1/ Me and Bali are like peas and carrots.
I've been trying to think of an analogy to express my feelings for the much maligned island of Bali. Then it struck me like a soft top board cast aside by a fearful Croation learner kook in the face of 1 foot of Kuta beach whitewash - Bali and myself are like Forrest Gump and his soul mate Jenny.
Forrest always loved Jenny from the moment they met. He loved her for who she was fundamentally . Jenny , unfortunately, never felt her true unadorned self worthy of love and so it was that she allowed herself to be subjected to the whims and vagaries of suitors and fly by nighters that would never truly love her or respect her in the manner of Forrest and his unwavering dedication.
And so it is with Bali.
Her true beauty is masked in the cloak of globalised monocultural dross.
McDonald's . Hilton . Rip Curl and Hard Rock Cafe .
Bali was perfect until she tried to impress those with no love for her inherent charms. I'm afraid that she may suffer a similar tragedy to that of Jenny. Her desire to be everything to everyone rather than allowing her innate perfection to speak for itself may be leading to a point of no return and an overwhelming sense of regret.
In the meantime I'm content to play second fiddle and wait for her to come to the conclusion that even though I'm not exciting or rich or a name celebrity or flooding the country with renminbi, that I'll always love her for who she is and that's all I ever wanted.
2/ Love is ...
My love for Bali is all encompassing. But there is something about the people that call Bali home that I can't get enough of . Particularly :
I love the fella that thinks it's a good idea to wear his full faced motorbike helmet whilst fishing with his cast net up to his waist in the lagoon.
I love the bloke that was yelling at my car window from his motorbike in the next lane as I drove across the toll road bridge in a torrential monsoonal downpour at close to 100 kms an hour. What was he yelling ?
" You want Watersport ? " of course .
I love the many waiters who insist that chicken is a vegetable.
I love the fact that the boat captain sees no problem whatsoever in smoking whilst he's sitting on the fuel tank. Or that he's been made boat captain charged with piloting a rickety jakung around the surf and through the treacherous reef pass even though he can't swim a stroke.
I love the man on the side of the road who offers me a ride in his taxi ... even though he has witnessed me literally just exiting one.
I love them one and all.
3/ Glorious schadenfreude.
I've got a nemesis in Bali.
As far as someone with whom to share a seething malignant rivalry goes he's really very good.
To be honest I struggle to recall the moment that our mutual antagonism began , though I suspect it was an otherwise innocuous dispute over one wave or another. Either way it's an entrenched piece of theatre that we both seem to revel in.
Utterly wordless , our territorial clash takes place regularly at one of my favourite surfing locations. He's frequently there and is amongst the best surfers most days with his precise style and notable flow on his signature red board . At times we are the only people sharing a vast lineup but still never the hint of acknowledging each other.
One larger day with no one around I caught him waiting for me to paddle out. Though I was quietly grateful for the company myself , I had no intention of letting this be known. As soon as he spied me making a move towards the line up it became , like everything else , an unspoken competition between us . This time to see who could get first priority at the peak . I chuckled inwardly as I saw him fall victim to the false economy of trying to run over the sharp low tide reef and it was very satisfying to see him curse and stumble as I quickly outpaced him with my fins first , shallow paddle technique.
After attaining the line up the usual scowling paddle battle ensued as a bomb set rolled down the reef . It was all I could do to make the drop as by this stage I'm laughing openly and with genuine joy at our shared antics. Surfing my way down the line I pulled off to see him flying through sections on his trusty red board. Then he got axed and surfaced to find his pride and joy in two seperate red halves. He was gone into the lagoon and I didn't see him for months.
Till a couple of days ago.
Gone is the trusty red steed and in its stead is a shiny new stick from a marquee label.
And it's the worst piece of shit board I think I've ever had the pleasure of watching someone attempting to wring any kind of functionality out of.
So there I am paddling back out . I look up to see The Nemesis simultaneously bog a rail and get caught behind a sublime section and I laugh heartily and audibly. He surfaces and catches my happiness.
And I laugh harder.
4/ The best of times , The worst of times.
Mt Agung is threatening to erupt.
Fire and brimstone. Acid rain and toxic ash clouds. Not something you really want to be a part of.
And the possibility of a devastating eruption is very real.
As a consequence there are less tourists here on the island of the gods. Who wants to be immortalised in a fossilised ash sculpture like the unfortunate citizens of Pompeii ?
