Saturday marked a week of life in Bali and in all honesty, I feel like I've been here for a month. Every morning I wake up and think "Is this real life?" To sum up, Bali is my jam. I love everything about it and will be returning here someday soon for a period of time.
Outside of work and keeping up with loved ones, I have very few responsibilities. No need to clean, grocery shop, cook, or do laundry. My errands consist of going to Dojo (coworking space), getting a massage, some sun and keeping up with this blog... I'm assuming this will all wear off and change next month but for the next two weeks, I'm taking full advantage of the free time I have. There really isn't a typical day as every day has been so different. I have a lot of trips coming up to play more of the "tourist" role but for my first week as a Roamer, I've been getting to know the town of Canguu and everything it has to offer.
Everyday for the past week I've taken some time to walk or scoot down the main street in our little town. Energy and life on Bali streets is unlike anything I've ever experienced and I'm soaking it all in. Girls from all over the world are walking around in swimsuit tops, high waisted shorts, flowy dresses and the best accessory, deep tans and beachy waves. No one wears makeup or curls their hair. It's full on all natural. The guys all look like they came straight from the surf, caked with zinc on their faces and hair a mess. Unique boutiques, restaurants, surf shops and spas line the streets. Temples are a dime a dozen, all ornate and bring so much character to the town. You better believe I've shopped at ALL the stores and have found several unique items (all made in Bali) that I'll be able to wear for a long time. Blush, mustard yellow, burnt orange and the whitest whites seem to be the fashion trend. Every place having its own unique twist to the Bali lifestyle with different variations of lush tropical gardens and decor that only enhance the feeling of being in paradise.
You can't walk into a restaurant without seeing smoothies, cold-pressed juices, acai bowls and kombucha on the menu. Everything is healthy and exactly what you'd assume a surfer or yogi would want to eat. I however, order the one thing on the menu that is deep fried and loaded with carbs (you'll see more than a few pasta dishes in my photos below.) A lot of the restaurants have caught on to western diet fads. After eating a Paleo brownie I've decided to have the boyfriend bring me some cosmic brownie Debbie Cakes next month (Thanks Babe!) The food here is vibrant and fresh, every dish looking like a piece of art. While dining, there really isn't a distinction between inside and outside, as most of the restaurants have an open concept, letting the island breeze come in (Thank God! I'm a sweaty mess all the time... that Bali Glow). I could probably live here for 6 months before eating at the same place twice, so many options and I haven't scratched the surface.
The streets are filled with locals and tourists scooting to their next destination. These scooters often times have an entire family or a 20-foot ladder hanging from the side. So many are honking as they try to navigate (this is putting it nicely) around the slow tourists <-- Me. But scooting around the island has given me a sense of independence as I don't have to rely on anyone else to get around. However, it's very dangerous and makes me a nervous wreck. Four girls have had accidents!!!! Skin has been lost and large bruises have been formed. Knowing I could be next keeps me on high alert. It's a beautiful thing that 60-minute massages are $9 here in Bali to break up all the tension brought on by my Scoopy. For those wondering, I always wear a helmet and try to avoid driving in the rain.
Trip to La Laguna
We had to take a shortcut to get to La Laguna. The road is wide enough for traffic to go one way. The locals will ask you if you've seen a car tip over on this short cut.. what does that tell ya? Needless to say.. I was scared and almost went into the rice field more than I care to admit.
You can't walk (or scoot) a couple feet without tripping on a stray dog. They're everywhere and very street smart. They walk the streets like they own the town and very aware of traffic. I've noticed several dogs look both ways before crossing. My heart breaks for them but they seem to be fending for themselves just fine. I've found an organization here in Bali who work to feed, spay/neuter, and treat stray dogs. Check out BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) if you'd like to know more. I'm extremely passionate about animals and hope to work with a few nonprofits in the cities I'll be visiting over the next six months. More details on this later.
Both weekends I've spent some time at different beach clubs. They're a popular choice, as the beaches here aren't that nice. I have yet to see a clean beach with clear turquoise water like you'd assume. The sand is black and when wet, it looks like a black glitter bomb went off. The rainy season causes trash to line the beaches (there is a scientific explanation, I just don't know...), a problem they're constantly fighting this time of year. The beach clubs create an excellent alternative to laying directly on the sand. I tried to be a beach bum last weekend and ended up attracting two stray dogs who thought my blanket looked comfy cozy. Exhibit A.
The Lawn, La Barisa and La Laguna are popular beach clubs to watch the sunset while sipping on a Bintang, the local beer. Each club is lined with colorful bean bags, umbrellas, and views of the infinity pool and beach. I've enjoyed watching sunset surfers catching a few more waves before dark. I'm envious of their skills and keep kicking myself for not heading out myself. I look around and everyone is laid back, relaxed and I feel so at peace.
There is so much for me to explore here in Canguu and the island of Bali. I have yet to surf, practice yoga, visit a temple or find a waterfall. I've been trying to soak in every bit of sunshine ... but crispy doesn't begin to describe how my skin feels so maybe now is the time to visit those temples and steer clear of the intense Bali sun. The picture below is one day in the sun and yes, I've applied more than enough sunscreen.
Taking donations for aloe
This week I will be visiting Pura Lempuyang, a temple two hours north. It's home to the Gates of Heaven, which has been at the top of my "Must See in Bali List" and also overlooks Mount Agung (the active volcano.) I will also be taking a Balinese cooking class, visiting two of the famous islands and taking a second trip to Ubud.
While we're all enjoying Bali, the majority of us are starting to plan our bucket list adventures for Cambodia. So far I have a special visitor, a day trip to Koh Rong, Angkor Wat and a weekend trip to Bangkok, Thailand with a short island visit to Phi Phi Island. Pinching myself.