Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Beaches of Bali and Lombok

The beach at Gili Air
Sorry for the lack of updates or blog posts.  Honestly I'm not sure what to write.  It seems like bragging to say I spent this morning by a lovely pool after a breakfast of fresh juice and fruit and then had fresh seafood on the beach for lunch while watching fisherman bring in their catch.

Bali is lovely.  I'm not sure it is an untouched as I may have thought before.  There are plenty of tourists and hotels...  but the beach I just visited, Sanur, is smartly developed with a brick walkway all the way up the coast for perfect morning walks and enough, but not too many, bars along the way to get fresh juice or a Bintang depending the time of day.

Last night I checked out the nightlife scene at the fancy beach area called Seminyak, and got to see the Australian revelry that is famous here.  I am much more low key than all that, but I didn't want to miss seeing what else happens in Bali.

Before that I was in Lombok, another island to the East.  My hotel there was right on the beach and I could lounge on the pillow covered deck area listening to the crashing waves.  That place was also just down the
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beach from a lovely peaceful Hindu temple set on a cliff surrounded on three sides by water and waves.  It was the first place I got to watch full on spiritual action and a place where people wore special dress and left many offerings to the deities.  It was a lovely place to watch darkness set in. 

The main town in Lombok is called Senggigi.  (Just say it.  Its a lovely fun name!)  Senggigi is a bit more of a rundown Indonesian tourist town then the Island I had come from, but my hotel was a worthwhile stop as was Happy Bar, the local hot spot, where my tour friends danced away the last night to strangely covered classic rock tunes.  (Why oh why does everyone love Bon Jovi so much?  That is American music to them. )

The islands I was at before are called the Gilis and truly are paradise.  Three swaths of white coral sand and bright blue water, with a few green trees and bungalows sprinkled on.  There are no cars so people get around by horsecart and bicycle and that leads to a calm and silence that is impossible to find in the rest of traffic-packed motorbike-filled Indonesia.  We also spent a lot of time at the perfect expat locale, Skallywags.  (For those of you that travel off the beaten path a bit, you know the place.  Every little detail has been thought of and the crowd is beautiful and one just feels more fancy and beautiful being there with them.)

In the Gilis I finally got to snorkel with the highlight of that being swimming with a 3 foot seaturtle.  He seemed used to people like me and just swam along letting me swim beside him and touch him... but it was natural on a large reef, not a staged thing.  More like two creatures in the wild...  kind of magical and like something my mom used to describe when she swam with manta rays near my grandmothers house in the Virgin Islands many years ago. (I've always been jealous and trying to recreate the experience.)

Anyway as the trip winds up I have seen plenty of rolling vibrant green rice paddies in various stages of growth and been on many rural village tours where I tasted plenty of fresh fruits right off the trees.  (Indonesia seems to grow EVERYTHING.) I've had fun meeting folks from around the world and learning more about Australia than I ever expected since Indonesia is practically in their backyard.

Now I have one more day to shop in Ubud, the Eat, Pray, Love town before heading back to a weekend with my friends in Jakarta.  Then bye bye Indonesia...

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