Time can really play tricks on you when you travel. I’ve now spent my second week in Bali, and after starting the trip in the bustling city of Kuta, I’ve come to the opposite by moving to Padang Padang out in the country. Life here is totally different to life in Kuta. It’s slow, quiet and extremely relaxed. So it’s been time for me to unwind and get into the island ways of life.
When I first arrived I was ‘doing’ something everyday. Visiting a different beach, hiking up and down cliffs, snorkelling and finding out about the surf breaks that surrounded me. Moving to the quiet surf spot of Padang Padang on the Bukit Peninsular on the southern tip of Bali has made me change my itinerary. Things here are far more relaxed and are more about how you live a regular life on the island.
It’s still hot here, think 28 degrees during the day, during the night and even in the ocean. The difference coming into the dry season now is that the humidity can change, and you amazingly can feel the change in the air pressure. I went from sweating like crazy when I first arrived, to now sleeping with a quilt at night. Amazing what your body can adjust to.
Padang Padang is one of many reef breaks that line the western shore of the peninsular. There has been few things better than getting up at dawn, crossing the road and being able to go for a warm water surf. Most days people in the water are really friendly, especially as everyone wants to chat and find out where you are from. However, occasionally it can be a bit hard for surf girls, as the guys can be very competitive and even drop in on you.
For anyone who has been to the North Shore of Hawaii, the Bukit Penninsular is very similar. The only difference is that it doesn’t have as much nightlife. The local restaurants called ‘Warungs’ and very relaxed bars tend to close up shop by 11pm. So a lot of surfers still stay in Kuta for the nightlife, whereas my local community here has to make its own fun by sitting outside on the ground like the Balinese.
Being here you start to see more of how the Balinese people live. One of the next breaks along from Padang Padang is Bingin. Following the painted wooden signs down winding roads to the parking, then scrambling down the stone cut steps to the bottom of the cliff, is all part of the experience of discovering Bali. It’s a rural trek, where you see how branches have been twisted to make fences, cows graze and roosters constantly cry out and gekkos croak. At any moment you can be greeted by one of the fishermen or warung women carrying loads up and down the cliffs on their heads. It’s hard, back breaking work, but they live simply and are happy to have enough.
There’s definitely a lot to be learnt here from the people, so I’m very thankful that I’ve got just under another 6 weeks to go.