bye bye lovina, hello again sanur.

Posted in bali, indonesia, lovina, sanur by moonwire on July 12, 2009

My last week in Lovina was really fantastic. I met a Dutch guy at the Angsoka hotel,  Paul. He will stay in Lovina for 2 months and work as a teacher at a local school. When I met him at the pool, we started talking and we hung out for the rest of the week and it was a lot of fun. One morning we went into the village in the mountains on the motorbike and it was amazing. No tourists there, just local people. The views were stunning and the smell of dried cloves was all around. That’s what the real Bali is about, though Lovina was really pretty quiet the whole time I was there.

Roasting ‘babi guling’ (suckling pig) on Lovina Beach.

That night we went back into the village because some dude by the name of ‘Jimi Hendrix’ swindled us into going to a song and dance performance by a bunch of local kids. It sounded really good. He even let us read a testimonial by some woman who had been there before. Well, when they started I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. It was so out of tune and void of any consistent rhythm and LOUD. The girls were yawning away and well, we were laughing away. Especially when they invited the guests to join in with the dancing. Only one woman hit the dance floor. Oh my god! She was wearing a longish yellow t-shirt, that resembled a bad nighty at best. You could see her big white underwear riding up her ass right through it. It was like a car crash. Didn’t want to look, but also couldn’t look away. Though the performance itself was pretty chaotic, it was great to see the kids from the village watching from the sidelines. And well, it was an evening I’ll never forget.

Sunset at Lovina Beach.

On Friday morning I had to leave Lovina in order to go to Sanur. I didn’t want to make the entire journey from Lovina to Denpasar airport in one stretch. As it turned out, it only took 3.5 hours to get to Sanur. The same amount of time it took me to get to Lovina from Ubud. So I got here really early. I had booked a room at the Swastika bungalows again. I couldn’t get the cheapo room I had before so I had to shell out for the privilege of having A/C (prefer a fan, actually), hot water, a telly with 13 horrible, cheesy channels.

It’s amazing how different Sanur is compared to 3 weeks ago. Three weeks ago it was very quiet. Hardly any people and now the place is packed. My neighbours, Australians, have 2 small kids and they scream and throw things and they all speak loud. I can hear every single word. Australian tourists are definitely not my faves in general. I never thought I would say it but the Dutch people are the least annoying in general. I must say I’m glad to leave Sanur tomorrow. I cannot imagine staying here for more than 2 days. I really think Lovina is a gem and I hope it will never become anything like Sanur in high season.

View from my balcony at the Swastika bungalows in Sanur.

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lovina (part 2)

Posted in bali, indonesia, lovina by moonwire on July 6, 2009

I’ve been almost 3 weeks in Lovina now, and though last week I had a bit of a feeling that I was beached out, it pretty quickly faded away. I’m loving it here. My days are simple. I wake up around 7 am, get brekkie, go to the pool til about noon, go to my room and chill out a bit, get lunch, go back to either the pool or the beach and watch the sunset at the beach. Back to my room to get dressed for dinner. After dinner a night swim at the pool (so lovely, nobody there, the pool has lights under water). Then go for a walk through town or stay at my bird cage and have a Bintang. By 10 pm it’s bed time.

At first I thought I want to go to the big temple, the hot springs, Singaraja… but hell no. I love doing nothing. I’m never bored.

I did only one thing and that was taking a cooking class. It was really cool. Putu, the chef, picked me up at my hotel at 8.30, we then went to the market to buy the ingredients for our dishes. We then hopped into a bemo, which is a small mini bus with benches on both sides. It’s what the locals use for their ‘public transport’. And yes, they take anything and everything on board with them. And while the bus maybe seats 8, you’ll find yourself squeezed in with 10 others and some livestock. You get the idea.

Putu looking for potatoes at the local market.

Anyway, after we got off the bemo, we walked through the village to Putu’s house. His wife was already busy preparing the garlic. So we decided on making nasi goring, vegetable curry, Balinese potato fritters and gado gado. It wasn’t hard at all. Only the grinding of the pepper, hot peppers and garlic took me some effort but it was a lot of fun. As soon as we had prepared all the basic pastes, we got cooking. Hmmm the smells. It turned out great and the food was yummy. It was a lot of fun.

Putu’s wife Sari, who had just fried the peanuts for the gado-gado sauce.

The finished product!

Balinese cooking princess at work.

Other than that, as I said I don’t do much. I met a Dutch guy here, Paul, who’s in Lovina (also staying at the Angsoka hotel) for 2 months and he does some part time teaching here (he’s a teacher in Holland). We’ve had great talks and shared some good food and drinks. It’s really nice to meet people like him. I just find it funny that he’s also Dutch. The other really cool people I met were also Dutch (the ones I met in Legian).

Yet another sunset at Lovina Beach.

