Heaven, hell, and custom made bikes (Bali 2016)

And then, suddenly, you get the hang of it. You forget about wanting to see more and more and more, that ‘materialistic craving’, when actually traveling should be exactly the opposite. You accept this holiday is just that, a holiday, and not travel. And it is great! Go with the flow:dancing in the waves on Berawa beach, the staff of our Airbnb grilling fresh grouper and squid and gamba and sate ayam (chicken) drenched in sweet ketchap manis, sleeping outside in the joglo (and not be bitten once by a mosquito or some creepy crawler), the coffee in the morning on the teak-wood deck, the sounds of birds and holy chanting and bells ringing when you get up, (the lazy thumping of the hammer on the construction site next door).

Our monsters love to play with Aurora and Esteban, the kids of Moses and Eta. Moses, as said, is Sari’s brother, after ten years he is almost Balinese. The children converse in a funny smurf pidgin, a mixture of English, a couple of Indonesian words, Dutch and sign language. Talking to Mangon, the caretaker, I also realise again how incredibly lucky we are to live where we do. We talk about corruption in Belgium? How about paying 20.000 euro to get a position as a teacher or a policeman? Mangon pays 13 euros a year to send his son to school. Mahal, he says, expensive.

Berawa beach is a fifteen minute drive. The beach lies at the feet of Finn’s Beach Club, an impressive restaurant, straw roofs, swimming pool, spinning spotlights in the dance tower.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.54.06It is high tide, and the undercurrent is strong, not ideal for swimming but we go in anyway. The kids love it. Later Moses tells me every year surfers drown, mostly at Echo beach, and at Manta Point,  the strait between Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembogan, where the mantas (the flying saucer fish) come look at the people.

We go look for the gereji, the church we spot from our garden. Away from the beach, where the youngster surfers gather, the village life is mellow going, in between the yellow frangipanis and the dark orange coloured temples. Locals step up to their garden shrine making an offer of incense and flowers, a coloured waistband showing their devotion. There are actually a lot of churches in the neighbourhood, Anglican, protestant, catholic. It is Saturday, so the one we visit is closed. But the building is still nice to see, has a colonial feeling to it, even a bit south-American I’d say. Stained glass windows with Jesus as the shepherd, and the holy lamb, all in bright colours.

One morning, we have breakfast in Deus Ex Machina, a posh combination of diner and shop, Jalan Batu Mejan 8, close to Echo Beach. On the website: “God’s Restaurant,” if you speak Latin, which doesn’t sound correct to me … Deus became famous in Sidney, Australia, and now has a franchise in Bali. Their wifi password is get on a bike and ride, as the shop sells awesome custom made Hondas and Yamahas, it has it’s own brand of clothes and merchandise. Felt hats 80 euro. The food is good, the coffee better.

I buy Bali, Heaven and Hell, a book by Phil Jarrat. I am curious. ‘Across the 300 pages of Bali: Heaven and Hell – corruption and chaos, bloodshed and exploitation, free love, great surf and high times under the banyan trees,  Jarratt takes the reader on a historic and geological odyssey that begins with the island’s settlement in prehistoric times.’ (www.theherald.com)

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.58.50(www.swellnet.com)

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