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#60 Bali N°1 – Waves, Traffic and a Scare

Well, we are actually back in Switzerland since Mid-September, but just because I am (really far) behind doesn’t mean I won’t complete the story. Let’s pick it up from where I left of: Indonesia.

Arriving on Bali was somewhat of a shock coming from Raja Ampat; it’s busy, really busy. I got to my hotel in Jimbaran only late at night and organized a motorbike next thing in the morning. My friend Mischael was flying in the same day from Singapore. We would spend the weekend driving around the southwest of the island, trying to catch some waves and having the odd beer. Oh, and occasionally we might even sneak in a cultural sight.

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Bali might not be the jewel you expected
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Fixing up Mischael’s board

On the first day, we made our way down to Padang Padang Beach. When conditions are right, this place can fire up some amazing waves. That wasn’t the case when we got there. Additionally, we couldn’t understand why this place was so popular with the beach-crowd; the beach is a hassle to get to, it’s small and it’s far from beautiful. All in all, not a good start to Bali. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my phone to take a picture and show you what I’m talking about. As it turned out, I left my phone in the small open storage compartment in the front of my scooter which was standing in the middle of a busy parking lot. After two rather frustrating hours in the water without any decent waves, I got out and realized that the device wasn’t in the backpack. With cold sweat on my forehead a rushed up to the parking lot expecting to be punished for my stupidity. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it from afar, still in the front of the motorbike waiting for me.

Happy for still being in the possession of my phone, we headed to Uluwatu Temple for a short visit. The waves rolling in at the bottom of the cliff and the Temple standing on top of it is a pretty sight. The immense tourist crowd and the predatory monkies were less of a highlight.

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Uluwatu Temple
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Uluwatu – the cliff and the wave

From there on, it got better. We drove up to Canggu, where I rented my board for the next two days. We also got some nice overhead high waves and a friendly crowd. After the session, which Mischael ended with a massive sumersault on a shore break, we treated ourselves to some milkshake, crepes with icecream and beers.

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Taking advantage of a rare moment out of traffic

Back in Jimbaran, we got a beach dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants that get raided by locals and tourists alike. Simple but good food for almost no money; right up my alley!

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Fish and rice in heart-shape, what else?

Next day? More and better surfing, nice food and also drinks in a fancy beach club. Bali was starting to grow on me…

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After-surf beer at Legian Beach
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Ku De Ta beach club

Early, very early on Mischael’s last morning we left the hotel and drove down to Balangan Beach. We paddled out and were sitting in the line-up shortly after sunrise. There is nothing like looking at the sun rising over the misty sea and waiting for the set to come in. And it came in; beautiful fast waves with barrelling sections close to the rock. After little more than an hour in the water we had to leave, it was time for Mischael to catch his flight back to Singapore.

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Balangan Beach

A little later I headed up to Canggu again for another surf session and to return my board. From there I headed northeast to Ubud. But more about that in the next post.

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