Hello, all! We’ve already been on this trip for about six days* without posting anything yet, which seems like a rather long time — so, I’m posting now! Just some fairly quick descriptions of stuff to give y’all an idea of what’s been going on. Photos will come later, since we haven’t uploaded any to our laptop yet.**
We’ve been having a lovely time on the whole so far! We started out based in Sanur (a quieter town in the more touristy part of Bali), and as of today are in Padang Bai (even quieter and remote, but not too far off the beaten track). More details:
- A good deal of our time at first was spent recuperating from the long hours of travel — that is, spending the majority of our waking hours at a nearby beach or our hotel’s awesome pool-tropical garden combo area to read/swim/etc.
- The beach we went to, aside from having the standard beachly niceties (sand, water, sunshine, what have you), also included heaps of dead coral — like grab a handful of sand anywhere and there’ll be at least a few inch-long or longer pieces of coral in your hand heaps. There was even one section of the beach where the “sand” itself actually appeared to be nothing but little balls of broken down coral. Weird, but cool. Also, the water was within bathtub temperature ranges. That sure doesn’t happen on the beaches of, say, Cape Cod!
- Less awesomely, though, this beach had a not insignificant number of hawkers trying to get you to buy their stuff — massages, fresh mangoes, hand fans, whatever. There was this one guy in particular who called himself Mario and probably asked us like 15 times in total whether we wanted to go on his friggin’ snorkeling or glass-bottomed boat tours. And more generally too, this country seems to have no shortage of very proactive merchants. “No, thank you” (tidak, terima kasih) has been our most commonly used Indonesian phrase by far.
- There are some pretty strange smells here. Not always bad, but often very foreign to my nose. Other foreign things here include loads of tiny family shops everywhere, loads of tiny Hindu temples wedged between the shops, enormous white statues of heavily muscled dudes and such in epic poses, and traffic that’s probably 60-40 motorbikes-cars and that feels like floating down a river where each vehicle is a different piece of driftwood. In my severely sleep-deprived state just after leaving Bali’s airport for our hotel, I was almost overwhelmed by just the sheer amount of foreign-ness passing by in the window. I’ve acclimated a fair bit more to it by now, though!
- Our main activity today was visiting a beach in Padang Bai called Bias Tugel, which was excellent. It did involve a very unanticipated 10 minutes hike up and down a pretty steep, rocky hill, but ah well. Of particular interest was the big natural blowhole that had formed in the volcanic rock. Every time the water came in, it sprayed out of the blowhole with surprising force. Really cool to watch. Also, the rocks had their own little tidal ecosystem with fish, crabs, snails, and something barnacle-like that attaches itself to rocks.
Anyway, that’s probably good for now (it’s definitely past my bedtime). Hope to post again soon!
* If you include the bizarrely long (28 hour?) period of travel time we ended up spending in fast, airborne metal tubes and in earthbound boxes while waiting to sit in aforementioned airborne metal tubes. Oof!
**Update: We are now working on photos, and have added one to this post! It is of one of the many colorful outrigger boats we have seen around Bali, and were able to look at up close when we were in Sanur. They have the faces of marlin fish on their bows, with a large spike jutting out and a distinctive face. The balance beam part of the outriggers rests on top of the boat when it is beached, with the supporting struts emerging from the side like insect legs. Many of these boats are bright, tropical seaming colors – torquioise, cerulean, scarlet, honey-yellow, and white. It’s been pretty cool to see them contrasting with the white sand and bright blue water!