everything. Steamy days, wet season storms and some adventure time for the girls.

I highly recommend staying at the Sunway Lagoon Resort for families. The adventure park is located only a few steps away from the hotel lobby and is honestly next level. Two water parks, a wildlife park, theme park, extreme park – literally everything. The only way to do these parks is to pay the extra money and buy a cabana when you arrive (or if you’re super organised then pre book). It’s somewhere you can leave your belongings in a locked area and a place that you can sit and chill in between activities. We have done this twice at Waterbom park in Bali and now in KL and will never do it any other way. We spent a solid nine hour day at the park and were absolutely cooked by the end of it. Loads of stair runs and water slides and finally watching Lola becoming a bit more confident in the water.

The people of Kuala Lumpar are mostly Islamic so wearing my one piece bathing suit had me feeling completely underdressed. I think I spotted about four other Westerners at the park, one who had donned a bikini (brave woman). It was definitely a far stretch from the beaches of Bali where people wear barely anything. Women were generally covered from head to toe in their bathing suits and some women not choosing to swim due to having their entire faces covered with their hijab. Funny thing was I felt quite liberated in being able to show my body and as I sit here searching why Islamic women cover their whole face this is what Wikipedia tells me:

For Islamic women who choose to wear the hijab it allows them to retain their modesty, morals and freedom of choice. They choose to cover because they believe it is liberating and allows them to avoid harassment.

Each to their own I guess! The next few days were spent exploring the city, doing some shopping and of course taking Mila to see Barbie. For $10 the two of us chose the Luxe seating and enjoyed some popcorn. I have no idea how Australia charges almost three times that price. We were definitely the noticeable Westerners especially having two blonde haired, blue eyed girls. Some people had no shame in simply taking their photo which annoyed me more and more – although probably harmless I clearly follow too many Instagram accounts on child exploitation and the dark web and I wasn’t comfortable with them being photographed and videoed.

The four days went really fast and before we knew it we were taking the trip over the ocean again and back to Bali. When we landed it was a strange sense of feeling home. Straight into the hustle of the airport and back to our little Villa in Canggu where we managed to wrangle a deal directly with the owners for the next length of our stay.

We are back to our days of flow. Surfing at the beach, Indonesian lessons and explaining to our local friends where we were for four days we were missing. The past week had us taking a trip up to Ubud to see the monkeys and god damn those animals suck. We were having a great time until one showed his shiny fangs at us and Mila refused to continue to look at them in case they plucked her eyes out. So she spent the rest of the walk through the park looking down and avoiding monkeys. Money well spent.

We spent a night at the Bali Safari Park which was absolute magic. Waking up to the sound of lions roaring and a giraffe literally in our backyard. I highly recommend this experience for visiting the park, just pay the extra money and stay the night as it’s literally like you’re in Africa. You can have animal experiences super cheap – we all fed the giraffe for $20 and the meerkats for $12. Something that I looked for Mila to do at Australia Zoo and the experiences started from $100.

We now plan the next part of our stay and it’s looking like we will check out of Canggu and check in to Uluwatu or go back to Nusa Lembongan. These trips now have to be worked in amongst the millions of visitors that we catch up with. If that was a paid job then I’d be good as it’s essentially a full time gig. We still want to make it over to Lombok but overall we are loving the Canggu area and the community we are building. Noodles has slotted in with the local football team and plays his first game in Jakarta this coming weekend – the perks of playing in an international competition.

I remember a friend saying to me before we left “what will you do with all your time”. My time is spent differently these days and I do not take a second of it for granted. There was a reason we had to walk away from what we had and it was because we weren’t living, we were literally just surviving. Waking up each day and not knowing what is ahead is the absolute best feeling. I open up the villa door and look at the sky to determine whether it’s a good beach day or not. I don’t say these things to make my readers feel less worthy but at some point I need to acknowledge that this is what we worked hard towards for years and now it’s here and it’s the best feeling ever. Walking away from Darwin and all that we knew was of course scary and hard but we had this life manifested, we worked our butts off to get here and I am so grateful for what we have achieved. There are so many moments where we look at each other and think how the fuck is this our life? Today I just feel endlessly proud of us and wanted to acknowledge how awesome we really are.


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