Sunday, June 23, 2013


Yes it's laborious, but you savour the mangosteen juice so much more when it's squeezed by hand, in the company of a mangy dog sitting in the kitchen and you're three tim-tams short because it's a communal fridge.

And when you don't want to labour, have someone else whack the top off a coconut and enjoy the water with lime, ice and the easy company of two of the loveliest people I know.

And when you've had it with the juice and the conversation has dried up, there's always the Bintang to get things going again.

Clocked off, responsibility free, anonymous and happy, that about sums up how I felt on Bali.

Time slowed way down with the days unfolding in to an easy rhythm that nurtured, soothed and restored parts of me that were floundering on Maui.  From day one, an imperfect ease, an acceptance of what is took residence lifting my spirit and fueled by the joys of the day, the simplicity of my existence and the sweetness of my surroundings. 

Not to mention the constant amusement, such as the local kite and surf shop.

And the love, laughs and brilliant connection with my most excellent travel companions.

On my last day the weather was bleak and as we walked back from dinner with the rain lashing, the lightning streaking and our umbrellas blowing inside out, it just felt like another perfect moment of surrender.

With a long layover at Incheon International I took full advantage of their facilities, including miming at the player piano. Play it again Sharon....."with pleasure"!

Back home and with a south swell pumping, I parked after work and looked at the large incoming set's. Compared to Bali they didn't seem that big, but I knew it was still way too big for me to even contemplate. But guess what,  I went out anyway and sat on the inside observing and grabbing the small stuff and that my friends, is progress.

One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


And on the seventh day, she surfed.

Andrea had a spare 6'6 fish, and despite it being 3' smaller than my stand-up and over a foot smaller than my long board, I thought, 'why not'? It was 21"wide and therefore stable enough for me to paddle, which I did..... for two hours every day for four days and I didn't catch one wave! But here's the best part, I didn't care because I was learning so much (mostly how little I know about surfing). 

The gap was still too wide between knowing what to do and doing it. I'm cautious and polite by nature and to improve at anything, sitting on the shoulder will get you nowhere and there's no greater teacher than surfing to show you that.

By the end of my fourth water day,  my 'not caring' free will was over ruled by my ego that couldn't handle the thought of leaving Bali without having caught a wave. So, despite my attachment to the superfish, it was clear I was surfing (well - paddling) out of my league and it was time for a bigger board. 

There was still a lot of this (nice blind paddling technique).........

....and not that much of this, but at least I was having some vertical moments. In hindsight I think the 7'6 was still too small and I should have just gone for an 8'. Still, in bigger conditions than I'm used to,  perhaps no board would have helped as I'm defiantly still on the beginning rung of the ladder.

How I wanted to stay, to ignore my responsibilities and focus on surfing for as long as my mind and body could hold out, just to see how far I would improve (my guess is a smidge). Still, the happiness of  being a five minute scooter ride from the water and getting wet everyday induced a joy that was more that I'd bargained for.

Despite the tag, this doesn't actually exude health and safety.

Back at the old homestead.

I kept Patrizia company while she prepared a small feast from the few fresh items found at the local Warung. These little shops are a hodgepodge of items, such as an extensive array of junk candy, highly processed random foods, petrol (stored in Vodka bottles), random plastic kitchen items and cigi's. So for us, the highly prized fresh produce became the focus of our daily menu.

Ta-da, a scrumptious lunch for three.

One paddler, two surfers, three happy musketeers.

My afternoons were spent hopping the old scooter and exploring. Or in this case, on a synchronistic ride with the only other person I knew in Bali.

The country is a mass of contradiction. Crazy nutcase driving, yet everyone smiles and there's not a hint of road rage. Dogs napping in the road seemingly glued to the tarmac, yet no road kill. Trash everywhere, but a real pride in sweeping the front step. Rice paddies in between western style construction. Heat and humidity that will blow your socks off, but real dignity in appearance and every piece of clothing is ironed. The building of Temples abounds, yet so many seem neglected and abandoned.

These huge lobsters were just $6.50 each (though they're priceless if left in the water). My laundry cost 50 cents as did a liter of petrol for my scooter. You're hard pressed to spend more than $7 for a slap up meal including a few beers and the unencumbered simplicity of life (compared to my own which seems positively excessive in comparison) was a refreshing relief.

Steering (punny) around the cows and dogs is all part of the fun.

Todays offering will be tomorrows trash......discuss.