I spend my final afternoon in Kuta Beach, the main tourist drag of Kuta in southern Bali. Heavy clouds drift overhead, casting a gloomy look on the long stretch of beach, though the general vibe of the area remains alive.
I stroll along the dirty-white sand, passing a surfing school doing lessons with a few tourists who are learning to conquer the waves for the first time. A group of schoolchildren does some extracurricular activities, running towards me as soon as I signal to them my camera. Vendors sell bottles of Bintang beer, shirts and souvenirs. Somewhere in the distance, a sound system intones the bass-heavy tune of a pop song. Waiters of a nearby restaurant walk by, placing offerings on the sand to appease the gods.
I find an empty spot under a palm tree and rest there for a while. A man approaches me and offers me a bottle of Bintang. I return his smile and buy one. I listen to the crashing waves and wannabe surfers laughing as they get pummeled out of their surfboards.
My weeklong trip has taken me across Java and brought me here in Bali. I’m physically exhausted and while I’m not exactly broke, I’m pretty close. But it’s through this journey that I’ve come to learn more not only of Indonesia and myself but also of the innate goodness of humanity and a divine existence residing above human comprehension.
I feel a sense of calmness once more as I slide my fingers down the bottle, feeling its coldness. I recall that afternoon in Yogyakarta with Reni and remember the three wishes I wrote at the cross. I smile and take a couple of gulps from the bottle.
I then close my eyes and whisper, “Terima kasih.”