Off for the Weekend to the beach!

Trip Start Dec 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 17, 2008


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Saturday, March 1, 2008

So my new friend Jenny (originally from NY, but she's been here in Bali since 2002) invited me to go to the beach with her family this weekend.  Her husband Harris (pronounced more like Tyrese), her gorgeous 4 year-old son Gabriel, and surprise guest their friend Tony (also Balinese) came along.

We met at Jenny's house on Saturday morning and had a nice road trip through Gianyar, and Klungkung, to Candi Dasa.  (They got lost last time they entered Candi Dasa and couldn't find the resort, and though Jenny kindly asked that we pull over this time and call for directions when we weren't sure we eventually found it with only one U-turn needed.  Some things are universal =)

We arrived before lunch, threw our bags into our rooms (since Tony came along and we only had two rooms reserved Jenny and Gabriel bunked in with me =) and immediately changed into our suits.  Gabriel couldn't wait to get into the water; he was SO ready to build a sandcastle.  (I fell in love with this kid moments after meeting him, despite the 5 hundred times he asked me 'Why' on the 2 hour car ride.  I still couldn't get enough of him. 

We went to the beach, and had such a fun afternoon playing in waves and collecting coral.  I got a little burn on my shoulders, but hey it was inevitable being how utterly white I was.  Around 2pm I grabbed a quick shower, threw on a new sarong, and we went to the hotels restaurant on the beach.  Gabriel couldn't make it through lunch, he was beat from all the sun and fun, so Jenny took him for a nap in the room.  After lunch I got an open air massage on the beach, 60minutes for $5 - I know, I know!.  After my massage it was Tony's turn.  Gabe was still asleep, and Jenny wanted to go visit with Harris in their bungalow, so I hopped on my twin bed.  Warm from the day in the sun, covered in oil from my massage, and listening to a child taking a nap in the afternoon...I fell asleep.  I can't describe the nap I had.  I don't take naps.  I slept so well, it was like time stopped.  And then he woke up.  LOL, so I did too.

Jenny had an idea to hop back in the Jeep and check out the main strip, to walk around a little - so we did.  This is what my guide book has to say about Candi Dasa:  "Once upon a time there was a beach at Candi Dasa.  The beach attracted tourists.  The tourists needed bungalows.  To build the bungalows, the locals needed cement.  To make cement, the coral along the coast was ripped out and ground up.  Without the coral to break the tides, the beach washed away.  There is no beach in Candi Dasa anymore, but there are still bungalows."  So walking down the main drag in Candi Dasa, one can't help but notice that there are a million very nice looking, and very empty restaurants and shops.  Every restaurant and shop had a lovely young lady perched on it's sidewalk to greet and encourage the sparse passers-by to please come in and buy something.  I asked Jenny if it was just like this because it's the low season or what, she shook her head.  Apparently even in the high season it isn't much better.  So if you want a REALLY quiet place to go, with ample service, cheap accommodations, and a very little bit of sand.  You know where to go.

We picked a nice little restaurant that was going to have a Gamelan dancer at 7:45, early enough so we could still get Gabe to bed before he crashed.  We had a nice dinner, I showed off my pictures of the birds from the day before, and we watched the show.  I won't tell you know much the bill was, you're probably sick of me saying how ridiculously inexpensive everything is here.  It wasn't much.

On Sunday Gabe got up at 6am, and Jenny (fabulous lady that she is) grabbed his suit and quietly took him out to the beach.  They didn't come back until 9:30 when she woke me to let me know that breakfast was only served until 10 if I wanted to get my coffee on.  Is it bad that my coffee addiction is one of the first things that people learn about me?  Ohh well.  I threw on a clean sarong and tank top, no sandals, and walked across the grass to the restaurant.  I had my coffee, banana crepe with Gnutella (French food and people are all over Bali) and enjoyed the view of the ocean.  Several charter boats left the dock, and I watched them fishing.  Then I took my coffee and moved 20 feet over to a lounge chair by the sandbox where Gabriel, just cleaned off from the beach via the outdoor shower, was making his sandcastle - still naked.  Being around this kid relaxes me in a way I really can't describe.  But I enjoyed my coffee, the men fishing, and Gabe working and narrating as he went about his sandcastle...until the sky opened up, and boy did it - thunder and everything. It's just as well, I was pretty burnt from yesterday and wouldn't have been able to sit out today anyway. 

