A Travellerspoint blog

Island Walkabout......another day, another walkabout

As we draw our drapes the start of the day bodes well:

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.... sunny with a light overcast with temps in the 30C range, after a nice breakfast we are ready for a walk. Today we are setting off for the village below us (see pic above) which serves as the main harbour for the island and therefater the Mangrove Forest. After about 15 minutes we are on the main drag with it's assortment of small stores, bemos, dogs, cats dust but it all seems to work ....

Abandoning the road, we decide to walk on the promenade which is faced with tour shops, warungs (local food restos), cottages etc. catering to every budget from surfies on up. It is funny to see mini infinity pools set right against the promenade ....clearly set backs and the like do not exist here. In fact, it is like being in the Wild West....a land before regulations etc, set in. Lots of boats for tourists and the island fishers ......with much loading and unloading going on.....both tourists and provisions, as the island produces nothing > so everything comes from Bali.

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When the promenade ends we carry on, on the beach, which is actually reasonably clean and with nice chunks of coral >>>> perfect for an aquarium, albeit a tad heavy for our suitcases.

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Back on the road we pass various lodgings and a nice temple enroute to the tip of the island where the mangroves begin:

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...and eventually reach the entrance to the mangrove area, where we are assessed a 2x5m Rp entrance fee...lord knows for what, as the road is a mess and with garbage etc. on the sides ....not particularly uplifting. Offshore several hundred meters off the beach, many boats of various sizes are posted up, ostensibly snorkelling.....as well as a Water Playground where seemingly dozens of Chinese tourists are frolicking:

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It all looks underwhelming > not exactly our scene ...at the end of the road, the area looks better:

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with some lodgings right at the edge of the mangrove >>> btw beanbags have come full circle and are featured at amost every bar/ beach resort etc.:

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.....as well as the Nano Nano Warung where we have lunch > not bad:

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Feeling a bit tired (the walk towards the end was hot & tiresome) we elect to return home by bemo. Another negotiation, including the classical walk away strategy....15 minutes later we are back at our place:

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and more than ready for some pool time:

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The final decision of the day was to deal with supper ....opted for a pick-up/drop-off resto at Dream Beach....
a bit of a circus atmosphere with the young posing on the 6 inch edge of the infinity pool, wedding party photographing/selifeing and so on ......the place was only about 20% full so in season it must be a real show.

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,,,,even the odd surfer wannabe:

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Nice dinner overlooking the surf >>> kebabs were excellent:

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........and a bumpy bemo ride home.....asleep by 21:30 !!....just no staying power !!

Posted by marcofisher 06:14 Comments (2)

Island Walkabout.....and more

....the day breaks sunny and as we open our drapes we are greeted with a view of Mt. Agung;

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Having elected not to rent a scooter (roads or rather tracks are filled with bemos (mini pick-ups with cargo deck converted to 2 benches) and scooters, we march off towards the Yellow Bridge which linked Nusa Lembognan Nusa Ceningan.....until a week ago when a procession crossing the bridge took it down resulting in several deaths from the local village.

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Travelling in the slow lane has it's benefits as you get to see a fair bit more than when travelling at speed......some of the sights along route:

local football field....
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temple reconstruction.....
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local cinder block maker...
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how does one get 3 cows into 1 bemo...
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After about a1 hour trudge, we arrive at the Yellow non Bridge we are told it will take at least a year for reconstruction to be completed:
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where you are now forced to use an improvised ferry system:

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This also an area where seaweeed is farmed ......it contains carrageenans which are ultimately processed and used as a gelling or thickening agent for a vast range of consumer products...think toothpaste, fire fighting foam, diet coke.....first used by the Chinese around 600B.C. Sea farmers go out and harvest the seawood at low tide in an area stretching from the reef inwards:

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it was also time for a break >>> the sun is merciless and you can literally melt....so water intake is critical !!

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It was also time to purchase headgear.....so another opportunity to practise haggling, I gallantly fought it out with an elderly saleswoman eventually demanding "local" and not "Chinese" pricing, so inthe end I guess I only overpaid by 20/30%!! Hats to be modelled when we bring ourselves to photograph ourselves with them on.

