Bali Adventures Week 6 | Nadia La Russa

Bali Adventures Week 6 – Gangam Style, Elephants, and Dengue Fever

We’re back! This is the last Bali Adventures post, from week six.

As you may recall, the boys had to leave a week before us girls. We were sad to see them go, but super excited to embark on some girly adventures – namely, shopping and the spa.

We kicked off the week with a trip to Gold Island for some watersports.  We had never tried parasailing before, and it looked like fun.  The girls and I opted for a package that included parasailing, a jetski ride and a group tubing adventure.

The first thing we did was the parasailing. We jumped on a boat, and it drove us out to the middle of the sea, where we met up with another boat.  As if it was a completely normal thing to be hopping from one boat to another in the middle of the ocean, we soon found ourselves aboard a ship with three nice guys on it. I could tell for sure, but I think their full-time job is dancing on this vessel amidst strapping people on to the parachute. In any case, they appeared to be having a grand time, techno beats blasting.  They harnessed us in and up we went!

It was amazing! It was a clear day, and it’s sooooo peaceful up in the sky. I could have stayed there forever.

Later that evening, we hit the strip of shops near our house for the day, and stopped in at a place called “Frankenstein’s” for a snack. The girls were getting tired, so I asked for the check.  After settling the tab, I went back to the table, to find it empty.  I found the girls a short time later….

Our next adventure brought us to an elephant safari. The girls spent the morning hanging out with the 31 elephant residents of the sanctuary, feeding them, and bathing them.  It was a very long and informative morning, filled with laughs and smiles from everyone!

Just after lunch, we made our way back to the villa. I was unusually tired, so the girls hopped in the pool while I napped.  I woke up a short time later, feverish, drenched in sweat, with a blinding headache.  I also felt chilled, and scared. I couldn’t even imagine what was happening, but I sensed it wasn’t great.

The next morning, it was even worse.  I found myself unable to get my temperature down one moment, and the next moment I was piling blankets on me trying to stay warm.  And the headache – I can’t even describe how terrible it was.  As a previous migraine sufferer, I was trying to identify if this was, in fact, a migraine – but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was different about it.  The following day was a complete blur. I vaguely remember handing money to Camryn so her and Andria could get food.

I woke up some time on Tuesday evening feeling worse than before, and still feverish.  Groggily, I padded off to the bathroom to splash water on my face and brush my teeth.  It was at this time that I noticed my gums were bleeding.  I also came to terms with the fact that I needed a to see a doctor.

Now, initially, I was a bit frightened. After all, here I am in a foreign country, clearly very ill. I had absolutely no working knowledge of the medical system, but I felt a little short on options. I certainly wasn’t in any shape to board an airplane the following day.

I made my way to what was rated as the “Best Hospital In Bali” (thank you, Google reviews) and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a bright, clean, up to date hospital, complete with English-speaking nurses and physicians. Within the hour, I had received an initial diagnosis of Dengue fever, a common mosquito-transmitted virus that, although uncomfortable, had very little serious risks associated with it. I was given a very thorough examination, kept overnight for observation, heavily medicated, and made it back to the villa the following morning in time to pack up for our journey home.

We spent the last week getting re-settled into a nice home routine, recovering from jetlag and visiting with the friends and family we missed while we were away.

Overall, it was indeed a great adventure. Bali, we will be back 🙂

Bali Adventures - Week 1 | Nadia La Russa

Bali Adventures – Week One

What a whirlwind!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week, and it’s equally hard to believe that it’s only been a week.  I feel like we have done a ton of activities, and also done a ton of nothing(ishness).

The trip started out with a small kerfuffle. The girls and I hit the airport 44 minutes before the departure of our flight, fully expecting that we’d get our boarding passes and meander to the gate with our carry-on luggage.  Apparently, the cutoff for the flight was 45 minutes, and in the one minute that I was late, they had assumed we weren’t arriving at all and had issued our seats out to the standby passengers.

