Trip to Ulu Watu


Today I decided that Internet Outpost wasn't where I wanted to spend my Sunday, I spend most other days here and felt like a change. The choice for adventure was Ulu Watu, the famous surf spot on the western tip of that chunk of land that sticks out at the southern end of Bali. After hitting Moka Cafe for my coffee & bread fix I jumped on the bike and took the bypass road past Kuta in the direction of Nusa Dua and then to Ulu Watu. Realising the ride might take an hour I wore my Berghaus jacket for some sun protection. A lot of locals wear sweaters and jackets while riding for the same reason. I soon realised that my upper thighs which are a milky white were getting more exposure than normal.

There’s a big roundabout in Kuta with a statue in the middle called the Dewa Ruci statue. As I went one way down the road, then made a U-turn (you have to, whoever made this roundabout was on drugs) when I came to a police road block. They siganalled for me to stop and asked for my registration. I gave them my licence and registration and the officer said no worries you can go. Pretty cool, no BS.

Getting to Ulu Watu was actually quite pleasant. Once I left the main road to Nusa Dua traffic was light and it was hilly country lanes. I could see locals chilling out next to the road in their bamboo shelters, enjoying a peaceful afternoon with family. The road took a fair amount of time to navigate and I enjoyed the freedom of speeding up and slowing down without having another motorcycle up my ass.

I followed some surfers along a road and then stopped at the side of the road at Wayan ‘s shop for a melon drink and a donut. Wayan and I exchanged a few comments in Bahasa and she got back to making the offerings she had going.

I finally reached a small parking area at the end of the road where surfers were heading off to the beach, there weren’t too many but there was a shelter with ladies selling drinks and t-shirts. “If you buy t-shirt you buy from me,” one lady suggested.

Strolling down a long flight of steps to the beach I passed another shop owned by Nancy. She spoke quite good English and had obviously been around foreigners for a while. Her style was to smile a lot and offer the items she had. I bought an Air minum (bottle of water).

Ulu Watu is one of the most famous surfing locations in Bali. There is a selection of businesses on the cliffs ranging from nicer places to bamboo shacks offering food and massage. I took a few pictures and sat under the shelter and drank a mango drink. A lady immediately wanted to massage my shoulders. I’m a pretty uptight guy, at least that’s what my friends tell me so I said what the heck, go for it. While she was massaging I snapped the locals who were hanging around. Business was clearly down and this one lady calling herself Peanut tried really hard to sell me beads and other items. I’m just not interested in chick stuff, sorry.

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I watched a few foreigners and locals come back from the beach and take advantage of the services on offer. Slow times must make a few people wonder where their future lies.

Heading back to the highway I took a side road that looked like it might lead to something interesting. There was a huge statue and a 2 lane road. The strangest thing was the road seemed to be in a state of disrepair and for some reason all the trees were cut down. I saw a guy loading his truck with rocks from the highway and asked him what was going on. He said maybe the locals got mad with the owner. This road lead to a hotel / golfcourse. I asked if the owner was a Balinese or a ‘Bule’. He said “No Tommy Suharto.” That explains a lot.

Riding back I saw I needed to cover my chicken legs with something and tied my jacket around my waist like a skirt. What a strange beast I must of looked like. Riding back down the lanes I passed my second police shelter of the day and they of course pulled me over. After checking my licence and reg they said ‘Okay boss’ and I took off. They were very nice about it but were looking for some reason to fine me.

Heading back to Kuta I passed a sign for Jimbaron where my friend Ebong lives, I turned left towards Kuta onto a main road. After a couple of miles I came to large intersection, I was in the fast lane and stopped at the red light. I have to make sure this is going to Kuta I thought and asked the guys on the bike next to me. They pointed to the left and I knew I had to get over before the light hit green. I indicated and was looking for an opening when a cop with a whistle came up to me and said ‘come with me’. Oh shit, I thought, these monkeys are just out to get you. Inside his little booth I explained I was heading for Kuta, had stopped in the wrong lane and was indicating that I wanted to turn left after realising my mistake. He said ‘you have to pay fine, you want to go to court or pay now. He wrote me a bogus ticket which he would not let me keep and wrote 50,000rp in the total column. I explained again that I was just indicating that I wanted to change lanes. He said ‘you can’t turn from that lane, you must pay fine’. Oh well, I don’t want to waste a day explaining this to a judge so I paid. This money is going straight in the cop’s pocket have no doubt. His superior will probably get a cut for giving him the book of tickets.

If you come to Bali you will have to contend with this too when riding a bike, it’s a corrupt country.

Still the guy wasn’t threatening and offered me a choice.

I navigated downtown Kuta no worries and shot up Jalan Pantai Kuta along the beach to Poppies II. Stopping in at Internet Outpost I touched base with Ika at the desk then went home to grab my laptop. Work never stops.

I am going to visit Armadi at Captain Haddock to drop off some pictures and then will eat somewhere cheap.