10

510 steps:  Warung Sulawesi.  

Another lunch date with the gang, but this time at a new location, Warung Sulawesi. This warung is hidden away down a gang off Jl. Petitenget, but it was by no means quiet, with a steady stream of people lining up for a seat.  

Sanita had told me that this warung was popular for its Sulawesi cuisine, which wasn’t so common in the warungs we had visited.  She described the Sulawesi flavour as being particularly strong, perhaps due to excessive use of oil and MSG.  The counter was packed with a great selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, with separate cabinets for gorengan and desserts.  Despite asking for itty-bitties of each, my plate was piled high with each of my selections.  I chose a well-rounded meal of red rice, poached fish, shrimp, greens and okra with tomato-ey/chilli sauces, and tempeh in an extra sweet “manis” sauce.  All yummy (thanks, MSG!), with the anticipated heady flavours.

Despite Sanita’s criticism of the MSG laden lunch fare, she held Warung Sulawesi’s desserts in high regard, in particular, the Palu Butung.  Even though I have been in Indonesia for months now, I am still taken back by the vivid colours of some foods, having eaten “clean” for so many years - unnatural colouring is as far from “clean” food as you can find.  However, on second glance, I saw a delicately thin egg pancake hiding banana sweetened with palm sugar, all swimming in a rose hued soup of coconut milk and delicious sago.  Obviously, I dug right in.

As Sanita hinted at the start of the meal, the dessert was definitely the highlight.  With a cabinet full of sweets yet to be sampled, I will probably skip lunch next time I visit and just go straight to dessert.  

10

1405 steps:  Petitenget Beach.

On a morning such as this one, when, for whatever reason, I am still awake at dawn, I often wind up post-sunrise at Petitenget Beach.

As people from Bali know, Petitenget Beach is special.  Thankfully, my local beach lacks the tourists, hawkers, umbrellas, massages, pedicures, braids, etc, that Kuta, Legian and Double Six beaches are known for.  It has bigger, rougher waves and coarser, darker sand.  But even though all of the aforementioned characteristics add up to making Petitenget beach one of more appealing beaches in South Bali, the real reason Petitenget is so special, is because it is a sacred beach.

On entering the beach, you pass a large temple.  Pecalang guard the entrance with a tollbooth, dressed in their (surprisingly) authoritative uniforms of checkered skirts and leather vests.  While large fences and tall, dense trees hide the interior of the temple from street view, its tall gates and extensive stairways offer a glimpse of its size and beauty to those of us who aren’t able to enter.  Even though I haven’t been inside, I regard this temple as especially sacred, as do Balinese Hindus, because it is so close to the water.

Upon passing the temple entrance, and greeting the Pecalang, I wander through the large car park on the way to the beach.  It is normally packed full of motorscooters, as it services the beach, the temple and the police station.  However, this early in the morning, it is calm as it lacks the usual traffic.  Street food vendors finishing their night shifts congregate on their bikes near the beach entrance.  A footbridge crosses a stream of often dirty water that eventually meets the beach, and at the end of the footbridge, I am greeted with a sign; a polite reminder to all visitors that Petitenget beach is sacred, and that swimming and sunbathing in this area is forbidden.

A small but varied collection of creatures can be found on the sands of Petitenget beach just after sunrise. Contemplative types seeking clarity (probably after a few too many) crouch on the sand staring out at the waves.  Sporty types that get up first thing  for a jog on the sand (eternally youthful locals run comfortably barefoot, while the leathery old bules run faster, but less affectively, in their expensive sneakers).  Bali dogs gather in groups to play and fight and hump.  Hindu couples offer flowers, coins and candy to the gods of their sacred waters.  I can fall into any number of these “types”, depending on the night I’ve just enjoyed or endured.

The magical thing about living in Bali is that, so far in my experience, life is always better after a visit to the beach.  No trouble is ever so large that it can’t be washed away by the waves, and no party is ever so good that it can’t be made better by the sun, the sand and the salt water.  Living just 1405 steps away from sacred waters is definitely something that I will miss when I arrive back home. 

