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Author: Maria Zehentner
Beitrag vom: 05.08.2018

Back on Bali!


During our time on Lombok, over 300 earthquakes hit the island relentlessly, including three magnitude 7 on the international Richter scale. The permanent earth movements of the past few weeks have not left us without a trace. I'm not talking about physical ailments. We were healthy and all bones remained intact. Mentally it looked less rosy. The fear of the next big bang kept us on alert. There were no warnings about when and where it could happen next. The knowledge that the north was wiped out to more than 80% and that relief measures had only a slow or no effect at all, put us in a kind of depression.
For us Central Europeans it is beyond the imagination what it means for the people here to live on a seething ring of fire.
With many new impressions and experiences that we would not like to miss despite the precarious situation, we returned to Bali, with which we were very familiar.

Having just arrived in the harbor, we headed straight for Nick's property, where we were again allowed to spread out on the wasteland behind the villas. Only a few meters separated us from this place, where Nick's dogs were already wagging us. What a hello! Lennox competed with the four-legged friends, while Nick didn`t make a big deal out of our arrival. The household usage was known and did not require any explanation. I grabbed shower gel and shampoo and was the first to block the bathroom. After sporadic “bucket showers” ​​in the past few weeks and going to the toilet outdoors, a warm water jet from above and a porcelain bowl with flushing water got a truly luxurious character. Naturally for many, indescribable for us!

We started the remaining time until our flights went back home comfortably. Occasionally we strolled to the beach, did some shopping in the nearby village, or brought our clothes to one of the many laundries. Bali seemed to be a paradise for overlanders with dirty laundry. Almost every house has a sign with laundry on it.
Everyone practices the topic “fresh clothing” differently when traveling. We always wear outerwear, I'm talking about trousers and a T-shirt, until it's literally “standing” with dirt. That easily extends to two weeks. Lennox is a chapter in itself. It would be easy to put it in new clothes two or three times a day, which of course doesn't work. It remains a mystery to me how quickly children get dirty again and again. Dirt and children fit together like lids and pots. Lennox's motto: "Children have to get dirty!" Where I agree with, but does it always have to end in a mud bath? There are days where I need a battle plan to get him halfway clean into bed. At home, you don't think twice and put your child in the bathtub in the evening and the clothes end up in the washing machine. But on the road? 

Is there a laundry nearby, wonderful! Anything that is not riveted and nail-proof is removed. So it quickly happens that we come with 15 kg and more in a laundry, much to the astonishment of the women who work there. The clothes are washed for little money and can be picked up a few days later. We are far away from sterile washing salons, rather they are dirty back yard garages with laundry mountains lying around, which end in washing drums that we would have discarded long ago. Normally they wash with cold water. Rarely does the laundry come back cleaner than it was given. That`s why our favorite pieces stay in the wardrobe because they are too good to put on.
Leander teases me a lot about why I dedicate so many lines to subjects like “laundry” because it is obviously uninteresting. I, on the other hand, consider it important and would like to point out that I cannot quickly switch on the washing machine while enjoying a relaxing bath.

But stop the housewife babble and back to the agenda.
Before our flight home we had an important appointment. You remember, we, or better Akela, had an asbestos problem that we ha

Leander had actually managed to find an asbestos expert in Australia during our stay in Kencana Beach on Sumbawa, the location of our personal super house. Without any persuasion, he was ready to fly from Perth, his hometown, to Bali, to examine our truck. With the taken samples he flew back to Australia to let them test in a laboratory. This allowed us to get an overview of where asbestos was installed. Apart from flight and accommodation, Ian didn't want any other compensation. We were speechless, because we were not used to this selfless willingness to help from western countries or western people.
The hour of truth was approaching, Ian had landed in Bali. Leander picked him up from the airport and dropped him off at the booked hotel, as it was already after midnight. The next morning it started. Ian didn't hesitate long, was immediately in medias res and took five or six suspicious samples. Leander kept an eye on him and curiously followed him at every turn. Time was a precious commodity and Ian had little of it. After the work was done, he neatly packed away his work utensils and took the transfer back to the airport. For us it was now a matter of keeping our fingers crossed. We should be smarter in a few days.

The wait for the result and for the flight home shortened an unexpected encounter. Coen, from landcruising adventure, sent us the contact of Adam and Emily and their two daughters. They were as keen to travel as we were and after a long trip, they treated themselves to a break in Bali. It didn't take many words, the passion to travel ran a thread through both of our lives.
During relaxing beach days Ian`s report came in. Full of anticipation, we rushed over the mail, which made us fall back in the armchairs with the corners of our mouth drooping. We had drawn full from all. Asbestos was found in almost every submitted sample.
Damn it .....! We did not expect such a bad result. But would have been atypical for us if everything had gone smoothly here. At least now we knew which parts we had to replace to please the Australian authorities. There was no solution yet. Time will tell! Put it to the universe. We hoped for that.
The toxin bothered our new roommates little. Lennox woke me up at night and complained of severe itching on the body. I staggered to his bed, drunk with sleep, and saw numerous bites in the back of the knee and armpit, which he had scratched bloodily. I excluded mosquitoes or ants, it looked different. I searched his bed but couldn't find anything. I cooled the itchy areas with a cream. But the peace didn't last long. I could hear him rolling back and forth in his bed and still scratching himself sore. I stomped on his bed again. This time with success. Before he could escape into a crack in the wood, I grabbed a small, brown beetle, barely larger than 2 mm. I unsuspectingly turned the culprit back and forth, but could not identify him. 

