50 Shades of Indo

14 Aug

A Guest Contribution

Much like the guest author post I added following touring India with my sister, Shelagh, I have once again been lucky enough to have received a witty recount of the time spent in Indonesia from my best friend, Heather (AKA Clegger/The Diddler). Enjoy! 

50 Shades of Indo
Contributed by Heather Clegg

A recent adventure took me half way around the world to meet up with my besties and their better halves, and it was one hell of a ride. Between beaching, bronzing, boarding, and boating, amongst other things, I had an amazing trip with great friends and memories that will last me a lifetime. Kaita asked if I would write a guest post for her blog and I gladly accepted, hoping I’d be up for the challenge. I was honoured that I might be archived as part of Kaita’s e-journal but wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with her witty, humorous and charming writing style. Since I know how well she can recount the details of her travels, I mulled over how I would approach my post. Busy schedules and occasional drinks made it difficult to recap all the hilarious quotes so I decided to take a different spin on things. Enter: The Fifty Shades Trilogy. Although the books are never going to be up for any Pulitzer prizes, I was hooked, and the main character’s varied personas inspired my description of the people, places and things I experienced while on my trip to Indo. With that being said, here goes nothing….


– Locals: Indonesian’s are happy, hard working people. I mean, what is there not to be happy about when you live in heaven, even if you work long hours for mere dollars a day? With the exception of one crazy cab driver, I did not experience one negative person while on our travels; they are always smiling, willing to help, and are genuinely interested in learning about life outside of paradise. Kids would approach you on the beach, or even in the water, grinning from ear to ear anxious to practice their English and interact with anyone who wasn’t a native resident, no matter what part of the world they descended from.

– Me: From the moment I stepped off the plane…actually no, onto the plane…I knew I was a different ‘shade’ compared to everybody else, and the locals weren’t afraid to let me know it. Within minutes of leaving our first homestay to rock out to the tunes of an amazing local band, Crazy Horse, one Balinese man yelled out to me “Woaaaaaah, you so whiiiiiiite!”. All I could think was, ‘ugh, damn Canadian winters’. In the company of my four bronzed friends who were on their ‘year of summer’ tour, I had no chance. It was reaffirmed to me the very next day on the beach when another local asked, “Heyyyy! Why you so whiiiiiite?!”. Despite tireless efforts to bronze my pasty white skin, even Jonny was kind enough to remind me before I left to go home that I should be embarrassed that I was leaving with such a pathetic tan. Thanks Bronzesaurus. Needless to say, it is now more clear than ever that I was, and am, fifty shades of WHITE!

-Friends: I’d like to think I know a lot about Tals & Kaita, my two very best friends for the last 16 years (and counting) and quite a bit about the amazing men in their lives. However, when you have the pleasure of ‘third wheeling’ for 2+ weeks on a backpacking adventure, you gain new insight into their personalities and pick up on the finer details you might have otherwise missed. In this case, some of the things I already knew about these four were just completely reaffirmed and it also became clear to me that we all have a few alter-egos, or fifty shades. You have: Kaita, aka. CK, photographer extraordinaire, Martha; Tals, aka. ‘put the lime in the coconut Moansie’, child whisperer; Jonny, aka.  King of the porcelain thrown, Cecil, ‘night in shining (or stinking) underarmour’; JJ, aka. ‘Make friends with any local JeJe’, and of course our beloved, Gramps; Clegg, aka. The Midnight Diddler (read the books I am referring to and you might understand where these guys got their false inspiration) & the Fringe.


-Rinjani: Although I’m sure most of you have read, and cringed, at news that our mountain volcano trek became the birth place of Indo’s largest outdoor toilet, the trip had its perks as well. With backdrops ranging from tropical rainforests, to desert slopes, to volcano ridges, the scenery just kept getting better and better. Thankfully I got to soak up the view as we sat above the clouds watching yet another epic sunset before my sickness set in. Despite wondering how I’d ever get out of the crater we trekked our way into, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. My only regret is that my peeps never got to reach the summit, thanks to moi. Sorry again guys. L

-Kuta: We developed a love-hate relationship with the popular ‘CanKuta’ on Bali’s west coast. With impressive beaches, surf breaks and colourful sunsets this place sure had a lot to offer…well, the Aussie’s sure think so. Although multi-culturalism isn’t what first comes to mind after our visit there, we still had a ball partying with the best of them despite feeling like we experienced fifty shades of Oz vs Indo. Important lesson learned in this party hotspot: caution when dabbling with absinthe.

– Gilli’s: These islands might just be what God envisioned when he was creating paradise. The three small islands nestled between Lombok & Bali were exactly what you see when flipping through pictures of tropical bliss. Shades of blue and turquoise water you can’t even imagine, unbelievably blue skies that pollution seems to have never touched, white sandy beaches, not to mention mean fish tacos and beach parties. Would I visit again? No. I’d move there.


-Bintangs: Who woulda thought one small word could have so many meanings? We developed a serious crush on the local beer for more than one reason. Not only was it our local go-to brew, it became synonymous for anything beer related. One could be ‘bintanged’ (buzzed or hung), need a bintang or need to bintang. The latter usually came the day after, but I won’t get into gory details. All in all, this word had many meanings, most of which were awesome, all of which became part of our daily lingo in Indo!

-Surfing: I had tried it once before when I was sixteen travelling in South Africa and at the time I felt like I would never master this incredible sport. For whatever reason, something clicked for me in Indo on the waves. Whether it was Jonny’s quick tips, the nice long surfboards, or copying the locals teaching foreigners’ lessons, I rode my third wave into the beach and became even more obsessed thereafter. My only beef with surfing in Indo is the tide. Take note: beginners using longboards to learn to shred the gnar should exercise caution when catching waves as the water recedes. You better believe that once the wave runs out the tip of the board will take a nosedive, hit the bottom and could pop up making contact with less than pleasant places. Let’s just say that my bruise went through all the shades of the rainbow and no one could see it but me.

On that note, I will say that this trip was life-changing. I got to experience an unbelievable place with some of my favourite people doing particularly remarkable things. The icing on the cake was finding the third and final ‘Fifty Shades’ book in the airport on my way home! Sigh…


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