So a quick shower (I take at least 2 a day here, it's mUuUughy) and we're off back in the Jeep.  Jenny wants to do a little shopping in Gianyar and Klungkung on our way back to Ubud and that's fine by me.  She even jokes that there's a Dunkin Donuts in Gianyar, and she wasn't kidding.  So we stopped and Gabe and I had a Boston Creme donut.  And I got an iced coffee too.  Bali really isn't infected at all with corporate giants or gigantic white resorts, and it was surprising to see something familiar here.  Arriving back in Ubud felt like coming home.   I can't believe I've been here so long, only one more week and then I'm off to Lovina on the north side of the island.  I found out I can get my SCUBA license by an internationally recognized school there in only four days.  That'd be a cool thing to do while I'm up there.  We'll see how ambitious I am.
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Comments

lekw
lekw on

Hi Susan!
Wow - you are on quite a journey! I was excited for my upcoming vaca to Turks and Caicos but it's looking lame in comparison as I read about your travels. I'm bummed we never hooked up while you were in NYC. Take care and have a safe (and fun!) trip!

Leigh

joannesp
joannesp on

From Mom 3/7/08
Hi Suz. I love 'traveling' with you. You seem to be having another experience of a lifetime! Love it that you are showing us all the local color. Seems that you are meeting some very nice people too. (How come I only meet old men and dogs when I travel? LOL!) Check your hotmail account, I sent you a private message. Love you lots!!! Mom

suzettesp
suzettesp on

Re: From Mom 3/7/08
Hey Mom, we'll yes I am meeting a lot of nice people, and choosing not to relay the stories of anyone who isn't nice =) Truth is, all the Balinese I've met have been extremely kind and friendly. The sad side of that coin is that I'm not sure if it's genuine or because in their eyes I have more money than God and they would desperately like to have some.

By Balinese standards I'm a gazillionaire, and am treated as such in all my dealings with the locals. Even though I do everything I can to be 'one of the guys' there is still no removing the fact that the $20 I spend for a car and driver for a day is more money than even the wealthy tourist workers make in a week, and they'll do anything for my business.
Bargaining is the status quo and they expect it, but I don't really even feel like it most of the time because I'd rather give them the extra 75 cents for the souvenir then spend 10minutes negotiating for it. I won't miss the money, and they will really appreciate it. But I don't want to act like it's nothing to me either, because that'd be rude.

It's an odd feeling that I'm really not that comfortable with actually. It doesn't feel fair to me that I should have so much in comparison when we are all just people. The silver lining (gotta find one) is that this experience of economic disparity has brought me a new and surprisingly big appreciation for the founders of our government. I never realized to this extent how fortunate we are that they established such a prolific economy of trade and a strong stable government for us all to live so easily under. The Balinese don't have a strong government and they've been taken over by nearly all the surrounding nations at one time or another, and then have suffered through countless regime changes and civil wars so there really isn't a stable government for them to rely on. I guess that's why the family structures and neighborhoods are so tight.

I dunno, it's all new to me, but it makes me feel guilty that I have so much and didn't really have to do anything except be born in a country where it was all possible for me. Sure I went to college and worked hard at my career, but now I am appreciating those opportunities to be successful though the eyes of a Balinese, who couldn't dream of them.
Kadek who works at the Purnama guesthouse told me one night over tea that he only went to school until he was 7 because his family was too poor to pay for him to go beyond that. He said it with such genuine sadness that it really touched me, he really would have liked to go to school. It's not fair and it makes me mad. It's 2008 and we don't have a world where everyone can learn to read and write? C'mon!


suzettesp
suzettesp on

Re: Hi Susan!
Hey Leigh! Thanks for coming to my blog, I'm psyched that you stopped by to read! (I post these things up here all the time, and I'm still surprised that anyone is bothering to look. I tend to ramble =)

I'm psyched for you and your trip too; I've never been to the West Indies before I'm sure you'll have a great time. Remember lots of sunscreen for your fair skin!

I'll be back to visit in NYC plenty I'm sure. San Francisco is only a 6 hour flight away, and most of my family is still on the east coast. I'll let you know the next time I'm in town and I'll come up for lunch! Thanks for visiting!

Suz

rrsquared
rrsquared on

My, Oh My!
Have a massage on me! Sounds like you could use another! LOL. I'm glad you are having such a good time, and meeting such nice people!

suzettesp
suzettesp on

Yeah right?
I'm stresed out, maybe I do need another massage. Only this time, not right after I get a sunburn on the beach. Is that much skin supposed to come off?

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