10

It may seem that I have been a lazy blogger this past week, and perhaps that is true. But, for good reason.  This is my last week in Indonesia, and, while writing daily has been an important goal for me while I have been here, I’ve really made an effort to just go with the flow in my last days here, and not get caught up with schedule and routine. 

So, I’m a little late in updating you about my last weekend in Jakarta, about the whirlwind visit of an old friend from home, and about the incredibly beautiful journeys I have been invited to share with some wonderful new friends, but thats ok - you’ll just have some extra reading to do at your desk on Monday morning.

For now, here is an “aneka” of sights that I thought were beautiful enough to want to capture forever.

Watch on walkmetothewater.tumblr.com

Bottlesmoker. Mighty impressed by these guys when I saw then on 11-02-11. This isn’t that time.

10

I’ve enjoyed a really wonderful time in Bali this past week.  I’ve been lucky enough to make some really great friends here who I got to spend lots of time with, which made for lots of laughs, late nights and a little bit of drama.  

Some highlights:

- Riding all around the south of Bali on the back of Sanita’s bike, including a fun convoy through Canggu with the girls, and a couple of late night rides through an eerily deserted Denpasar for some yummy Burbur Ayam.

- Waking up to our house temple dressed up all pretty and colourful like an easter egg for Kajeng Kliwon, with hundreds of beautifully crafted offerings scattered all over my porch.

- HEAPS of shows.  I’ve probably seen at least 15 bands this week.  Not all to my taste, but I really appreciate watching musicians in Indonesia.  Most bands I’ve seen here are really dedicated, skilful players and put a lot of effort into entertaining the crowd.  Standouts include Wukir Suryadi play his handmade bamboo instrument at the World Music Festival in Sanur, Navicula winning the comp at Hard Rock, and The Hydrant at Divine Wonderland (I did enjoy their music but boy is their singer handsome.  I think I have a thing for 50s styled Indo boys, especially when their arms have muscles).  It was also pretty fun to finally see the famous SID play.

- Visiting an amazing new Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Kerobokan and watching men work on the stone carvings.  Unbelievably detailed, beautiful work. 

- Eating and drinking at a bunch of really nice cafes and warungs, including amazing ginger tea and carrot cake at Cafe Vienna with San and Alice, stuffing myself stupid on Padang at Warung Kolega with San and Kas (I can’t believe I hadn’t been here before, shame on me!), late night lallapan with Wid and solitary post-sunrise breakfasts following numerous all- nighters at a beachside warung at Batu Belig.

- Talking endlessly about good music with Kas and Wid.

- Trekking up and down a massive cliff with Wid to discover his secret hidden beach, which is probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.

So much fun to be had, but so little time.  I am really having trouble with the thought of going home right now…

Introduction.

There are loads of things I love about living in Bali - the water, the people, the food, the colour, the smells, the ancient ritual that still exists in the daily life of the Balinese. But the thing I love most is living locally. Everything that is necessary to exist is within walking distance from home. Living within and actively participating in a community is an aspect of life that has been lost back home, but is still alive and well in Bali. And I believe, we are happier and healthier because of it.

In Bali, every day is a pleasure, because it is filled with small adventures all around my neighbourhood in Petitenget, Bali. Daily routine is no longer about solitude. Here, my daily routine involves lots of different people and places that all add up to making my life better. And, best of all, I can reach everything I need to be healthy and happy by foot.

So, starting today, I will be sharing my experience of local island life with you. I will feature a place I go to regularly, and will count the steps it takes for me to get there from my front gate.  

Enjoy.

7

My home off Petitenget, Part 1.

I live in a bungalow-like Balinese style studio.  It is ornate and extravagant on the outside, and quaint and kitsch on the inside.  

It overlooks the beautiful temple of the complex, which has a little moat full of koi, right on my doorstep!

9

Iron Maiden, Bali, 20-02-2011

Awesome night!  Began with a wild goose (read: ticket) chase across Southern Bali, before a drinking (and eating session) with a very good group at the SE Asian Troopers (fan club) villa.