Strengthened by our intake of sweet tea flavored with chunks of ginger we set of again deciding to complete the loop back to our lodgings. As we entered the next village there was tremendous commotion with the main (only) road blocked as procession set to the accompaniment of cymbals and drums......it was in fact the cremation procession for those who died in the collapse of the Yellow Bridge. It seemed that almost everyone in the surrounding area was there to view the proceedings:

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Seemingly everyone has a scooter and it is perfectly normal to see 3 sometimes 4 persons aboard from toddlers to ancients....as for legal age for driving I think this is rather flexible as we have seen what seem to be 10 year olds speeding by.

The palanquin in the photos below was carried by about 25 stout lads, with village preariously balanced on top. The palanquin would surge down the road turning this way and that way, the reversing direction and returning, stopping occassionaly to shake and shudder > at one point one of the elders almost fell off (to the intense amusement of the gathered crowd) and a younger person climbed on top and held onto him !! We were told that the back and forth surging as well as rope being held and pulled by those in the procession symbolizes the battle with the spirits to ensure that he successfully enters the nether world.

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In any event, we walked on and eventually saw the site where in a few hours the cremation would take place (later that afternoon when we to a bemo to our dinner spot we passed the site where now the fires were still smoldering).

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This is also an island overcome with construction...seemingly everyone is or wants to build villas, both local and foreigner alike.....hmmm an intriguing idea ...will probably chat a bit about this ???? ....and you guys thought Florida was far away.....

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Back at Bukit Taman time to shower/rest before leaving for the Sandy Bay Beach Club where we would loll on loungers waiting for dinner at 17:30 > sunset hour > pretty good deal pick up/drop off, loungers and towels use of pool , all for a few brewskies and dinner! Not our usual way but not a bad way to while away an afternoon.
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Location was quite spectacular with giant waves smashing the headlands on each side of the bay.
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Our owner Ketut had arranged this and as bonus we seated at the very edge of the infinity overlooking the crashing ....YESS!!!.

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Meal was good though not exceptional and we splurged on a 1/2 litre of wine....which is obscenely expensive in Bali.......then a fun ride back dropping of the other drop in guests at various hotels and finally home. The last couple (two young quite attractive women) who were being dropped off at a "ritzy" resort in response to the jealous comment of "you guys are lucky" retorted ," oh yes but it is our first wedding anniversary" the rest of the folks in the bemo were silent for a moment ...before the comedian broke everyone up with perfect timing, saying, "just kidding".

Good night....and sorry for the long post but it was a busy and eventful day.

Posted by marcofisher 01:04 Comments (1)

Island Time ....Nusa Lembognan

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A nice blue sky morning....we both went for the bananna pancakes...sorry no maple syrup ...here you get hot choclate syrup > quite tasty. More conversations with the other guests {some young guns from France and the Netherlands} ...as the elder statesman I could relate various old Bali stories to modest effect. In any event, today we are transferring to the island of Nusa Lembognan, with our pick-up early, the next stop is the beach to get the fastboat to Nusa Lembognan ....home for the next four nights. First a short prayer to the water gods ...best to be erring on the safe side as a boat blew up crossing the strait a few weeks ago:

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The "dock" is the beach our boat is the Dream Beach Express > 4 outboards, so something should work.

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...........so off with the shoes and everyone troops into the water and climbs aboard.....porters carry the luggage and various supplies.

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As soon as eveyone is more or less aboard we are of...safety lecture = zero, no clue where the lifejackets are or anything else. As we were told by others, these are fastboat "cowboys"....anchor up, 4 X 250 hp badass outboards rev up, as does the mega sound system blaring out U,S, and Indonesian hip hop at max volume, in fact the music is turned up loud enough to drown out the roar of the engines and the bass obviates the pounding of the boat on the waves.....SHOW TIME !! Actually the tunes work as the boat is seemingly in sync, pounding through some decent swells. All is good , no one vomits and 40minutes later we are past the standing waves in mid strait and glide into the sandy beach without incident !!!

Next we reverse the procedure and once on the beach, we are directed to a mini truck and follow a mini road to our digs......way cool ..... the "cottagess" are situated on a rise overlooking the harbor and Badubg strait, with the hulking mass of Mt. Agung (volcano) in the backround.

