BALINESE GETAWAY#1: NAPIER PRISON REUNION
Bali has been on my mind for a few years now. Often you can hear the word ‘paradise’ associated with ‘happiness’, ‘culture’, ‘peace of mind’ and ‘amazing landscapes’.
That’s why when Gina asked me to come with her to Bali, on her stopover to fly back to Germany, I cheerfully answered YES. I jumped with joy when I figured out that Selena will be coming as well: I’m going to be reunited with my Napier Girls!
I worked hard as a Kitchen Hand, then as a Banana Girl to afford the plane tickets (almost 1000$ return ticket, what a kiwi would call a good deal) and decided to enjoy this getaway fully when I booked to stay there for THREE WEEKS.
I land in Denpasar in the beginning of the evening after two flights. First thing I notice: it’s hot in here. Second thing: I’m not even out of the airport yet that many (many) taxi drivers are assaulting me and yelling ‘Taxi, Taxi!’ at my face. Too much racket. I’m shaking my head, mumbling ‘No, thank you’ and end up negotiating a taxi ride in front of the building. Erwan told me I would have to negotiate everything in here. It’s already tiring me. On the way to my hostel, in Kuta, there’s noise, flashing lights everywhere, people everywhere. I’m completely overwhelmed, Kuta is blowing up on my face.
I’m joining Selena, who’s arrived the day before, and Gina is landing the day after. I’m all excited about seeing my friends from Napier again! Selena is now in Australia with another Working Holiday Visa and Gina is going back home, in Germany. We booked our nights at the Funky Monkey hostel which has the nice advantage to have a pool and free pancakes all day long.
Kuta is charmless. The beach is not even that beautiful, it’s just crowded with tourists and party youngsters. We still take the opportunity of a surf lesson (I managed to stand up for about 3 and a half seconds on the board, woop woop!) and discover the local cuisine.
TANAH LOT & ULUWATU
Since we’re in Kuta for a few days, we should as well enjoy the most of it. So we had few escapades on a taxi with private drivers (and actually that’s really cheap when you’re sharing the car) and been to two famous temples in the surroundings: Tanah Lot and Uluwatu.
Pura Tanah Lot is a Hindu temple located on a small island only reachable when the tide is low. ‘Tanah Lot’ means ‘Land of the Sea’ in the Balinese language. It was built in the XVIth Century on the initiative of a priest who used to come on that rock to worship the sea gods. The place is crowded with tourists and appreciated by photographers, that’s really easy to see why for the place is sublime. In the cave under the temple, you can get blessed by a Hindu priest in exchange for a small donation which helps to maintain the temple. The priest put a little bit of (holy?) water on my forehead then stick on it few grains of rice. He also put a frangipani flower (the symbol of the island) behind my ear.
As for the Pura Luhur Uluwatu, it’s populated with monkeys. You have to watch your belongings for the monkeys are sneaky thieves and could be very aggressive. We witness the theft of some lady’s sunglasses, and the scene is both comical and alarming. Puru Uluwatu is located at the top of a cliff, overlooking the sea, at the south of Kuta, on the Bukit peninsula. This temple is also dedicated to the sea gods. The strolling around is very pleasant, and the view, between sea and sky, completely magical, especially with all those dragonflies flying in the air.
By visiting those two temples, we slowly start to reach what we have dreamt of Bali. A typically Balinese architecture, a green jungle and some breathtaking sunsets.
JIMBARAN & NUSA DUA
We also go to Jimbaran for a beach dinner, feet in the sand and spend a day at Nusa Dua, the resorts paradise. The beach here is wonderful, immaculate, and there’s almost nobody on it. I see some workers cleaning it… The fancy hotels succeed one another and my frustration is exploding right here. On the beach. Kuta, its parties, its racket, this beach with no one, all of those hotels and those Balinese people thinking I’m rich because I’m white, everything is blowing up. That’s a relief to hear that Gina and Selena are feeling quite the same.
In order to soothe my pain, we make a detour to see the Pasifika Museum. Which is weirdly empty when you think of the quality of its art collection: it seems that building a museum right in the middle of a resorts neighbourhood is not the best idea of the Century (I mean, seriously guys?) The Pasifika has a wide range of splendid arts from the Pacific and some Europeans artists are well exposed, such as Theo Meier, Gauguin, Matisse, Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres, etc.
We spend our last night at the Espresso Bar where a local band is singing international covers (‘maybeeeee, you’re gonna be the one that saves meeeeee’), and we dance like we’re back at the Napier’s Thirsty Whale.
We can’t wait to discover Ubud.
You can also read my Balinese adventures in English on Selena’s blog: SelenaInNZ
LET’S GO THERE!:
FUNKY MONKEY/CAPTAIN GOOSE, Jl. Poppies 1 Gg. Bedugul No. 10A, Kuta
ESPRESSO BAR (LIVE MUSIC), Jl. Legian, Kuta
MUSEUM PASIFIKA, Complex Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) Area Block P, Kuta