Or even just risk being stranded in a hotel without power , water or food as the workers return to their families and all flights out are cancelled ? As insurance policies are nullified ?
Not many at all.
So the locals are already struggling . Money is hard to come by without tourism.
Luckily many expats have remained and a few travellers braves the threat so the money flows.
And for those that face down the wrath of Agung ?
Well the surf is still not uncrowded but the water is warm and the smiles are still infectious.
It's happy days.
Merry Christmas everyone .
Hope Huey fills your stocking with sick pits and filthy chicks.
Same same.....but different.
Ah good on ya Blowin ya lucky fuk ,make sure you toast to your old pals at swellnut on xmas ok.
Thanks for that, a merry Christmas to you all aswell.
Bali sure has changed since 93 when I first went there.
Number 2 was very funny. Exactly what I love as well
I love the wizened faced old Javanese construction worker I just saw sitting on his haunches smoking a durry . All 5'2 and 55 kg of him ....wearing a t shirt with a bold print logo declaring that " Excuses don't burn calories ".
But hey if you guys are hassling for waves with only 2 guys out then one of you is a serious asshole . lol
Maybe we're both arseholes ?
That'd explain a lot.
Murray Bourton has a short vid on BaliBelly - Kuta beach in 1973
Great little post, number 2 was great! Thanks Blowin and Merry Christmas all.
Ha ha great post, but how the fuck do you think this stuff up?
Also loved post number 2.
I don't spend much time in Bali, just a start or end of an Indonesian trip and i don't think i will ever bother surfing there again, but i still do really love Bali despite what its all become there is still something totally unique, special and magical about the place.
Concur with all the above posts Blowin, even the one that called you a serious arsehole. Appreciate the time and effort to put it all down for other people to read and have a chuckle.
I do it for myself first and foremost but it's nice that people read it.
If they happen to enjoy it then that's very cool.
Even arseholes have feelings.
You had a few at Keramas last few days ?
Great read thanks blowin, many sentiments shared, I have visited in several times since this century and the last one I thought would be my last but it’s drawing at me again.
Udo - I haven't surfed Keramas in a while. Too busy elsewhere.
Imagine it would have been pumping though.
A few places pumping I suspect.
Yeah, that south swell would of got into a few nooks and crannies.
Some good reports from the loose lips .
Hey there blowin.
That arsehole comment was meant as just a bit of banter.
I guess it’s a bit hard to put a bit of facial expression and humour into straight text sometimes.
But hey , you were getting uncrowded waves in bali . Which spot was that again....?
Eat -Y - V - I assumed you were joking . But if the shoe fits Ive got to wear that thing.
Secret lefts off the Discovery mall rock groyne , Simba .
Bali, well yeah, I think I've had enough. That poor tortured whore, with the thick make-up and the lipstick, but getting old and looking older, and the pimp just keeps sending her out to work every day.
She would have been priceless when unspoilt. Both her and I have seen better days.
Yet getting spat out of a glassy tube as Mt Agung stands silent witness is as rejuvenating as it ever was .
The heady juxtaposition of Asian effervescence and tropical languidity never gets old .
And the graceful flourish of the hands of the Balinese girl as she goes meditavely through her morning offering is timeless.
Time is an abstract concept.
Life is measured by the moments that move us.
Did you know that approximately 10 million people per year succumb to Bali Belly ?
Succumb as in tap arse. Not succumb as in pushing up frangipanis.
You were singing in the high country then, Blowin, you really were - life is measured by the moments that move us.
...and then you followed it up with a factoid about diarrhea.
Everyone loves a roller coaster.
Bali, beautiful one day, fucked up the next.
But if you hang around long enough, and scratch a little deeper, she usually always offers you a little of her magic....then fucks you over hard the next day...
re. Keramas, the word is, the wave isn't as grand as it once was. The development has basically brick walled the creek changing the nature, positioning of the outlet, and flow of the creek.
It's hard to know given the fluid nature of surf conditions, and the very subjective nature of individuals surf experiences (many times, about many spots, you hear the old timers '... it used to be better before...' etc. etc.) but from the few times I've jagged it good, it sure seemed to break in a quality fashion, for longer, and better, about 10 years ago than it appears to of late.
Anyone else noticed, or have thoughts?
Interesting choice of spot for WSL given the other options around bali
jasri rooted even worse by a wall
"Everyone loves a roller coaster."
Except the poor bastard with Bali belly.
Baliwaves has a few pics on how much the creek at Keramas has been diverted.