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Can't argue with our unit ...all wood cottage , outdoor bathroom > my brother-in-law Bob would love this feature:

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.... and a nice porch to take in the million dollar view .......after lunch, yes more Indonesian dishes ...yummy! we figure a walk is a good idea. Countryside here is a tad sparse and with lots of garbage on the sides of the road .....environmental conern is probably a decade and a generation away. End up at the Panorama Bar & Restaurant....nice view of the townsite , bay etc. and the hordes of scooters and mini trucks...as the Bar sits on the curve of the road affording said panorma .......ahh the sweet smell of petrol as you suck down a Bintang Radler!! On the way home, I get to practise my negotiation skills with an 8 year old beer merchant {not a typo} ....after beating him down by 20%....we march off with our prize of 4 ice cold Bintangs!! Then a swim in the infinity pool, some beers and dinner....and it is time for the writer to sit down and scribble the account of this rather good day. No TV ....no Hillary or Trump news.......we don't think anybody really cares in these parts.

Posted by marcofisher 05:37 Comments (2)

Day one ....Sanur

.......actually enjoyed a reasonable "night" of sleep....with breakfast poolside over by 8:00....the pool was tiny but with plenty of ambience ( the gardner inme...)

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........my ankle still hurts but we are off to: change money, buy a SIM card/minutes, find where our boat to Nusa Lembognan is taking of from and have a general look around the waterfront.

Beautiful morning, about 28C and after a bit we find a Hardy's (supermarket chain) where we get the SIM card and minutes for about USD, after much debate about which mney changer to use we find a good rate at a Circle C and exchange a 1000USD and get almost 13million rp in return.....YEAH !! we are now officially millionaires.

Now the fun starts as we need to find a place for lunch......we decide to follow the promenade which hugs the shoreline and has mix of local market stalls selling all the "stuff" ..."come madame see my shop...look, look ", we bravely shoulder on gawking at some of the upscale resorts:

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and finally settle on a mid range waterside resto > quite nice with a light onshore breeze and a very nice snapper/frites/salad for me and an Indonesian chicken curry for madame + 3 Bintangs (local beer) =13 USD.

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Re-energized we continue on the promenade dropping into one of the upscale waterside resorts > sumptious grounds a beautifull Balinese buildings > a garden view "villa" is USD 150 per day with breakfast and taxes all-in.....not cheap but sure looks like a good value proposition.....asked some foreigners what they thought and they were highly enthousiastic. Something to consider for our last days in Bali.

Back to the Rai House, incidentally USD 30 per night with breakfast and a nap/pill as ankle was starting to act up. Starting raining as we were about to leave for dinner....but no worries the owner ordered take-out ( fried noodles and fried rice) + a large Bintang and all was good. It is interesting staying at a homestay as it so much more personal > we talked for an hour about his business, expectations, future plans for him and his family...great stuff then off to bed !

Posted by marcofisher 17:37 Comments (0)

UP, UP and AWAY..................


View Bali and Guangzhou... on marcofisher's travel map.

Well it's time for another Asian adventure......

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and, after some 40 years it's seems to be about time to show Annie one of my favorite places from times past. After much searching, googling etc. we found the cheapest way to get to Bali was to fly with Southern China via China, namely Guanghzou. ...aka Canton.

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A long flight as we left vancouver at 13:00 arriving Guanghzou at 18:00......a decent albeit cramped flight > 2 full meals and all the wine you could drink. After 12 hours in the air it is nice to get out although we only have about 2 hours for the transfer.....we are loaded onto an articulated bus and driven for some 20 minutes beefore being herded into a massive hall for Customs and Immigration >>> no problems and once again we sit down waiting,this time for our connection to Bali. We are not stopping in China on the way out as the Canton Fair is in full swing, but we cannot resist getting our fix of Cantonese cuisine so we will catch them up on our return trip!!

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The flight leaves on schedule at 19:00 and after a relatively short flight of about 5 hours, arrives in Denpassar, Bali. Nice smooth flight....more legroom in the 737 versus the 777 on the first flight, and another round of rice and chicken and wine.....actually the food is pretty decent. Baggage claim, Immigration (a Visa is free if you stay 30 days or less) , Customs, ....and finally taxi (minor negotiation >>> too tired to have an epic struggle) and we are at our homestay >> The Rai House, in Sanur ....arriving just after 2AM .....finito bandito!!! The elapsed time door to door (including early ferry to Vancouver) was some 26 hours plus the 15 hour time change !!

Posted by marcofisher 08:36 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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