Iron Maiden played at Bali’s GWK cultural park…think of stonehenge, bali style.  Pop the incredibly propped stage in the middle of some mammoth stone slabs, and fill the place with crazy fans from all over Indonesia and beyond. 

Fun times!

So, I’m back in Melbourne.  I was sad to leave Bali, and miss all of my new friends and my special Bali family like crazy.  But, I’m happy to be home, living with my family and working properly on my goal of relocating to Indonesia for the long term.  

I’ve become really fond of blogging, so I think I’ll keep it up.  I’m still in search of paradise, but this time, I’ll be sharing paradise closer to my original home.  I’ll be posting much of the same as I did in Indonesia - photos and stories, showcasing my good friends, favourite hangouts and some special photo excursions as well.  

Indonesian friends and family, here’s how I am at home.

x

Watch on walkmetothewater.tumblr.com

Remember how I said that I had a big crush on Old Paper from Jakarta?  Well, this is why. 

10

Anybody that knows me well, knows that of all the things that exist in the whole world, colour makes me happiest.  Yeah I mostly wear black and yeah my apartment is white, but unless I am surrounded by colourful things (my makeup bags are a prime example), life doesn’t feel right.  

So, this morning, when I opened my door and looked outside to take in some fresh air and check the sky for sun and clouds as I do every morning, I almost cried with delight at the sight of “my” temple.  I am still unsure of the occasion, but the whole temple was in the midst of being dressed up like a giant, gorgeous easter egg.  

The excitement I felt was just the same as I felt when I was little, waking up to baskets of colourful eggs on Easter morning.  I realised at this moment, that the best part of Easter was never about the chocolate for me (even though I always gobbled it all up within 4 minutes), but about the amazing arrangement of vivid, metallic colour that I only got to see once a year.  Perhaps the spark to my senses and the feelings of pure excitement and joy that colour brought me at Easter time is what ignited my love for colour photography.    

However much I would like to read into it, I love colour, and need it to thrive.  So, of all the mornings in Bali so far, this one was easily my favourite.

Ed. note:  Today is Kajeng Kliwon, an event on the Balinese hindu calendar that occurs every 15 days.  It is believed that bad things happen on this day (based on superstition, akin to Friday 13th for us westies), so temples are decorated for prayers and offerings to ward off evil spirits and balance negativity with positivity.  Thanks Wid ;)

Bali, Part 3 (life.)

So, back in Bali and settling in well! 

The area of Bali that I live in is a great mixture of locals, long term bule villa dwellers, and westies sectioned off in massive, swanky resorts.  This melting pot results in the following advantages:

- there are plenty of cheap, good warungs within a 5 minute walk in any direction

- there are some great bars and hotels for breakfasts and cocktails within the same walking distance, including my favourites Sea Circus and Art Cafe

- the local beach isn’t ever really crowded with tourists (and therefore, lacking the  associated hawkers), as they prefer to sit in the pools of their resort overlooking the beach instead of swimming in the beach itself.  Which means I often have the whole beach to myself, and can sing loudly over the waves while I wade around and no one even notices. Bliss!

- the beachside warungs are so incredibly chill.

- the nearby Oberoi strip is filled with really good shopping

- there are lots of locals to talk to

- the streets are way quieter but there is still plenty to see and do

- there are always heaps of taxis around

etc.

Slowly settling into a routine.  Wake, watch awesome morning tv, shower, smoothie, walk, photo edit, gym, blog, beach, dinner, movie/drink/dance/chat…

Starting tomorrow, bike rides, daily blogging challenge and yoga will also slot into my regime. 

Life has slowed down a bit now, not meeting as many new people and settling into my own space and company.  But life is never boring.  If I’m bored, I walk and watch or take photos, or get in a cab and go to a bar.  I’m starting to become aware of how small the island is too, the minimal degrees of separation between friends, seeing the same people around my neighborhood haunts.  Life here is starting to become familiar, and its nice.  Petitenget is starting to feel like home.

Life is good.

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video