Much zooming around with Gloria has ensued in the last two weeks. Mostly to coffee houses to use wi-fi and enjoy a hot beverage not processed by a wild cat. Every weekend is a lovely break out to sunshine away from the fluoro-prison they call work. In to the mountains, down to even further beaches and around some rather immaculate roundabouts. Roundabouts here are the most well-kept piece of infrastructure on this island. Great painted concrete and gold leaf trimmed statues surrounded by blooming flowers in pastel shades adorn the junctions while hundreds of bikes and cars belch and puff around them.
Kuta to Padang Padang
I don’t doubt that tourism is a huge economic drive for Bali, but it’s such a shame that it has to come at the expense of the island’s natural landscapes and wildlife. Most beaches here, especially during this wet season, are covered in rubbish and littered with bodies. As much as I also love a good temple, it also seems a bit vulgar that their largest, most historic and spiritual places of worship, the ones that are the most characteristically Balinese, have become glorified tourist sights. Hawker stalls line the exit and entry to Tanah Lot among others, and although it’s similar in many other major religious attractions, such as Angkor Wat, this is a new scale of cheap consumerism indoctrination.
The beach itself is gorgeous. Yellow sands, bright blue turquoise seas that I haven’t seen since Thailand. (Most shallow water looks quite dark here as many of the beaches are a dark volcanic sand). Maybe it’s the high concentration of surfers nestled in the waves and in the seated crowd lining the shore, but the vibe here is quite relaxed, there’s something a bit Thai, maybe even a bit North Devonshire about it. The walk down the steep cliff steps and the long, right peeling break flowing
smoothly does seem to add to it.
The green back roads coming up to Padang Padang remind me of Woolacombe, North Devon. As you climb the hill, the air becomes cooler underneath pockets of shade from the trees along the road and the lack of traffic hints at the undisturbed countryside. The trees are guarding the roadside and pavements have been abolished! Fresher air, fewer cars and great big coaches clogging up small roads- distinctly Devon