Touring the mountains in Bali


Bali is proving to be a fruitful place to receive visitors and the trend continues with Ron and Tina from Santa Barbara, California who came in on Tuesday morning. I met up with them Wednesday night with some friends at a little place on Jalan Kunti off of Jalan Legian one of whom was Mick Turnbull, owner of Indo Bike Adventures. Tina and Ron are in Bali only for 5 days after a whirlwind tour of Nepal and Thailand and wanted to see something other than Kuta. I called Mick and he came over to meet us and we planned a little trip up to Lovina on the north coast of Bali. Thursday was Mick’s only day off work and I really appreciated him spending his time showing us round.

Ron and Mick went off to rent a Tiger 200 motorbike that he would share with Tina and I met them at Mick’s at around 9am. Mick’s girlfriend Jasmine was recovering from a cold and could not join us unfortunately, but I look forward to her company on future trips.

Covering up to protect ourselves from the sun we wore an assortment of long sleeve shirts, convertible pants and a heavy dose of factor 45. I had bought a pollution mask hoping to filter out some of the noxious fumes that fill the air on Balinese roads.

We headed off to Tanah Lot on the SW coast. I’d visited before but it was a nice stop off for Tina and Ron. Once again, the vendors look almost bewildered at the lack of tourists and with most of them replicating each other’s products they are all competing on a lowest price basis, assuming they can get a tourist who actually wants something on offer.

This a was steamy day for sure and we were all perspiring, bottled water came in handy.

Tanah Lot has this famous temple that is cut off at high tide and also some spectacular coastline just the other side of the point.

Hitting the road again we shot up the ‘hell road’ from Tanah Lot to Tabanan to Antosari. This is heavily trafficed with dump trucks belching smoke and buses populating the road. We were on our way to visit our friend Maurice on his property in Balian on the beach. I’d never seen Maurice’s spread and was very impressed. The property is surrounded on 3 sides by a river and runs down to the beach. We crossed the shallow stream using piles of rocks and hiked up the hill to see Maurice’s 2 storey bamboo cottage….I want a place like this!

Maurice had guests but kindly offered us a seat. This is one relaxing place let me tell you and pretty soon Ron was asleep on the floor. Maurice’s dog fell asleep too after I stepped on his ear. What a great place, stroll past the cows onto the beach and windsurf or do whatever. I really felt this was what westerners think of when they say paradise.

Located next door is a stone decorated bathroom which Maurice says he will connect to the house with a slide into the bathtub!

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Maurice suggested we eat at a little place around the corner called the Globe and we did, freshing ourselves before the ride into the mountains.

Mick and I talked about what Ron and Tina might enjoy and of course the ‘hidden waterfall’ was an obvious choice. Today’s visit was different from my last trip because of the weather and we were able to hike right in from the road. I’m still not going to tell you the location but I’d be happy to talk about it over an Arak Madu or have Mick take you on one of his Indo Bike Adventure Tours.

Once again the locals were out doing their thing and smiled and waved. I was glad that in such a short space of time Ron and Tina were able to escape the tourist scene and talk to locals in an environment were they were relaxed and not selling anything. Mick is a great guide and shows great patience with me for going slow and allowing his guests to stop and take photos.

Fruits of all kinds seem to grow here including coffee which is on the slopes of the waterfall and coconuts. These ladies were working hard at hauling their load to the highway.

The folks who owned the little shop we visited last time were hanging out eating and taking care of business.

We met this lady on the route to the waterfall who gave us a bunch of small bananas. I like the sombrero. Furthur along the path a father and 2 daughters were taking their shower in the water channel that had been built. They all laughed as we passed and took their photo.

Ron, Mick and I swam in the waterfall and it was great, chilly for sure but I needed that to get the road grime off.

Back on the road we could feel the sunset was only an hour or so away and headed for Lovina on the north coast.

Mick took us to a pretty nice called Hotel Nugrana Wisata right on the beach ( this might do for a BootsnAll end of year meeting ) and was completely empty except us 4. Upon arriving the staff greeted Mick as he’s been here before and served us orange juice. They were climbing over each other to be helpful and I’d recommend this place for a visit. Mick and I shared a room, private bath, twin beds and immediately went for a swim in the ocean followed by one in the pool. This was a great day for me. I am almost ashamed to admit it but after nearly 3 months in Bali this was my first swim in the ocean. The beach at Lovina slopes very gently and although the water comes right up to the hotel’s wall you can walk out 50 yards at thigh level. The water was bathtub warm and I almost didn’t want to get out. There’s no surf on the north coast so swimming is safe. On the horizon we could see shrimp boats going to work.

Ron said he felt like a massage so we ordered 3 women from town to come down on their motorbikes ( no, they weren’t hookers ). The way we worked it was Mick and I shared one and Ron and Tina got their own.

I got about 20 minutes worth and it was okay, but I’d say the massage therapists at the DAC ( were I worked in Eugene, Oregon ) could do a way better job. Seemed to me the style of massage here was to smack on plenty of coconut oil and grind it into you using friction. I prefer the method where they use their thumbs etc. to pin point muscles and really loosen them up. Anyway, Mick got a better job than me as his took longer.

Driving a mile or so downtown we picked out a local restaurant and relaxed. We’d done quite a bit of riding today and the sun takes it out of you.