Week 31 – Bali – Humbled by Waves, Grateful in Life

I’m not a surfer….that is no longer how I define my self!  :-(

After my short stop in Singapore, I’m planning on planting myself in the same spot for 5-6 days to just stay put and chill out…….like a holiday within a holiday :-)

Well, I say chill out, but I do have a bit of a plan. Step 1: Find a place with a BJJ gym (there can’t be too much relaxing!). Step 2: Find a place with some surf to enhance my already proven natural ability at surfing (after my 1 and only lesson in Byron Bay) :-)

So, after a bit of research and a check of the map, I have myself a flight booked to the island of Bali, Indonesia :-)

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Wave at Sunset

Bali, apart from being a well-known paradise/holiday spot, is also a world surf destination where  major international surfing tournaments are held…….I’m not getting too far ahead of myself, I don’t intend to compete, I just need to know there are going to be waves :-)

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Beach Football

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Shoreline

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Sunset Surf

Day one, after checking in and getting a catch up on sleep, I make my way to the beach. The entire shore is covered in little huts and shops to rent out a board. After a 10 minute walk, admiring the view, and with the sand just getting hot enough to make it uncomfortable, I stop at a small shop renting surfboards……..well, not so much a shop….more like an umbrella with a bunch of surfboards and an elderly Balinese man and wife sitting alongside.

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My surf shack for the week

We agree a price, and he asks for me to select a board. This is the first moment I realise I’m not quite prepared as I thought I was……..you know, being a surfer and all?

The boards come in a range of shapes and sizes and I have no idea which one to select……. Ok, time to put my pride away for a moment and I just point to the nearest and smallest board. I’m thinking ‘smaller board, easier to control right?’……Uhm….nope!

Ignoring the warning signs of the raised eyebrows from the store owner, 5 minutes later I am making my way to the water which I now can only describe as a child’s surf board.

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Not me

Not only can I not surf on this thing, I can’t even sit on it properly without my weight taking it completely under the water. After an hour or so struggling out and getting washed up multiple times I return the board to live and fight another day.

And this is how I spend the next 4 afternoons…..grab a board (an adult sized one after the first day!), get in the water, and give it a go. It definitely didn’t seem to come as easy this time around….maybe I’ve forgotten a key step in the past few months, or maybe the waves are just a bit different around here….but 90% of the time I was off the board before I was up :-)

More practise needed I think! :-) Hopefully I’ll be able to find anther spot before the year is out.

Apart from the surfing, the town seemed pretty beautiful. Sunny, colourful, warm…..the sunsets over the sea were stunning!  A bit touristy compared to a lot of other places I’ve been to recently, which had undoubtedly had an influence on the island……an opionion which seems to be shared after a wander around and finding some local street art.

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Bali: No longer a paradise?

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One of the Bali traditions which you can’t help but notice, are the small offering baskets (called ‘canang sari’) which are made and scattered around the island streets every day. These small woven baskets made from banana leaves and filled with flower petals, leaves, coloured string, sweets…sometimes even a cigarette or two, are made as an offering to the gods (the majority of people here believe in a version of Balinese Hinduism). One thing I was told in my guesthouse is that these offerings are not based on fear (as a lot of religious historical offerings are) but rather based on gratitude for life.

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Canang Sari

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Towards the end of the day, the remnants of these baskets are scattered throughout the street by the footflow and the wind. The petals and gift colours just spread throughout the roads and under your feet….it’s the most beautiful street litter I’ve ever seen :-)

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(A few other Bali snaps below)

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Umm…Beach Orange!

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OHMYGODILOVETHESEA!!

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Nice snake, man!

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After my mini holiday-within-a-holday I needed to form a new plan so I decided to shoot back to Bangkok while I was pondering. Bangkok is cheap, and is a transport hub in SE Asia – There are cheap flights to almost everywhere nearby…and…in truth, I was missing the food.

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Too cool for school, Bangkok!

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It was a really nice return, but felt strange to be back. Not Bangkok in particular, but for the past 7 months I have gotten used to moving onto new destinations. Coming back to a city and it feeling something that was ‘familiar’ was such an unexpected shock. It’s such a common emotion but one which I didn’t realise I had not fired for such a long time :-)

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A nice few days in Bangkok to finalize my evil schemes for the next month or so and to round out the week :-)

Next stop…..who knows? (dur dur dhaaarrrrr!)

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Everyone needs a cat to hatch an evil scheme!

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