Road Trip with our Balinese Friends

Trip Start Sep 17, 2011
Trip End Oct 07, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, September 19, 2011

We woke early, before first light, and spent several minutes trying to determine what time it was exactly by flipping through TV channels. It was a relief to discover that it was 5:30 a.m., not the middle of the night. The sky soon lightened, and our first full day began. We spent the first part of the morning laying around and staring into space while sucking down instant coffee in an attempt to wake up our confused bodies. Going through 14 time zones really takes it out of a person! However, after a huge complimentary breakfast in the restaurant, we felt much more normal.

Shortly after noon, Made (pronounced MAH-day) picked us up in his borrowed car for an afternoon of sightseeing. Lasmi (LAHS-mi) and Wahyu (nicknamed Bule--BOO-lay) came along for the ride as well. Lasmi held their son on her lap for the duration, and I remember her doing the same thing last time we visited them. Either child car seats aren't in use here, or perhaps Made just hasn't invested in one. I don't believe Lasmi or Made wore seat belts either, so maybe it's just not on the list of important things to do in Bali--although with the state of the roads here and the crazy traffic, I'm surprised more people don't take such basic safety precautions. At any rate, our first stop was Padang Padang beach which was featured in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love. After parking in a gravel lot, we walked down narrow stairs that had been carved into the rocky cliff face. At the base of the steps the vista opened up to a small and sandy bay punctuated by large, jagged rocks. The ocean was sparkling in the sun, surfers out in the distance, and there were lots of young sunbathers on the beach. Actually, there were lots of young, beautiful, nearly naked, women sunbathers sprawled on the beach. Bill assured me later that there were men present too, but it was hard to see the forest for the trees, such as it was. Everyone was wearing a dark chocolate tan and not much else - unnaturally dark skin for their Caucasian ethnicity. It was definitely the place to be, for the younger set. We didn't stay long, but Bule did get in some play time, moving sand around in piles and getting his little pant legs wet.

Next stop, lunch! We stopped at an open air restaurant called Ye Ye's (pronounced yay-yays) for a bite. We all enjoyed our meals and though the place was not air conditioned, we managed to cool off a bit. Everyone ordered traditional food except for me, of course. Why do I always ask for fish and chips if I see it on a menu? Doesn't matter where in the world we are, it's always the fish and chips. Fortunately, the fish was fresh tuna which was unusual and delicious. And in defense of my non-ethnic food choice, I did have a small salad with a spicy garlic dressing. Bill had satay, Made had Thai prawn curry, and Lasmi had nasi goreng which she shared with Bule.

After lunch, we continued south along the coast and visited another beach. The name of this one escapes me. We never actually saw the beach because to reach it, one had to descend numerous steep, irregularly built staircases which snaked down a cliff face. There were no guardrails or anything else to stop one from falling over the edge. One false move and your vacation (and possibly your life) could be over. Built into the cliffside all the way down were little store fronts filled with cheap trinkets and touts, which we were aware of but didn't look at because we were so intent on watching our footing. Lasmi brought up the rear, all the while carrying Bule. I don't know how she did it. We only made it about halfway down, in the blazing sun, at one point getting large whiffs of raw sewage emanating from who knows where, before turning around and climbing back out of there. We actually did stop at a landing at one point to take in the view, which was a pretty stupendous expanse of glittering water as far as the eye could see.

Back in the car, the AC was cranked and quickly dried the accumulated sweat. We looped back to the north and then east toward Nusa Dua. We stopped at a local supermarket called Hardy’s and got a fresh supply of Bintang and other goodies. We then headed into the rush hour traffic consisting of mostly motorbikes for a short distance, turned off the main road and arrived at Made and Lasmi’s home.

About a year and a half ago, Made made the transition from renter to home owner. His little house is within a very picturesque neighborhood of nearly identical homes, all with ornately carved gates along the front entrances. Their home also features a raised bale (BAH-lay) outside the front porch as well as several carved stone altars for making offerings. Inside, the house consists of just a few small rooms. When we arrived, Made's Mom was sitting in the bale from which hung several large bundles of offering baskets which she and Lasmi had been constructing for an upcoming baby naming ceremony. Made placed a big mat on the front porch, which we sat on after removing our shoes. We then proceeded to look at photo albums, drink hot Balinese coffee, and also spread out the toys we'd brought for Bule so that he could examine and play with them. It was a very convivial time and really made Bill and I feel like we were one of the family, despite our cultural differences. Made had saved all the photos we'd taken of him and his family in years past, and it was fun to relive old memories through them. He also showed us many photos of his and Lasmi's wedding ceremony as well as Bule's baby naming ceremony. There was one photo in particular which Bill and I still don't really understand--it showed Bule as a baby sitting inside one of the cages that are used here to contain roosters during cock fights. He was squeezed in there with a basin of water that held several live fish. From what we could gather, the cage was symbolic of the earth and the basin symbolic of the sea, or something like that.

A while later, it was time for Bill and I to depart back to Jimbaran, so after a brief drive, Made deposited us back here and we made our goodbyes. He did say he had Thursday off from work and wanted to take us (including Mike, who will be joining us soon) for another drive around the countryside.

All in all, a fun and interesting day! Tomorrow we're on our own and plan to do some explorations of the Jimbaran area on foot.
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Lisa T. on

Wow. Can I throw on some shorts and meet you at the beach?
When is Mike showing up?

jgabrielli on

I sent you a message....such an awesome trip already.....enjoy!

jgabrielli on

Testing out our new picture. :)

Walt on

That's great you are meeting again with previous natives; really reduces some of the unknown. Take care!

Judy Brazell on

Wow! What gorgeous accomodations on this island. Your tropical trip is like being in paradise - enjoy! Love, Mom

Connie Lehman on

Wow! What a wonderful vacation you are enjoying. I am so glad to be "along". You are a wonderful writer. I look forward to the next entry.

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