Well, we’ve been back in Brisbane for just over a month now and much has happened since our return, but that will constitute the another blog update.
For now we go back to Bali and the adventures of my small, slightly crazy and ever so beautiful family.
On the last blog update you may remember me mentioning we were going to hire a car and drive our crazy butts up to the North West coast to a place called Pemuteran.
Well, I did it!!
I drove across Bali and we all survived. Woohoo!
Actually, it was huge fun.
I love that feeling of being completely outside of my comfort zone. I’ve learnt how to make it my friend rather than my foe. I’ve learnt the art of moving with it rather than resisting or worse, altogether avoiding.
After the car was delivered almost two hours late after breaking down with a flat battery (better them than me) we headed off with our trusty GPS, that kept falling off the windscreen and ended up a passenger on the front seat – but it worked! I made both kids sit in the back seat too…. You know, just in case.
As we wove around blind corners and narrow streets, I was sure Miss GPS was having a meltdown and seriously malfunctioning, but that’s just the road system in Bali. You can’t expect major thoroughfares to transport you from town to town like we are accustomed to.
The first challenge was to find an ATM and a petrol station. The car had been delivered with very little fuel and the car hire company only took cash. That of course meant I needed a ‘proper’ petrol station as I now had no cash instead of the roadside bottle version scattered everywhere, and it also meant we were at real risk of running out before we found one. Stuck with no petrol and no cash in the middle of Bali was not something I wanted to have to deal with, although I’m sure it would make for an entertaining story at some point.
Anyway, it meant the first half hour was a little tense but then a convenience store appeared on the right side of the road (might have meant I scared the kids a little when I did a quick right hand turn into the driveway across traffic – but hey, that’s normal driving over here!) that had an ATM and then a proper petrol station appeared a little further on the left (again, not much warning).
Sorted! Breath now!
Bit of an interesting drive up through Bedugal and Lake Bratan with some challenging inclines, twists and bends to keep us entertained. Some gorgeous views and a few random colonies of macaque monkeys along the way, then down some pretty crazy descends around some of the windiest roads I’ve driven on, especially the way they drive here!
An impromptu stop at Gitgit Falls was just what we needed after a couple of hours in the car where we were rewarded with some pretty magical scenery and a good stretch of the legs. Only wish we had towels and swimming gear with us to make the most of it.
Back in the car and down to the coastal town of Lovina.
So…. I’m sitting at the lights waiting for them to turn green and a motorbike pulls up next to me and tells me to follow him for a great spot to eat lunch.
Now, I know he’d be on commission etc. and he’s ‘hustling’ but hey, another chance to break the journey and see something different, so we decide to follow him, wondering what we’re now getting ourselves into.
Well, we drive down towards the water to this road/track that runs along the waterfront and he shows me where I can park the car. It’s stunning!
I ask him if he takes credit card as I’m out of cash again due to petrol and a small limit at the ATM. He doesn’t but offers to ride me down to the nearest ATM, so we settle into a roof top view overlooking the sea, order our meals and then head off on the back of the bike to grab some cash.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do have a moment where I think “what sort of mother am I leaving my children at a restaurant on their own while I get on the back of a motor bike with a complete stranger in an area I don’t know!?”
But this is actually not the first time I’ve jumped on the back of a motorbike to get cash in Asia. I’m pretty sure it’s happened in Thailand and in Laos, so it wasn’t a completely foreign concept and we’re in Bali!
Clearly it ended well. Although at one point I was a little fearful weaving in and out of the traffic and alongside cars with no more than a few inches between us.
We had a lovely relaxing lunch and then headed off along the coast to Pemuteran.
A risk taken that rewarded us with a lovely experience and an entertaining afternoon.
I have to say I was glad to get out of that car when we arrived at our resort, Amertha Villas, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
A relaxing afternoon and evening followed, with a walk along the beach, a swim in the pool and a delicious dinner at the local Santai Warung recommended on Trip Advisor.
Most people visit Pemuteran as a jumping off point for Menjangen Island where diving and snorkeling are said to be fabulous, but we were advised we had come at the right time to just try our luck off the beach, so we did.
And rewarded we were. The water was clear, no rubbish (as there sometimes is) and a plethora of sea life to enchant us as we swam around for quite a few hours.
The locals are building a coral nursery too, to rejuvenate and further enhance the area, which was wonderful to see.
It was Miss P’s first time snorkeling and what a treat that was.
It’s an awesome feeling when you can show your children something new and magical in the world. Her ‘this is the best day of my life!’ outburst whilst we treaded water is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
The kids were completely exhausted by the end of that day, snorkeling for hours, devouring a huge lunch (Hungry Army café – very good) and then swimming in the pool for the rest of the afternoon. It didn’t take long for them to go to sleep that night.
More snorkeling the following day, late check out and then the drive back to Ubud.
I’ve worked out that while the traffic in Bali seems chaotic and crazy, it actually does have a flow. You get into that flow and it becomes easy.
It’s courteous too, in the sense that all that honking and beeping is to let others around them know that they are there. It’s not aggressive at all.
Most of the traffic runs at a pretty safe speed and they are pretty forgiving of each other too.
The scariest aspect for me was actually realizing that I like driving in Asia. I’ve driven in Thailand, Malaysia and now Bali. It seems to suit me…… hmmmm….. not sure what that says about my driving.
Love facing those fears!
Climbing a volcano on the next blog.
I’m such a geology nerd. Love me some rocks, thermal steam and seismic activity.