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.
Special morning price.
Bukit looking good Sat onwards ,Enjoy Blowin.
You want Tshirt mister, I give you good price, I give you sunset price. What you best price.
I miss the motorbike ride to Ulus.
So that was you Blowin with the unicorn tatt laying in the gutter in front of the ladyboys club...fukkin small world eh,nearly tripped over you when i staggered out................bali bagus.
And if you want Sarongs, I know a bloke who can point you in the right direction.
Ha ha ha...this post is the verbal equivalent of a Gudang head spin: the feelgood rush, the lateral shift away from reality, "...like swimming in silken angels tears."
My Vishnu, a unicorn will soon appear!
....and sho'nuff, there it is.
Sunday through to Wednesday is looking pretty damn good Blowin, though I get the feeling you're gonna be trundling around blissed out and smiling like a new believer regardless of the surf.
swimming in silken angels tears!OMG!!puke,vomit....spew!!!
lets just call all the rubbish the little angels throw everywhere fairy glitter!
nice drink of arak then go out2party n get blowin up by some jihad javanese?
oz intel reports 200indo donkeys have recently returned from middle east training/fighting with terrorist kooks.expecting problems!watch ur back boys!!
ps...i'm with u blowin.its crazy but i love the place.maybe because i'm troppo?
Suksimo Blowin, you reminded me of the good in my love/dislike relationship with Bali. :)
Not ashamed to say I love Bali too, and heading back there myself in a few months. You won't find me in town though. Spend it up north east and north west coasts, away from the hard sell, in uncrowded tropical reef and beach-break perfection (and where the sarongs are well made and inexpensive. Will pick a couple up for you and the wife Zen).
Nyepi Day tomorrow Blowin. No surfing apparently? Hope you get into the cultural festivities, or solemn rememberances, whatever it may be.
I'm currently on a train heading down the coast, passing the green expanse of the Royal National Park right now. No traffic anywhere, in fact no cars to be seen. Sly sixer of Squires in my backpack and The Johnnys playing through the headphones. Southerly change is blowing up the coast, might be a few runners at the point tomorrow. It aint Sanur but it'll do.
The Johhnies !! Not Highlights of a dangerous life is it ? That album is unreal.
A few at the point sounds good. You'll be definitely getting more waves than I will. You're right it's full lock down tomorrow. Tonight is looking awesome. The Balo legends around here have put their heart and soul into their Ogoh Ogohs - the artfully rendered demons that they parade and then burn to purify the island - and they're touting for votes as to who has the best one.
It's the biggest night of the year here , so crew are frothing out pretty hard. It should be unreal.
Secret Squires on the train , waves and weekend ahead . Doesn't sound like life's too hard around the Nettle residence that's for sure.
Catch a couple for me.
Another good read Blowin, you even got the kudos from the master of words;)
"..this post is the verbal equivalent of a Gudang head spin: the feelgood rush, the lateral shift away from reality,"
You might have to bring back a couple of packets for Mr Nettle.
" Buzsaw Baby" local pub 1984 or thereabouts, now that's a memory! Was Spencer ever in any band that wasn't friggin' great?
Oh and yes I still love Bali!
Rodney Rayda and the surfing caesers. Fuck yeah.
I suppose this should be on the Tunes thread but The Scientists " Swampland " got a flogging the other day. Twice in a row.
Wave wise Bali is pretty rich pretty much a perfect set up lefts all the way down one side of the bukit offshore for six months, and rights down the other side offshore for the other six months, then the best variety of beachies in Indo, pretty amazing place wave wise, especially if you look at a map and then draw a circle collecting both G-land just over the strait at one end and just across the strait at Dessert point on the other in that circle you have some of the best waves in the world.
She does have her own unique magic you don't find anywhere else in Indo, nothing against muslim/islam but it is a pitty Hinduism and Buddhism didn't remain the main religion in Indonesia so much more rich in an arty kind of culture way.
But still i can't help but just pass through Bali these days to me Indo is like a race against time, everything changes so quick and so many places are getting ruined and crowded especially by western owned surf resorts, id much rather catch those places before there totally screwed up but each to there own.
For sure Indo. This is just a quick hit. I love it all.
