Ahhh Bali. There really is not much more that needs to be said but I shall conjure words that will most assuredly ineffectively give a representation to nothing that is equal to the actual experience of such a place. The emotion that met us on the island was familiarity with the surf culture and one that we had been missing from the other countries. We plopped ourselves down in a shotty little hostel in north Kuta that provided none of the conditions advertised on the booking. We thought we were going to be closer to Legian as well but it worked out fine as we ventured to move to another hotel the next morning. The mosquitoes and filth were just too much to bare as this was to be our actual vacation part of the trip. This area was inundated with Aussies as this was to them what Mexico or Hawaii is to us. This suited us fine as we found that this made the locals assume we were Aussie until we spoke which then led to a much more positive response from them and they all said they loved America. I bought a nice 6’2 Xanadu surfboard from the famous Poppies 2 street and surfed nearly every day possible. Tina and I rented a scooter with a surf rack attached and set out for the near death journey to Uluwatu. Ulu’s was without question the most beautiful place I have ever surfed. Living in Maui for years didn’t even compare to this spot and the only slash mark against it is that there isn’t much of a beach and it is a left break so not ideal for a regular foot. The lack of beach limited the time spent and we moved on to Dreamland. What once had been my favorite beach in the World in Makena (Big Beach) Maui, It was almost taken down by a royal flush in dreamland. The word pristine is the only accomplishable identifier to this spot. The one up, is that you can’t get a 5 dollar massage anywhere in Maui more-less at the beach. You can however get a deep tissue pounding from the close out shore break on a regular basis.
The number of eateries in the Kuta region are almost limitless, priced to compete and extraordinarily delicious. Our hotel was steps from the 2005 club bombing so it is obvious that there was a solemn feeling when passing by or sitting in the square where the memorial now represents the cowardly evil acts carried out by fools. One day after finding a friend in a local named Made, which means he was the second born male in his family, we rode with him to the Batik factory which for anyone who has taken a textiles course would know that it is a long and technical process. We then moved on to the rice fields which is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen in person. We traversed the winding pathways up and down to capture views that were just magnificent. This is a must do when on Bali. When we had enough of the sweltering heat we left for the Luwak coffee farm which carried its own weight in serene landscapes. Luwak is the animal in which the stomach acid processes the coffee beans to enrich its flavor. Taken from the excrement of the animal it is washed peeled and roasted. Any coffee lover must try this at least once. Our last stop was the Kings residence in Ubud. This is a nice small town that we wish we had visited earlier in the trip. When we return it will be a priority to stay a few nights in this area as it was intriguing and artistic at the impression.
The last few days we burned the hours indoors as no one on the island is allowed to be outdoors or use any electricity to honor Nyepi day or the day of silence. The entire island shuts down and it is quite a unique experience. After the parade and festivities are over the night before, everything goes dark and there is nothing to be seen on the street except the random stray scratchy dog. The final day of the trip had come and it was clouded with sadness. There was anticipation of what the future holds for us but this trip had been a journey. We looked at each other and within ourselves for some self-assessment. We were truly blessed to get such an adventure and it changed our eyes. We see things and this world differently now. That is the true outcome to travel. Expanding ones umvelt is what centers them in their perceptions. This should be the ambition of all us, replacing the material for the ethereal experience.