<<  Around Bali, 18-Sep-2013  >>

Surfing, Rice, Temples, Monkeys and Irene

Bali vacation with Irene - Seminyak, Bukit, Ubud & around, Batur, Amed

Executive summary from Bali:

- 6.9.2013 – I went to Brawa Beach, surprisingly quiet and affluent part of Bali, stayed in surfers’ dorm hostel where on arrival Aussie surfer Sam was just starting to watch Point Break movie (truly entertaining cliché situation) and I surfed Cangu break (or was it Old Man’s?) at sunset

- 7.9.2013 – I almost drowned in Brawa Beach, when I stupidly paddled out into explosive ugly “monster” waves and one of them wiped me out and kept me rolling under the water for eternity, with no idea where is up and down. In reality it must have been maybe 15 seconds under water :-) but it felt like a minute (try and you will know what I mean) and for the first time I was seriously scared that I was done while surfing. After this near-death experience I moved to Seminyak and went to the airport to pick-up Irene. From this moment on my blog will be “slightly” less detailed :-)

- 8.9. – With Irene in Seminyak. No surfing

- 9.9. and 10.9. – We hired a car and went for a mini trip to Bukit Peninsula, southernmost part of Bali: Uluwatu surf beach, Uluwatu Monkey Temple (we managed to survive those gangster monkeys with no losses of human lives or property), Padang Padang, Bingin, Belangan. I must have mystical swell killing powers, because when I came to Uluwatu, where the swell usually forms giant waves, just like the last time I was here, again the swell was DEAD. Even a sucker as me could go surfing there on that day (as I did last time), but the board rental was expensive so I didn’t go. So no cool surfing to be seen and no surfing done

- 11.9., 12.9. and 13.9. – Ubud in central Bali: being super lazy, restaurants, restaurants and restaurants, Sacred Monkey Forest (again no loss of property or lives), Kecak dance performance (cak cak cak – cak cak cak- cak cak cak – cak cak – cak cak cak– cak cak cak – cak cak cak – cak CAK...). No surfing

- 14.9. – We hired a car and went around historic sights between Ubud and Batur volcano: Goa Gawah, Yeh Puluh, Goa Kawi, Tirtha Empul and slept in a village at Batur Lake inside caldera of Batur volcano. No surfing

- 15.9. – The largest temple in Bali Pura Besakih (The Mother Temple), including argue with local “temple guardians” mafia about having to pay for a guide, up to north coast of Bali to Amed. Nice relaxed spot. No surfing

- 16.9. – Day around Amed, snorkeling, trip around easternmost part of Bali and return to Ubud, end of roadtrip. No surfing

- 17.9. – Half-day in Ubud and final transfer to Kuta. No surfing

- 18.9. – SURFING! The last one. Beautiful waves in Kuta on this day. Last minute shopping for essentials before departure to Australia and Air Asia kidnapped us from the promised land of Indonesia back to Australia. Another chapter closed

And now few more words about Bali, in a less MS Powerpoint format:
Bali, Bali, Bali. It’s not my first time here, I was here 2 years ago. We have kind of mixed feelings relationship, me and Bali. While some spots of Bali are really beautiful and most charming, such as cliffs-lined beaches of Bukit Peninsula, lush greenery around Ubud, thousands of temples and so on, despite these abundant beauties of the island, I can never fully escape from knowing what it *between* all these places: extremely overpopulated areas, with horrible traffic, army of white scooter-riding surfers crouching from everywhere like cockroaches, non-stop screaming of “Massage? YES?”, “Transport?”, “Looky looky in my shop!” etc etc. Sure, overpopulation is one of the key aspects of Asia as such, and generally I don’t mind it, but somehow here in Bali it bothers me more than let’s say in India. It’s probably mostly because my idea of “tropical paradise” fits much more reality of islands which I had seen in Pacific Ocean or Caribbean than the Bali explosion. Total area of Bali is roughly 5 000 km2, total area of Slovakia is roughly 50 000 km2. Population of Slovakia and Bali are roughly the same. Got the picture now? 10 times smaller area, same population.
I’m sure that I will come to Bali many times again, after all this is the island of the waves, but it’s that kind of place that is too westernized to be a really exciting traveler destination (it’s decades apart from Timor or Flores) and too crazy-Asian to be a place where I would like to live. It’s there, somewhere between. Bali is a nice date that’s for sure, for not the love of my life.
It may not be a true tropical paradise for me, but anyway I had tremendously good time here with Irene and I really enjoyed Bali with her. Traveling with her simply rocks!

Personal warning: If anyone tries to persuade you that Bali is Hindu island (technically it is), don’t believe him! This Balinese Hinduism has absolutely nothing in common with the “proper” Indian one. I couldn’t recognize almost anything from the local religion. It’s basically very old school animism generously called “Hinduism”, but it’s all about good and bad spirits here, and I don’t mean alcohol.

About the girl.
Irene. For obvious reasons I’m not gonna share the details about me and her, what is between us is nobody’s business, but just few words. It took only few moments after her arrival to get the feeling that she had never left, as if we were just teleported from Byron Bay to Bali 2 months ago. By every hour with Irene there’s something more about her that I like. It’s fantastic to be with her again. We leave Bali with no plan what to do in Australia, how to get from Darwin to… ANYWHERE, no idea what do we do in Australia... But one thing is for sure, it will be a great adventure with Irene to make Australia happen.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak