This month marks Rob and Annie Cornforth’s first adventures in their trek away from Western civilization. The Ottawa couple packed up their bags after their wedding at the end of August, and set off for an eight-month trek around the world. Ottawa Life Magazine is tracing the couple’s steps every month and telling their stories. Annie tells of their first hours: Physically and emotionally drained after a 36-hour transit from Vancouver to Bali, our first tentative steps onto this foreign land left us Utterly in culture shock.
From such sources as “The Lonely Planet,” “Let’s Go Asia!” and our parents, we were on guard against con artists, disease, theft and mosquitoes. Walking out of the Denpasar Airport, we were bombarded by what appeared to be all these things at once.
Swarmed by dozens of taxi drivers, all of them demanding in Balinese “Where are you going?”, and not knowing ourselves, the first trickles of panic were setting in. Indonesians are not hampered by the need for “personal space.” In a country of 200 million, this makes perfect sense, but coming from Ottawa it felt like being in a cramped elevator, an elevator that featured grasping hands, blaring musak, in-your-face conversation and no sense of up or down. From our expressions, it was perfectly obvious that we had recently fallen off the turnip can. Never in our lives had we experienced such vulnerability.
In an effort to escape, we randomly chose the nearest town (Kuta) and handed our trust over to a taxi driver named Bali. The Indonesian style of driving is more offensive than defensive. From all directions, mopeds, buses, cars, bicyclists, carts and pedestrians battled for a place on the narrow road.
Join us on our continuing adventures next month.