While I am resting in our hotel room of the Ring Sameton Inn, Sari, Hilde and the monsters went to explore the beach. I have Bali belly, which means regular toilet visits, sweat and rubber legs. I slept all day (except during the two hours wonderful Balinese massage).
Most of the shore of Nuda Penida, at least this side of the island, is occupied by seaweed farms, the farmers living in houses no more than sheds. There is debris everywhere, one of the downsides of poverty, the cows grazing in the shade of the palmtrees, trying not to eat the plastic bags. Poverty often goes hand in hand with friendliness. When we arrivd, a group of small kids was waiting for the boat to moor, they were shouting and laughing and waving at us. I had to think of the Mission, those angelic children in the jungle, and even of the opening scenes of The Thin Red Line. I am romanticizing of course, but I felt so nice to see these curious and open, friendly faces. All over Nusa Penida I feel like this: really welcome. Big eyes, and waving, and hello hello. Tourism here is not so big here, not big at all actually. Most westerners head to the smaller neighbouring island of Lembongan, with its diving, and snorkeling and other thrilling water activities. I like the atmosphere of Penida, although the island is rather poor. No high rise hotels, no big restaurants, no meticulously cleaned private beaches. (Our hotel is the only one with A/C. So far. A driver told me some of the weed farmers are already selling their land.)
Ella got stung by a babi bulu (‘hairy pig’), a sea urchin, had some needles in the palm of her hand. So a guy of our hotel took us on his moped to the doctor. No worry, he said, one day, it will be okay. He thumped the black spot a bit with a shiny silver hammer, put some antiseptic and ointment on it.
We got here yesterday evening, landed with our fast boat of the Mola Mola express on the coast of Nusa Penida, an island to the south east of Bali. The Mola Mola by the way is a big ass fish: the moon fish. The Dutch name ‘sunfish’ seems better suited as it likes to float on it’s side to get a tan. Rather a-typical behaviour for a fish. An adult can weigh up to a ton, and is 1.8 meter in length. Hope we get to see one, but I read that rarely happens. If you are a really lucky basterd, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic Manta. Fingers crossed.
The previous day, we had another beautiful evening at Echo Beach, and a very nice dinner at Dandelion in Canggu (number 1 out of 171 restaurants on Tripadvisor, and the same price as every other Warung). Tame rabbits were running between the tables.
In the morning I went with Kale, our Airbnb concierge to her son’s school. Every holiday, we pick a little project. This year we pay three years of tuition and books for Kale’s and Mongon’s son. It is about 75 euro. It takes a while before the school’s administration get it, but then they show me the bills and draw up a ‘kwitansie’. Kale is happy, but the eastern seem so strange… She is no bundle of joy. She asks me when we come back to Bali.
Then we left Bali, for now, left our Airbnb a day early, fed up with the noise of the construction works next door. Sari did some mailing and calling and Airbnb agreed to compensate us for three nights
We drove to Sanur, had a nice afternoon at Beach Grove and headed for the ‘harbour’. Beach Grove is a winner, with it’s small eating stalls, green grass, palm trees it has the feel of a an exotic festival. It was low tide and you walk forever into the sea.
The Mola Mola Express was delayed. Of course it was. We were supposed to leave at 16.30, and finally did at 17.15. It was still low tide, and while our boat had arrived at 16.30, he couldn’t get close enough to the shore. My boat is big, said the Mola Mola man, so we waited and saw all these other speedboats jump the cue, their passengers embarked and they left. I did not care too much, as there was a lot of activity going on the beach and in the surf. The crews of the different companies had to push the boats in the shallow water and line them up. Gasoline was dragged to the ships on trolleys, along I guess with everything else the domestic and tourist industry needs: mainly coca-cola. A couple of Balinese caught some minuscule omong omong, tiny crabs that kept the kids busy. Finally we waded to the surf and got on the boat. Inside a small Indonesian boy was barfing already. 45 minutes bumping on the waves wa not Ella’s favorite part of the journey.