Heading up to pecatu shortly to check out the ogo ogo monsters the balos have working on all day. Everybody is dressed in their ceremonial sunday best and in high spirits, it's a good time to be here. Have had 2 surfs every day usually just me and my mate, only small but glassy fun. Can't wait till sunday, i'm with you blowin, i love it here
Blowin hows the swell on this Nyepi day.......rising .......any no surf rules being broken ?
Would be a beautiful sight ....empty corduroy lines wrapping down the Bukit .
It would be beautiful Udo. Unfortunately I'm in lock down. Just started my 3rd movie for the day.
Amazing looking day out there. Blue sky, light winds....
I can't believe I've stayed off the piss.
It's so weird without any human sounds. The roosters are going nuts all day.
Can't wait for tomorrow. Time for some more Pringles I guess.
You getting any waves ?
3rd tube of Pringles too.....Burrrrp.
No piss...not long to go......12.01am straight to Skygarden ...get a skinfull and have perv, surf will be super crowded tmoro anyway.
Watch those bouncers at sky garden,ex military cunts
they dont fuck around with pissed tourists.
Chin - How'd you go today ?
Lovely to have some size out there blowin, should have been full of beans after nyepy but wasn't. Still managed 2 sessions down the 151 rd. timed to avoid the extremities of the large tidal movement and sharing with only 2 or 3 others. Pretty fkn happy all things considered. And you?
Great day. I assumed that crowds would be over the top it being a Sunday and a public holiday so I hit up an offshore East coast right that seems to get the bulk of any swell . Crowded ? I was the only fucker there.
A few bigger sets and a current that was pumping but still had a hell solo session for a few hours.
Rides for a couple of hundred metres. A couple of sneaky pits . Overall it was fucking fun.
I'm totally buckled now. A couple of Binnies and I'm toast.
Maybe a quick bolt somewhere else for a couple of days. Those winds don't seem too hectic.
Nyepi was so good. Great time to be here. Hope you keep scoring cobber.
And in reference to the title of the thread, your honour, we rest our case.
Blowin are in Bali at the moment ? Slim from Bali waves commented yesterday re the amount of surf schools and the beginner surfers rude/arrogance.......little dig on twitter also......100 surf schools !
Yeah , I saw that Udo.
Bit like the pot calling the kettle black though.
Fuckers been bringing the crowds for decades.
So many Europeans .......
Still plenty of waves though. I could tell you half a dozen spots with no crowds that you've probably never heard of and there must be shitloads that I'm in the dark about too.
Having said that....like most places , the obvious spots are pretty much over.
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted .
Surfed for four hours this morning till my arms were useless, then massage, amazing food now it's Bintang time.
While we're here I've just thought of another couple of things I love about Bali :
Up to your armpits in shore break whilst fishing ?.....perfect place to wear a full face motor bike helmet ! Especially when it's a humid 32 degrees.
When the traffic lights go red , it just means they are " broken " and you're free to gun it through the traffic.
Amazing, amazing women....everywhere !
Fuck, too much goodness to mention.
PS. Thanks for bringing this post up, it makes me happy !
I do love Bali.
Hope you're getting a few mate.
PS sorry Udo, just remembered who I was talking too ! Can't imagine much you don't know cobber, including a few breaks in Bali.
Have a sniff around the far n n/w corner of the island...Villa Selina cool hang
Is the new airport going ahead up there ?
I knew you'd be all over it.
Not sure about the new airport mate.
Would not surprise me though, the pace of change is unbelievable.
New airport domestic and international supposedly to be built by reclaiming some ocean area
Have been following this at all Indodreaming ?
No first i learnt of it was here, don't know how i missed the news, I googled it and it seems its more than a rumour…pretty crazy and pretty scary.
After spending a couple of weeks on the north shore recently where everybody was so friendly ,no snaking,uncrowded and certainly no paddle battles for waves, perfect weather, warm water, endless respect for everybody and the place was so chilled and full of aloha it made me realise just how out of hand Bali has become with its filth, endless traffic, super crowded and really out of hand surfers and
just takes 1 Balo will pretty much take every wave and fight for it (except the cool Ulus ones) I'm
certainly in no hurry to go back. I have 2 weeks there in April ready to go but if there is any hint
of swell on the north shore I will be taking my family there I know my 2 boys want to go to Hawaii because they feel safe and the locals give them waves and encourage them to have more. Unfortunately Balos are
the exact opposite and want to intiminate drop in and want to fight them even after they get 20 waves
to there one. A 23year lover of Bali just dosent feel it anymore at least its cheaper.