It was already getting light and Nick was probably already awake, maybe he had an idea. He adjusted his glasses, looked at the crawler that I was holding under his nose and answered mischievously: "It's a bedbug!" Bed bugs? Heard about it, but have no idea what they're doing. The more I asked Google, the more sick I got. The critters were almost resistant to everything. Chemical bombs were futile and not in our sense either! Only cold treatment from -18 degrees or heat radiation from + 48 degrees should help. It's so easy to say! How should we do this in Indonesia? Two days before our flight home? We put everything on one card and hoped for bitter starvation. The suckers only lived on blood. The truck was empty for the next four weeks and there was nothing to feed the beasts. Where there is no blood, there are no beetles!
Good thing we had no other problems. We had probably caught the unpleasant contemporaries in the last laundry. Hence my previous digression on the subject of laundry. Bed bugs, hardly to be found in Europe anymore, are the order of the day here in Indonesia.

With all the excitement it went faster than we wanted. In a 24 hour marathon that took us all the way across Asia, we jetted to our home continent. We were welcomed by a world that was very familiar to us and at the same time completely foreign. We were able to arrange the accomodation and a car through friends. The few days before Leander went to work, he spent on the cell phone. Relaxation or social gatherings with old friends were put in the back. Wildly he tried to organize the necessary spare parts for Akela, which had to be changed due to their asbestos content. Including new brake pads.

In the past few years we had learned painfully that getting new parts for the truck was always a challenge. Calls to various Mercedes spare parts stores or comfortable browsing through various Internet providers was not very successful in our case. There were hardly any matching pieces on the broad market. If there was still material to be got, then it was specially made, or cheap goods from China. I don't want to bother with it anymore, Leander can sing a song about it.
In addition to the spare parts, another chunk was waiting for us at home. After two years on the road, it was time to give our friends, relatives and acquaintances a look behind the scenes of our lives. We had planed a slide show. With great enthusiasm, we already rushed into the preparations in Indonesia, which we had completely underestimated.

We had no experience. What did we want to tell the audience? How could we pack in a manageable and attractive framework of two years without the first boredom leaving the hall after just a few minutes? We pushed the final end in front of us and didn't get baked to finish the presentation on Bali, so we chased ourselves. There was no going back. The location was booked and the guests were invited. It came how it had to come, which reminded me of earlier school days. Armed with enough Red Bull, we made the last night a day and, exhausted but satisfied, put the pencil aside at five in the morning. It was done.
We were overwhelmed by the rush of visitors and were doubly happy about dear friends, some even from Germany, who had taken a five-hour drive in one direction, just to indulge in our words and pictures. 

We won almost two hours of attention from the guests and earned praise, respect and recognition. The key message that we have not been on permanent holidays the last two years, but that it included a lot of work, effort, bureaucracy, workshops and despair, was received by most. With hoarse vocal cords we could now go to the fun part, where Sigi and Gitti, a retired and travel-loving couple from Bavaria asked us many questions.
Leander complained to Sigi, a passionate screwdriver, about our suffering from asbestos and that he has no glue so far who could do the necessary repairs on the truck in Bali satisfactorily. So it happened that Sigi threw into the room without any value, that he could already imagine flying with us to Bali to help out. We had thought of such a solution several times, but always rejected it because we didn't find anyone suitable. Sigi could be the right one. He was a specialist, had an idea of ​​old trucks, dared to do it, and he had time. We absolutely had to intensify this idea, but not today, because now the glasses were raised. 

It went on step by step. Leander drove to Munich while Lennox and I stayed in Salzburg. Like the year before, it never got boring. The postman brought deliveries every day. A new passport for Lennox, current school books, reading material for each of us, new Dometic windows for Akela, spare parts, a guitar. I felt sick to see the stack getting bigger and bigger. We had now reached 120 kg. How should we drag all that stuff to Bali? The even better question was, how could we tell the airline that we had so much excess baggage? Anyone who has already paid excess baggage on a scheduled flight knows what I am talking about. Our airline wanted to charge us € 800 for 30 kg that we were over. Insane, right? You can easily buy a new plane ticket for this amount of money, and that's how we ended up calculating. Sigi flew to Bali with us and we were able to kill two birds with one stone. 

Sigi meticulously prepared for the upcoming work at home as best he could. Of course he took his wife Gitti with him. The deal was perfect. We had a mechanic on board and since the two were economical with clothes and only traveled with one suitcase, we were able to put our 30 kg on their tickets. One day before departure they picked up the excess baggage, where we roughly planned the next few days and then we went to Bali.
The meeting point was the arrival hall of the airport, because we were in different machines.

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