Sunday, December 7, 2008


It's the time of the season for SURPRISES. :)

Spontaneously, and somewhat impulsively, I purchased a one-way ticket back to the states just two weeks ago. Alas, I'm writing from home right now in frigid and dry New Hampshire! I can barely believe how much traveling I've done since Wednesday when I left Bali. I left a beautiful and sunny Bali for a bitter cold New England, but weather isn't the only thing that's different around here. Here's a list of some changes that I've noticed right off the bat...
1) Speed limits! I can't believe how slow everyone drives around here. I've gotten so used to cruising through the back roads of Bali, weaving in and out of cars on the motorbike. There's not a speed limit sign to be found in Bali, so there's a kind of go at your own risk attitude. Not to say this is the safest way to drive, but the 50 mph regulations on Rt. 9 for example (open, paved road where you can see hundreds of yards ahead of you) feel a little extreme.

2) Driving in general. I've been driving on the left-hand side of the road for the past few months- it's been a little confusing to turn right with such ease!

3) Big, Big, and BIGGER! Everything's bigger in the states! And I mean, everything. From the over-sized SUVs to the super-sized croissants, it all feels a little unnecessary. I mean honestly, road conditions throughout most of the states are far, far better than anything you'll come across throughout the back roads in Bali. So why all the extra horsepower and size? Seems like we could get by with much smaller, more manageable vehicles.
And about the croissants: that initial observation was one I discovered at the airport in Washington D.C. In search of a snack to consume during my layover to Hartford, I found a bakery that served all sorts of delicious pastry items. But the sizes were so enormous! The croissants were nearly 3x the size of any I had seen at bakeries in Ubud.

4)Paper products. I got used to carrying around a pack of tissues wherever I would go in preparation of none available at restaurants and bathrooms. In the U.S., though, there seems to be no shortage of paper products everywhere I go! And there's a particular paper product for each different thing: paper towels for wiping counters, toilet paper (for the obvious), paper napkins for wiping your mouth after dinner...the list goes on! I wonder if one paper product could be used for all of these things?

So yeah, while I could go on and on about the changes from Bali to life here in New England, I've chosen to select just a few.

Overall, it's been really nice relaxing the past couple days at home, building fires to keep myself warm and thinking my dogs look so healthy and clean! The number of stray dogs in Bali has gotten pretty out of control, far outnumbering the amount of dogs as domesticated "pets." The dogs left abandoned on the streets are about as gangly (word?) as they get, and absolutely filthy. Don't suppose they can help it though, their diet consists of what they find in the trash cans and leftover food scraps. - The dog situation is attempting to improve, though, with organizations like Bali Dogs established to encourage people to adopt strays.

These three weeks in New England are going to fly by- I can tell already. I leave just after Christmas on December 29th. I'll be flying out of JFK airport in NYC to Chennai on Etihad Airlines. Don't know much about the airline, but if any of you who read this have flown this Middle Eastern airline carrier before, let me know! They offered a much cheaper ticket than any other airline I saw so I had to choose it...just hoping the economy cabin is pleasant enough for a 15 or so hour flight.

I'll try to put more pics up soon from Thanksgiving, and more of final travels through Bali.

Take it easy :)

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