I woke up in the morning curled into the fetal position in a cold sweat. Maybe the rabies was claiming me but hopefully I had nothing more then Bali Belly. I rolled my arm out of bed to grab my phone and check the time. My fingers grazed against the concrete floor. I rolled over and looked for my phone, it was no where to be seen. “Yeah, this seems about right,” I thought before collapsing back onto my pillow. I laid in my bed passing in and out of fitful asleep until the last possible moment before noon checkout. I packed my bags, still unable to find my phone and headed down to the main office.
I was greeted by a a long line of surfers winding out of the front doors and down onto the steps, everyone was going to for that late checkout, a few looking like they had taken a high interest loan from today’s joy to fuel their late night ventures. I plopped down next to a surfer who I had seen the morning before, doubled over in pain and making peace with his gods He seemed better now with at least a smile, but when we locked eyes shaking hands I could see he very much understood the pain I was currently going through.
We sat and chatted for awhile before I heard an American coming out of the lobby.
Picking up on the accent I turned around and said, “Hey man, where in the States are you from?
“Well you know Colorado?”
“Yeah of course, I live in Colorado!” I shouted back, always excited to find someone who shares the same home turf as me.
He followed up by saying “Well I’m from New Mexico right below there.”
“No shit! Albuquerque?!” I asked as I gestured enthusiastically towards my leg showing off the brand of a New Mexican, my Zia Tattoo.
“No shit, you’re form Albuquerque to?” He shouted as ran up and gave me a bro hug. “Where did you go to school?”
I told him a tiny little school no one has heard of called “SSLC.”
“Oh isn’t that the place where all the trouble kids go? What did you do?”
I laughed, “Yeah we were the freaks and the geeks, and I was one of the geeks.”
As we continued to trade info back and forth he called his girlfriend over so I could back up his stories of what a terrible place it was. We ragged away on our hometown laughing about the war zone, now the “Multicultural District” and the sketchy situations we had found in ourselves all over the city. The conversation turned to the local joints and of New Mexican food. My mouth began to salivate, even against the will of my stomach, at the thought of tortillas from Golden Pride, of Sadie’s, and of green chili. We excitedly tried to explain the flavor and look of a green chili to the few others listening in. They stared back not truly appreciating just how amazing our local delicacy is. Then we slowly talked of the Sandia mountains and the breathtaking sunsets and our conversation faded into silence.
“I’m never going back.” He told me. “Yeah.” I agreed “No way I could live there permanently again” and with that we went our separate ways,my body feeling stronger now at the thought of home.
I cruised slowly along the road looking for my phone knowing I would never find it. I had to accept it’s loss though I wasn’t to bothered. I knew my photos were all backed up and the phone itself was a hunk of junk, surprised it had lasted this long. But, crucially it had all of my maps on it, the only for sure way I knew how to get back to the Morotai Camp, where I had set off from all those days ago.
I studied a map on my computer intently before heading off. I knew that after the third main intersection, the largest I would have to cross, I should take a right down the next street. The problem was that often these streets were little more than alleys and could be passed by without even realizing it till an intersection later. I still wasn’t feeling well and so I slowly followed with the lazy river of traffic. Where they went I went and then suddenly I had no clue where I was.
I looked at my fuel and realized I was below empty. I rolled into one of the tiny ships that ha a hand pump outside and filled up just a liter worth of fuel,. AI took off down left streets and right streets before finally finding the airport nearly an hour later. I pulled off at a seven eleven and got directions from the two guys inside. I just go back the way I came for three lights take a right and then follow it to the roundabout. If I could reach the big roundabout I knew my way from there. So took off back down the highway pass two definitely lights and two maybe that was an actual light light before taking a right on the third big light. Not longer after that was the roundabout and then I rolled down the small alley housing Morotai Camp; I was three hours in to a 40 minute journey.
A short while later, after I had moved my bags off “The Beast” for the last time and settled into my Air Conditioned room, I felt better. I was tired and I was hungry but I no longer felt as if my stomach was in the midst of a roller derby match. I remembered the place that I got the avocado shake from all the way back in my first few days and figured it would be a good way to end the trip, getting one more of those delicious drinks. Pretty sure I knew the way I headed off into the streets and alleys under the rays of a setting sun.
I was lost within ten minutes. By the time I was supposed to have reached the restaurant I was in a district I had no recollection of. I tried to think of where I had gone wrong and correct myself so I could find some food and that that refreshing shake but each correction I made took me further and further away. After thirty minutes I pulled over at a gas station and asked for directions back to my hostel. It was only about two and half kilometers away. I studied the map, thanked them, and headed back to my bed. I had yet to have a single bite to eat today.
Thirty minutes later and I was alone on a dark street only the glowing green, red, and white sign of a convenience store further down the road lighting the way. I pulled over at the market and again asked how far I was from Morotai Camp. I was now well over four kilometers away. One of the guys knew the place thought and grabbed his coat, intent on guiding me through the streets. I shook my head and turned down his offer, I already felt like an idiot and I didn’t want to take him away from his work. Once again I headed off into the night wanting nothing more than a bed to fall asleep in.
I ran out of gas about forty minutes later. I pulled over at a darkened shop with a small pump outside and again filled just one small liter into my tank. The two Balinese running that shop spoke absolutely no English and at my questions and gestures they just told me to continue down the dark street. With directions from a shop keeper a few streets further I found a major roundabout, about three times the size of the one I was looking for. On the corner stood a security guard, having a smoke with a man half heartily spraying down the sidewalk. I asked to borrow a phone and see if I could find my hostel from here. I was now around nine kilometers away, and two hours into this small quest for food. Though I had managed to get further still, one of the major roads ran directly to my smaller and more familiar roundabout. About a three minute walk from Morotai Camp I grabbed myself a mouth watering kebab from local vendor. I devoured it without even sitting down, rode the scooter back down the alley and passed into a deep sleep the moment my head hit the pillow.
Distance Traveled Today 30.1 + (15.0???) Kilometers
Total Distance Traveled — 630.0 Kilometers