I love Bali.
You wouldn't think that such a thought could be controversial . But it is.
Many people don't love Bali, in fact they proclaim to hate it. Bemoan what it has become, it's lack of purity, it's lost innocence.
Sure, I can see their point. I can't imagine anywhere on Earth that has been transformed as radically as Bali over the last thirty years. From rice paddies and coconut groves to six story discotheques . It's totally unrecognisable in the most built up areas.
But that's not what this post is about. It's about why I LOVE Bali.
I love Bali because ...
- it's still the home of an intense cluster of world class waves. Roping lefts : Uluwatu, freight train right barrels : Sanur, backlit mega tubes : Padang Padang. Rip able reefs, fun beachies. Short , slabby pits and long mellow points. River mouths and bombies. It's got the lot.
- it's still possible to get uncrowded quality waves in 2015 when it seems as though the entire planet has discovered surfing. I was trading crystal clear , rolling right walls with only two other surfers just this morning.
- it's still freaking beautiful. Watching the mist reveal Mt Agung in that unique Bali morning light from a black sand beach as the sun comes up is still special.
- the food is amazing. Walking around town building up a hunger and knowing that at any given time you are within shouting distance of fresh, exotic and delicious meals with enough variety to make your head spin is priceless.
- the Balinese are legends. Friendly, happy and always keen for a joke. Unfailingly polite and welcoming. Healthy, spiritual and decent.
- the Balinese surfers rip their waves and they still own them. A visiting Brazilian would not think twice to drop in on an Aussie local at Kirra. But you won't see the same in Bali. The Balinese surfers are treated with the respect they deserve. Because as everyone knows, if they are not treated with respect there is consequences.
- the water is so warm it's like swimming in silken angels tears.
- telling people that you are going to Bali will often elicit a response along the lines of ......"why would you go to that traffic ridden, noisy shithole ?" And then as you're kicking back with a Bintang watching the sunset over Uluwatu you can imagine them sitting at lights in their car on their way home from work in Perth. Which , for those that have never been , is a noisy , traffic ridden shithole. And this makes me laugh. Which is something I enjoy doing.
- The fruit is incredible.
- despite the millions of tourists, the fast food franchises and the Aussie over familiarity with the joint it's still exotic. The smell of clove cigarettes, the ogo ogos of Nyepi, the Buddhist offerings , monkeys , food and language are all enticingly foreign.
- there is no overreaching nanny state. You want to ride your motorbike with all four of your children and the missus on the back...whilst texting. Go for it.
- you can live like a king on a regular Aussie income. Maybe not such a great benefit for the Balinese themselves though.
- it's close to Oz. Twenty hour plane ride and a shot at developing deep vein thrombosis.....ummm no thanks. It's actually faster to fly to Bali from Perth than it is to drive to Albany. You can fly from Port Hedland in less than two hours.
- you get an opportunity to regularly witness some of the most foolhardy behaviour imaginable on a daily basis. You ever seen a man being doubled on a motorbike through traffic whilst holding a large pane of glass ? What about seeing someone hold a nail between his bare fingers while his mate tries to grind the tip off it ? It's all there folks.
- you can see people making do with not much and making it work. An exhaust system held on with a T Shirt ? An outboard motor attached to a boat with no anchoring system, just held on with a man's brute force ? Why not ? It might not work forever but it'll usually get em over the line.
- the winds can blow offshore for months at a time and when they blow onshore, well , that just makes it offshore somewhere else. It's an island !
- you haven't seen glassy oceanic conditions till you've seen Indonesian sheet glass. It's like an oil slick. And if you're ever near Benoa Harbour that could well be what it is.
- old people are accorded the respect they deserve.
- it's exciting. It's a melting pot of the world. Wide eyed villages from remote Asia, jaded techno princesses from Russia, sleek surfy chicks from Canada , your next door neighbour from Ipswich....it's a party and everyone is invited.
Including YOU. I'll see you there. You can't miss me.
I'll be the sun burnt drunk in a head to toe Bintang ensemble with hair braids and a fresh tattoo of a unicorn across my back . Don't be shy. Come and say hello.
A few insurers opting not to offer International travel ins atm a couple of online Quotes
from those that are for Indonesia - Auspost $165 for month
NiB around $260 for month
Christ knows whats hidden in the Covid fine print...