So, that’s pretty much it. I’m off to Sanur for 1 night on Friday. The drive from Lovina all the way to the airport is just too long. Especially since I’ll arrive in Kuala Lumpur late at night. I’ll be in Kuala Lumpur for 4 nights, then I’m off to Yogyakarta. I had the greatest difficulty finding a hotel there. All booked. Then my friend Ami, who lives in Jakarta, told me that weekend is a long weekend for Indonesians and they flock to tourist places. I should have researched this better as I would have taken the train to Singapore and fly out from Singapore after the long weekend. But oh well. It’s done now. I only have 4 nights booked at the Ministry of Coffee in Yogya. It seems like a really really nice place, but it costs me my daily budget. I’ll have to think of another place to go in East Java before I head to Pangandaran, west of Yogya, on the coast for a few days of relaxing on the beach.

Oh yes, I do have a really nice tan.

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lovina (part 1)

Posted in bali, indonesia, lovina by moonwire on June 30, 2009

I left Ubud on Wednesday morning to go up to North Bali, Lovina Beach to be precise. Lovina is located about 10 km west of Bali’s second largest city, Singaraja. Though the drive was long, almost 4 hours (for 40 kilometres) and mostly through tiny villages and rice paddies, all this in a bumpy mini bus, it was stunning. Originally I wanted to make a stop in Bedugul to see  Mount and Lake Bratan, but when I got there, I was glad I hadn’t. It was definitely chilly up there. Though the scenery was stunning, there wouldn’t be any swimming in the lake. So we kept on going through the mountains, seeing many monkeys, driving through the clouds til we finally hit Singaraja. Then finally, after we drove through the city, the road was actually quite decent and the last 10 kilometres were a breeze.

I had booked a hotel from Sanur already, the Angsoka, which I found quickly. This town is so small, it really only consists of a few streets. There’s quite a few restaurants and hotels, but they are all pretty empty.

So, someone from the hotel took me to my room. I had to laugh a little because this hotel has some really nice bungalows and rooms and there was just one rice barn style bird cage. The bird cage was mine. For 5 bucks a night, I didn’t expect much, but it’s actually really cute. It’s about 2 by 2 metres. There’s a double bed and one little table, a fan and that’s it. In the back I have a tiny little patio with one (quite comfy) chair and a table. My bathroom is right next to it on the ground floor. It’s almost as big as my room, though I wish it was as nice. There’s only cold water, a flushing toilet (which I didn’t expect) , a mandi (a big bucket with a scoop to clean yourself after you do your business. They gave me a bog roll as well, but I’ve grown to love the mandi since I visited  Gili Meno.

My bird cage bungalow.

The pool is fabulous. Especially at night, when the underwater lights are on and nobody is there. I make great use of it. Especially since the beach isn’t all that appealing for sunbathing and swimming. When the tide is low, it’s very hard to swim and because the beach is made up from grey-ish black volcanic sand, it gets incredibly hot. I like walking on it. I just don’t like to go swimming there. There’s also too many people wanting to sell you all kinds of crap. From sarongs and clothing to bracelets and dolphin tours (dolphin ‘hunting’ is the big tourist thing here).

The Dolphin Monument at Lovina Beach.

So I basically spend my time at the pool; reading and swimming, going for walks before and after lunch and going back to the pool in the afternoon again. Then get some dinner, then back to the pool for some more swimming and the occasional Bintang.

I like it a lot here. It’s really chilled out and relaxed. No free wifi anywhere, though. You gotta buy pre-paid cards and the connection is flaky and it’s relatively expensive. I have decided I’m gonna stay here til I’m really bored of it though going to another beach town in Bali will be the same kind of deal.

There’s a lot of little warungs here with cheap, authentic food. That’s where the locals eat. I eat there, too. There’s usually just one big table and you just sit down. A dish like nasi goreng (fried rice with a fried egg and prawn crackers) is only about a dollar. And I’m pretty sure the dollar is only because I’m a tourist and therefore, chances are that I get over charged. It still amazes me that you can live here on 10 bucks a day, including a large beer.

Doing great here.  The sun always shines. The water in the pool is fresh and warm.  I have a nice tan. I’m happy here. The only problem is mosquitos. I wear long pants and long sleeves at night. Luckily it actually gets quite chilly here after the sun goes down.

Rice paddies off the main street in Lovina.

As for the food… never thought I’d say it, but I’m getting bored with nasi goreng and gado gado. Not that I don’t like it, but there’s not a lot variety.  However, just around the corner there’s a fabulous Thai restaurant,  Jasmine Kitchen run by a small group of very nice women. They have the big cushions and the low tables and they always play chill out tunes and there’s cats running around. I seriously had one of the best curries ever there. Their pad thai is also excellent. They also serve some really good Illy coffee and they always have the Jakarta post.  The service is immaculate and oh, they serve ginger tea with big pieces of real ginger (60 cents for a big pot). That place is a little gem, and because it’s in an alley and not on one of the main streets, it’s never busy (then again, the only place I’ve seen busy is the Sea Breeze Cafe. Though its location, right on the beach is fantastic, the food is pricy and mediocre.

‘Kuching kecil’ at Jasmine Kitchen.

In the next instalment of my exciting life here I’ll tell about the Balinese cooking class I took 🙂

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