There are some places in the world that you really connect with. Whether it's because of the people, the food, the scenery or simply because you are ready to enjoy a place. Bali has turned out to be one of those places for me.
Over the last week my base has continued to be in Padang Padang (for anyone that's seen ‘Eat, Pray, Love', it turns out that Padang Beach was used for the boat scene at the end of the film). The community here is fun and chatty. Some people are here only for a few days, whereas others are staying for up to 3 or 4 months, so there are always new people to talk to, and those who you get to know well. It's like you've woken up and found yourself at home in paradise, and you get to share it with people who love it too.
The surf has been really good recently. In fact it's been so good that there have been days that I've not been able to paddle out because it's been so big at either Balangan or Padang. The surfers here have been stoked, and when the 10ft+ waves come through, you'd be surprised at how please you are that you aren't stuck in the impact zone.
I've spent a good about of time in the ocean on my board in the past week. Morning surfs with other girlies, afternoon sessions at Padang Right, and perfect shore breaks at Kuta Beach. It's amazing how quickly your rhythm on your board comes back to you, but I've discovered it's all about positioning in the water.
I had one of the best surfs at Kuta beach the other day, when I made friends with about 5 Indonesian surfers. They were super friendly, chatting and laughing in the water... and they showed me and my friend where to wait, and which waves to paddle for. I was up and riding really fun waves before I knew it. There's nothing like a bit of local knowledge.
The more I've stayed in Bali the more I see how good it is to live here. There is such a strong sense of community and it's infectious. Ex-pats from the USA and Brazil are absorbed into the community and all support each other. People learn Indonesian, and join in with Bali's friendly attitude. One of the highlight of the week has been watching about 4 families create a massive beach party at Padang Padang for their children's birthdays. Everyone mucked in, and the kids were even taken out tadem surfing or jet-skiing.
So the question that begs to be asked is: what next? I'm staying put for another week or so, as I've got a friend coming to join in with the fun- and that's when the touristy trips begin. There are lots of temples to explore and a trip around the island to begin, but the moment, I love where I live.