You're talking North shore Oahu ?
I've never been to surf, but I thought it was hectic.
A mate just returned, good surfer , said it was out of control.
But he did go in December....is it that much different at different times ?
I've honestly never heard anyone rate it like you did.
It's always been proving ground , ultimate test .....blah blah.
I can test the shit out of myself in WA or Indo.
I don't really need a 16 stone local giving me stink eye as I get pulverised by a 4foot thick lip.
The lip is enough on its own.
Haha....as if I'm actually going anywhere near a 4' thick lip.
PS You would have had a ball here today Evo.
Evo's got it about right, haven't been myself for about 4 years but have spent a fair bit of time there and never had a problem, couple of mates just got back, got heaps of waves.
December is contest time, refer to being dropped in by a pro thread :-) worst time to go if you want to actually get some of those waves yourself, also depends where you want to surf.
Its like this if you surf pipe your in for a very bad time that's where most of the bad boys, pros
and wanna bees are. I don't surf there but surf everywhere else show some restraint, RESPECT
and be nice its surfing heaven be a wanker probably get the quickest punch in the head ever.
Its also damn lot more peasant than surfing on the east coast of OZ as well.
If you accept Bali for what it is, it's easy to love. It's got its serious issues but the attitude of the Balinese, the food (and drinks), the mixture of some of the best parts of other cultures and the generally world class waves in warm water make it awesome.
For me it's regular destination with the other half. We stay in our favourite villa and just relax. She does yoga and spas, I surf Ulus, Padang Padang or even just a fun beachie. The wet season's just as fun too.
And yeah I always laugh when I tell people I'm going to Bali and they kind of give me a scrunched face saying why would anyone want to go there - some people just don't know how to enjoy it.
I loved Bali !
Back when Legian still had rice paddies.
Back when the water was clean and warm not crawling with plastic bags, light globes, paper cups, dog shit etc.
Back when you could have a laugh with the locals when bartering.
Back when you could get drunk at night and get home safe to where you were staying.
Back when you could go for a surf and get barrelled without some Euro backpacker falling on top of you or some Brazzo burn you while in the tube.
Back when you could believe that the locals were your friend not just trying to scam some money out of you.
Back when Bali was a dream destination not a nightmare.
I'm so pleased I got to experience Bali back in the times when things were so much simpler and yes, I know times change, but I'm sorry, the Bali I loved no longer exists and no doubt never will again.
I know I probably sound like a bitter old man, but after going back last year and seeing what has become of my once favourite place in the world to visit, I really don't see much to love any more and will probably never stay there again, unless as a brief stopover travelling to another destination.
Bali, it was nice to have known you, hope you get better soon!!
I loved it when all you could get to eat were jaffles and bananas and bemo corner was a meeting place and the road to rum jungle turned to dirt 500mtrs away.
I love reading about it, about Blowin,
I still remember you dropping in on me, with your two different coloured eyes going switch!
Next wave you rode and you were surfing backhand!!!, that's when I gave you the meat eating drop in backhand, when realising you had a 120% IQ, so I backed off;)
Seal you nailed it and now the Russians have moved in with a lot of the development there
its starting to get a lot more expensive. In the last 23years of going there up two 4 times a year
and at least twice a year I have lost the love. The waves are just as good if you can get one.
Blowin hope you get there....today or tomorrow ...... early morn Geger barrels bintangs and sky garden
You think that combo would get old Udo...but you'd be wrong.
Fingers crossed for an event free touchdown.
Nyepi day and the internet in Bali was supposedly to be turned off...Bali Belly wave cams still rolling.....Had it had happened...WTF would the thousands of ph addicted tourists do ?
Drink piss i suppose.
This shot is from Sumatra but the vibe is the same. This is why I love Indonesia.
I went to Bali for dinner last year, literally.
Had a 6 hr layover on a long flight home which by my calculations gave us enough time for an arm full of Bintangs and the best buffet within 30 minutes of DPS. Even found time to get on a bike.
Hadn’t been to Bali for 10 years prior but her love fit like an old leather glove. Didn’t take us long to start planning our next trip there
Current Bali in one minute,