East Bali really is the part of the island that I love coming to. Getting out to Candi Dasa, the colors just seem brighter, maybe its because the amount of tall trees and vegetation, outnumber the buildings.
Cruising through Candi Dasa on the way home, I had decided to take a circular way back, passing through the district capital, Amlapura, heading towards Rendang, and taking the SW road through Sideman. The route is signposted, and if you need to ask locals for directions, they are cool. The deal with driving in Bali, is that the map will show a road going straight through a village, whereas in reality it may be a T-junction, or a ‘Y’ junction.
Sideman is known for it sawah (rice fields). I’d say they may not be spectacular, but are scenic and taking a slow winding course through the area is relaxing. Spotting a roadside satay vendor, perched precariously on a bamboo platform, I decided it was time for some soul food. This lady’s name is Nengah, and she had ikat laut (mashed sea fish on a stick) as well as some other kind of satay (felt like turtle after I ate it).
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Nengah’s young son, rode his bicycle up and down the street, which was risky, as the locals come roaring down every minute or so. Nenah told me the price for 10 sticks, rice and a small water was 10,000rp. I laughed and said “mahal sekali!” (very expensive). We agreed on 5,000rp, she still charging me more than locals most likely. This snack was the best thing I are in East Bali the whole weekend. Fiery hot, simple and tasty, well worth the time I stopped and a lesson for the future. If you are exploring Bali, stop and enjoy the roadside satay and fresh fruit that is sold.
As the scenic Sideman road met up with the main road, the route took me down the eastern side of Klungkung. Following that road and reaching the coast, I rode for a another couple of miles in the direction of Padangbai (away from Kuta). Right there was the entrance to the new Kusamba Bypass. I tell you, its like a dream when you see this thing! Riding through klungkung /
Gianyar / Denpasar, is something I just don’t want to do. This Bypass, which is a 4 lane highway, allows me to jump on in East Bali and ride almost all the way to my house in Seminyak, without using surface streets!
While riding back I noticed the unending line of dump trucks carrying dirt. There is a lot of construction going on in the tourist part of the island, and they need dirt, sand, limestone and rocks. The village of Yeh Gangga, the place I visited a couple of weeks ago, has a cottage industry of sorting the same size rocks into sacks, ready for export. Negotiating the road with these trucks, is something you have to deal with. The fact that speeders in fast cars, occasasionally whip down the center line coming the other way, encouraged me to overtake the trucks on the inside. My 100cc bike, was up to the task of overtaking in the fast lane, when I had the space.
Kusamba Bypass will get you from Kuta, to Padangbai, via Sanur in about 90 minutes if you maintain a decent speed.