Sun kissed and totally zenned out, beach life most definitely suits me. Bali drinks you in with perfect temperatures and laxidazical “elastic time” and the next thing you know… poof… 2 months have gone by.
Arriving in Bali I was sure we were destined to become pipeline surfers, well maybe not quite, but I was determined to improve my surf skills dramatically from those I already possessed, which admittedly are nothing to write home about. Leave it to The Chels to put too much pressure on herself! We bought ourselves a couple secondhand boards and spent a week in Kuta Bali. This place is Australia’s version of Puerto Vallarta. We spent half our time between being hassled to buy tourist crap every few steps (‘Good’ay Mate! You want kites? Massage? Bingtang beer shirts?) and the other half fighting for our lives at the steep and turbulent beach break… it was time to move on and explore the island.
We head out to our next stop, by far my favorite place on Bali, the village Medewi. We rented an automatic motorbike for a month, loaded it right up with 2 surf boards, Wes’ Camera bag, and me on the back with our large backpack and joined the madness of Bali’s road warriors. I think we must have looked really interesting to the locals. I was sporting bright pink and bright blue yoga mats on each side of my bag like a jet pack. I felt extra cool crowned with my faux Louise Vuitton brain bucket to top off my travel attire.
Medewi was amazing! We stayed 3 weeks at a great homestay 2km from the village. It is set behind watermelon fields right in front of an empty black sand beach, paradise! The best surf here is a point break with a nice fat left hand wave that should have been the ideal place for us to progress considerably, and if we had it to ourselves I have no doubt we would have, but waiting for your chance on a wave covered with 40 some other people and not being ballsie enough to push into the inside in front of the locals really just had us hanging in the line-up most the time. It was really important for me to come to a place with all of this, to be okay with being a kook who really just likes to get out in the water. The pressure to progress was really hurting my stoke to even be out there. Being a mountain dweller I’ll only get so many chances each year to go out for a surf and my level of awesome with it really doesn’t matter all that much after all. I did however, catch one spectacular left peeling wave that made my trip and even though the next wave chewed me up and spit me out that one really good ride will keep me trying.
Biking around the island was a really sweet way to see it. I absolutely loved the freedom of going where we wanted when we wanted and being able to stop off at restaurants and shops along the way that don’t receive many tourists was a real treat on this western saturated island. They always had a chuckle about how sore I got from riding on the bumpy roads with my big heavy bag, probably too heavy for such a trip. It was amazing riding through coffee fields, tea plantations and endless rice terraces. The Lonely Planet guidebook says Bali redefines the color green and I think I’d have to agree.
Taking a break from the surf and the scooter we spent a few days in another quiet corner of Bali, the sprawling village of Amed. This area sports mind blowing coral gardens no more than 10 meter from the shore and we spent hours and hours snorkeling around the neighborhood of Finding Nemo. The schools of fish here we super abundant and colorful and barely seemed fazed by our presence. The coral was dense, beautiful and incredibly intricate and then the sea floor just lets go to a shelf that drops to the great unknown. It was something else and I know for sure an open water course is calling my name at some point.
Travel in Bali really is a holiday (especially after India!) It’s so easy and convenient for western foreigners, too much so in many places, and it’s impossible to not fall in love with the islands laid back nature. My surf skills are about the same as before I came to Bali, however, my tan is now awesome and my peace of mind speaks volumes for our time spent.
Until next time all….