It's a jungle out there in some of Bali's urbanized areas. Outside the city, it's really a jungle out there. That's the one I like. Sometimes I'm more successful at exploring off the beaten path than other times, but by land, air, or sea, absorbing Bali's natural, unspoiled side from a more remote perspective feels rather... primitive.
Having driven only an automatic car all my life, there was an underlying sense of panic before setting out on a backroads ATV adventure near Ubud. We were instructed on various gears-per-terrain but alas, no gauge. You just had to remember what gear you were in and shift accordingly. The warning signal went on; and I don't mean one on the ATV. My personal warning signal. I knew I would blow this gear thing. And... I did. The guide jumped off his ATV a few times to help me get into gear before traversing up several steep, dirt embankments. Eventually you don't even realize you're revving your ATV's engine to oblivion by perpetually keeping it in first when you're peering at rice field farmers at work and dodging flowering forest vines. Muddy boots and sore wrists were the trek's proudest rewards.
Zooming through the rainforest canopy provided fantastic overhead views. Looking for macaques at eye-level. Hearing the rush of the Siap River below. And ever-nervous that I'll be the first one whose weight will slowly halt the ride mid-zipline. Gratefully what speed I had was caught by the net at the end of each like a goldfish at Petco.
Ah, canyon tubing. How I love thee. This time through the Siap's class 2-4 rapids near the town of Payangan. Also known as the faster, bolder version of Over the River and Through the Woods. With contrasts from a peaceful drift with silent moments to gaze around at the lush surroundings to an adrenalin-pumping, hold-onto-your-aqua-socks rush through thundering, few-meter drops. Squinting upward at the Tarzan-like jungle vines dropping from the sky. Floating through the densely twisted arches of mangroves. Ducking under bamboo trunks that had fallen across the untouched river. And all along, the towering palms and ferns shading the way. It. Was. Un. Real.
Hoping for another jungle excursion soon. I've got the fever alright. Too bad my malaria pills can't cure it.
PS Just a note that due to the new website platform I'm using, I cannot respond directly to blog comments. But please know that I see and love each of your comments and appreciate you being along with me!
Jungle exploration by land...
...and by sea. Well, river.
I've got a fever. And the only remedy is more canyon tubing.