Well I struggled awake this morning at 5:00. Not because I had been anywhere the night before (for too long anyway) mind you. Just some vivd dreams kept me awake at times in the night. My old nightmare used to be about a white Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing me (must have mashed Harryhauser movies with the Moby Dick novel I was reading at the impressionable age of 8). Nowadays its about putting things down and leaving them somewhere, fruitlessly trying to locate them. Basically how I go about every day in my waking hours.
Struggled awake anyway and was out by 5:20, biking over in what I hoped was the general direction of Sanur so I could catch the dawn as the sun rose on the east side of Bali, Sanur being on the east coast of the long promontory that is the site of most tourist development in Bali.
The road was calm, not the daily frenzy that makes Bali's main roads resemble Jakarta. This helped, because finding your way and driving on the left (wrong) side of the road and dealing with traffic all while trying to find mostly imprecise road signs is, frankly, a challenge. Best time to explore is the very early morning. Problem was, I was too late, of course - the sun rises earlier than the forty minutes or so I was taking to discover the way to the open beach at Sanur. One false turn, one rapid rush to shelter to escape a light rain shower, and I made it.
The horizon was deep with dark storm clouds, the sun itself barely glimmering through the foreboding, high fronted clouds. I had hoped for a bright and sparkling dawn; instead it was a turbulence of stirred emotions, the sun battling with tempest. I set up the tripod, which had rattled its way with me on the bike, and tried to shoot for something interesting.
There were people out early - teenage girls resting in the two kiosks atop a stone platform, mothers walking their babies into the warn, shallow water, fishermen-turned-guides readying up for another catch as they shuttled air cylinders to day trip boats moored offshore. The most bemusing was a group of five middle aged Japanese tourists sitting in shallow water in a rough circle, discussing something with great earnestness. All the while the skies above us wheeled with dark clouds that threatened a deluge, held magically at bay by the sun's yellow light. It made for some interesting and unexpected contrasts.
After a couple of hours, I headed back home, fulling expecting a tropical rainstorm to chase my heels and beat on my back at any moment. It didnt't happen, the clouds lightening and slipping away from this part of the island.
In the late afternoon I went over to the beach at Seminyak to shoot the sunset. This time the clouds had lumped themselves together; the sun was hard pressed to make any meaningful light - everything was flat and faded away.
I hadn't been on the beach this side, which essentially is the same as at Kuta but further up. The sand itself is coffee colored, with strong accents of dark grey. Maybe it lightens in the day, but the areas where many of the locals were playing very intense games of beach soccer were almost coal dark with volcanic ash. The beachfront was alive with people. Other than the soccer players, there were hawkers offering ship-shaped kites and rings of dried biscuits as tourists ran, walked and jogged their way along. The water often curled in deep along the broad fronted beach. Playing at my feet, it was the softest gentlest touch - until it tugged away to return to the ocean and then I found the sand pulled away from under me. Red flags advertized t regular intervals that it was dangerous to swim in the ocean. With the fast currents and booming surf I could understand why, but this didnt stop children running into the rippling eddies, or their parents build sandcastle follies, or the determined brave the surf to ride atop a board in the last moments of the day.
With many days in the sun, at work and at play, the youths are tremendously athletic and deeply tanned. Their bright-dark eyes and a winningly welcome smile truly makes you feel you are in some Pacific island, so maybe the old refrain about this being Bali, not Bali Hai, is a little mistaken. There is a certain redolence, a pleasure in the moment, a glance of an eye, that is the hallmark of all tropical idylls. I could certainly live here awhile and let the turbulent world without remain there, jut over the horizon with the storms that threatened all day, but somehow left this perfumed, graceful island alone for another day.
Again going home to dump the foto gear and download fotos, I also picked up my laundry so I'm set for the week ahead. Twice now, as I bike over, I can hear a frenetic chirp in the fields. I first thought this was some sort of bitd, bt it turns out the sound comes from a small frog, severla of twice I discovered crossing the bumpy, potholed track that leads up to the main road.
Dinner was at the Cosa Nostra, an Italian pizzeria with wood fired oven. I had passed by several times, only to see it is mostly empty even though another Italian pizzeria on another crossroad to Raya Seminyak is overfull. This time I stopped to see if the pizza was any good. It was - the dough is fine and the topping is OK, which outside Italy is always a challenge. They need to add a little more olive oil and basilico, but otherwise OK. And yes, the owner is Italian - but he doesnt work here. Seems to be a rule, this.
Past the guys who at night are tearing up the paving stones on the sidewalk so as to make the road a chaos for the next few weeks, and I return home again. To find my Mac charger/transformer is blown. Grrr.....