Moving on to the first real outing of my trip, it took around two and a half hours to get down to the beach, maybe three depending on how lost I got. There were many times I’d end up lost down some dead-end street because Google Maps said that it went through only to end up in a field going nowhere. By the end of the trip I had a very Love-Hate relationship with Google Maps. Surprisingly enough, though, getting lost brought me to some of the most beautiful places.
Once again, it was strange being the only white person around, but eventually, I got used to it. The Balinese people always did their best to try and help you understand whatever it was they were talking about. I was very impressed by how many of them spoke English and started feeling really dumb that I hadn’t learned any Indonesian before I came. So I decided to try and learn at least the basics. “Try” being the key word here. I learned a couple that I’m pretty sure I just butchered the pronunciation of and didn’t ever actually even try and speak it with anyone else, but it was a small victory just for myself.
As I first began regularly walking down I began figuring out which routes were the fastest without large amounts of traffic. The first couple of weeks I’m pretty sure I almost got ran over at least 10 times. Their traffic system there is a panic attack all on its own, but eventually, I got accustomed to which beeps meant what and the flow of the vehicles. I was a natural born tourist zig-zagging my way through hundreds of scooters and cars. I became very familiar with the area I was staying in and made sure to pay attention to landmarks and notable statues and signs. One being this statue of a tall lanky frog which I renamed “The Swanky Frog”. Swanky Frog helped out a lot in my time there. I had a picture of it before I dropped my phone into the ocean, therefore, unfortunately, it is lost forever, though I will always have the memory of Swanky Frog in my mind.
I found a really amazing coffee shop along my way and ended up going there for breakfast each time I went to the beach. They got used to having me around and when I ordered my cappuccino on my third visit they dropped it off and said, “Special, just for you”. It had a very beautiful intricate design on it and it was just the sweetest gesture. After I cooled down and stopped sweating from walking and had a cup of real coffee (opposed to instant coffee that I was living off at my Villa) I would make my way down to the beach. The first day I got to the beach I walked for three hours down the coast. The sun shining on my back with the cool salty ocean air was ideal walking conditions for me, and I just didn’t stop. I did that for the first few times that I got there. Peacefully walking with sand on my toes and the Beach Bar owners haggling me about taking surfing lessons and sitting in their chairs. Every couple of meters when you got to new coloured bean bags it meant a new person trying to offer you lessons. It was a little annoying at first, but honestly, they were all super nice and extremely funny too. One day I was walking back from the farthest point of the beach and I stopped to sit for a minute. I realized I was parched and I knew the Beach Bars sold water and drinks. I braved the awkward interaction and walked up the beach, prepared to only get a bottle of water and continue on my way. This ended up being one of the greatest decisions of my trip. On my way up I had a young man meet me half way. Prepared to refuse any surf lessons or renting chairs he’d offer, I simply just told him I needed a bottle of water. There was a group of Aussie’s sitting and laughing by the small “bar” which was just a large ice-cream freezer looking cooler. Some of the guys were speaking Balinese to him which made me feel even worse about my lack of vocabulary. He got me my bottle of water and told me I could sit. I was reluctant as I could easily sit on the sand for free, but he told me the chair would be free for me, just sit a while. So I did. I enjoyed the beach for a bit and then he came and sat with me. We chatted for a while and it was one of the first real conversations I’d had in a long time. I enjoyed his company for the time I was sitting, and at this point, it was probably getting to be around 12:30 PM- ish, which is then when he asked me if I wanted to go for lunch with him. I was somewhat skeptical as this is the first person I’ve met, not to mention I later found out that his name was Riski, but I couldn’t give up a chance to make a local friend. So I agreed. He said it was close by and that we would take his scooter. Scooter??? In this traffic?? But he was local right so he’s got to understand the Bali traffic, naturally. My first time ever being on a scooter and it was in Bali with a stranger.
We went to a spot where he says he goes all the time, an Italian place. We sat and we chatted and we also sat in silence. It wasn’t even an uncomfortable silence, it was just… nice. We made plans to go to Uluwatu Temple later in the week, we would take his scooter. After that, we went back to the beach and he told me that if I come back in the morning he’ll show me how to surf.
I arrived the next morning, squeezed into the surfing shirt and was in the water within twenty minutes. I ended up being in the water more than out of it on the surfboard, but that was expected. I had two good (still below average) runs and was proud of myself just for that. When I had first fallen in and sunk under I had forgotten that the ocean is indeed salty. The only ocean I’ve swam in was in Vancouver and I don’t think I’d ever actually dunked my head under, but I felt pretty dumb forgetting something like that and came up out of the water with red eyes and a not so good taste in my mouth. I’ve got to say though even with being completely awful at surfing it was the most fun thing I’d done in a while.
After the surfing lessons, I continued to sit at the bar for a bit just enjoying the view. I went and walked around the beach and around the shops and just got to admire the touristy area and tourists themselves for a bit. When I got back to the beach Riski said that we were going to go for a dinner at a sunset bar, so I waited around a little more and relaxed. When the sun started setting it was unreal. Looking into the ocean with miles of horizon was indescribable and pictures did not do it any justice. Riski and I then started walking to the restaurant and when we arrived we were shown to bean bag chairs and small tables with umbrellas and lanterns hanging along each one. It had to have been one of the greatest places I’ve ever eaten just atmosphere wise. Granted, it was literally just on the beach and was very small but nonetheless, it was spectacular. They had a live band playing western pop music like Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, except the band members, were, of course, Balinese or Indonesian therefore they didn’t get all the words right. It was an overall amazing experience and one of the best nights of my trip. I stayed out until about 9 PM, which had been the latest I’d stayed up during my entire trip, and then went home and fell asleep dreaming of coloured lanterns, the sound of the ocean and feeling grateful of my new friend.
I don’t have many pictures to share with you this post but I have a few from the beach, some of my walks and things I saw while walking to Canggu. Thanks for reading this novel of a post.