I have never in my life before encountered this level of ridiculousness, but we took it in stride. I asked the Air Canada rep to check us in for the rest of the trip, which she did.  I then rebooked us on the porter flight that – ironically – departed 20 minutes later (24 minutes before said Air Canada flight that I was “late” for), and off we went.  We landed at Billy Bishop, high-tailed it to Pearson, and boarded our 5:55pm flight to Munich without issue.

I’m conflicted between being angry at Air Canada for their cut off times, and being angry at myself for not showing up an hour before.

Since getting here, there are a few things I have learned. I am by no means an “expert” on Bali, and I find that I’m still learning more each day about how life works here.

The Traffic

The traffic here is unbelievable.  They drive on the left, and I have yet to see any traffic lights, stop signs, lane dividers or any sort of “this is where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing” traffic notifications. As such, the drivers here pretty much do whatever they want, and it appears that so long as you issue a friendly honk of your horn, you can drive wherever you please without anyone stopping you.

Then, there are scooters. Everywhere.  When the cars are stopped, the scooters boot in between the cars, beside the cars, up on the sidewalks, around pedestrians and anywhere they can fit. They just keep on going. Then, when the cars start up, the scooters are just driving in the same lane right beside them.

Amazingly, nobody dies.  I started the week out incredibly anxious and stressed, and somehow, over the course of 5 days, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that cars and scooters whip past me at mach speed on the sidewalk while I’m walking home with my groceries.

About the Groceries

Ok. So I’m a numbers girl. I budget things for a living. People pay me to do this, and I’m considered an “expert” at this having had literally tens of thousands of hours preparing budgets.

Somehow, I catastrophically failed at determining a reasonable grocery budget for this family trip.

At home, I have a pretty stable grocery expenditure line. It rarely varies, and I can usually feed the family for $5-7 per meal.  Depending on how often we have the boys, it can go up from month to month, but there has yet to be a month in the last 7 years where I have totally blown the food budget for this family out of the water.

So, before this trip, I found the location of the supermarket that I currently shop at. They have a comprehensive website, and I was able to ascertain that while some items here are much cheaper than at home (rice, fruits and vegetables), some items are much more expensive (eggs, milk, spices and specialty gluten-free items). Armed with this information I did up a general meal plan for the family, beefed it up by 20% (just in case) and came up with a food/grocery budget for this trip of $2500.

I was wrong. I was wrong by almost triple.  Yep, let that sink in, because it sure hasn’t for me.

Here we are on day 6, and I have, thus far, spent $1345.58 on food.  At this moment, we have enough food to feed us for approximately 2-ish days.  If I buy absolutely nothing else whatsoever, we will run out of breakfast options by Tuesday.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened, but here are a few things that have come up:

  • These children are eating an incomprehensible amount of food. Seriously, you have no idea.  We haven’t thrown any food out, there hasn’t been one meal where someone didn’t clean their plate, and approximately two hours after each meal there are five “hangry” people in my presence that are miserable to be around.  I didn’t believe this at first, so I used my parenting tactic of “if you are actually hungry, you can have a (insert usually undesirable food here)” *and they do*.
  • I failed to properly budget for the staple items – I purchased a kombucha scoby, some starter kombucha, some essential kitchen utensils (like, a cutting knife and a frying pan) spices, oils and gluten-free items which set me back about $300 or so.
  • I did not account for the caloric requirements of 5 growing humans who spend their days running around. This was a gross underestimation on my part.  But seriously, look at these smiles.


It’s hot here, but not that hot

I think I envisioned spending my days trying to wear as little as possible, and walking around using one of those battery operated clip on fans all the time.  It’s not quite like that. Honestly, I’ve found the weather really pleasant here.  It’s sunny a lot of the time, and the ocean is a wonderful and welcoming temperature.  The evenings cool off appropriately and we have had no issues sleeping at all.

24/7 with family is much different than I expected

This is both in a good ways and bad ways. I have experienced both extremes of “wow this is amazing and I love spending time with my family” and “get me on the next flight out of here.” But, I think that’s part of what we wanted out of this experience.  The highs and lows of family life still exist here.  What’s been great is that each day we learn and grow together.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of this adventure brings.

We miss you all back home! Send love and good vibes our way 🙂