Thursday, June 18, 2009

Surfing Bali- Kuta Beach Wipeout!

the black sand beach of Bali

I had seen the volcano and it’s the massive lake, the Bali Zoo, the black-sand beach, Monkey Forest, and been to Jimbarran for the sunset and fresh sea food. Looking for something new, I listed my adventures to a local. “Wow! You’ve seen everything!” he exclaimed.
Booking ten days in Bali alone is a little excessive, four should suffice, as nice as it is, and as friendly as the people are.
volcano and surrounding lake

Apparently, I fell under the Bali haze, felt incredibly lazy, and didn’t pursue my eco-trips of visiting the Komodo dragon or flying to Borneo to visit the forest of the orangutans. I actually regret not doing so … on the other hand, I did get a lot more sleep than normal.

Night Life

Only in Kuta, the rest of Bali is incredibly sleepy. It’s rare to see Balinese girls in the clubs. They are very modest, pure, and believe in sex only when married (in general.) The Indonesian girls you’ll see on the club scene are nearly 100% from the nearby, and much larger island of Java.
The Balinese are not at all fond of Javans. Any crime on Bali- Javans. Prostitutes- Javans. Hatred- Javans.
Bali is the only Hindu island in Indonesia, Javans are all Muslim. Balinese want to date a Javan girl, they have to convert. “Javans are fanatics, all they do is create trouble” stated my driver.
Russians were voted “worst tourist sub-species by far” according to anyone I met. The only people the Balinese like less than the Russians are the Javans; they must be pretty bad.

I stop at the memorial built on the spot of the discotheque that was bombed in 2002 by the Russians … no wait, it was the Muslim Javans!
I see the names of the 252 people who perished in the blast. Some people are taking pictures of the monument. I am not. For some reason I feel emotional. I see the monument as a tribute to the egoic nature of mankind, and the separation and hatred that exists. I take it in for several minutes.

There are a lot of clubs, and especially on Saturday night, a ton of people circling the streets. I’m still thinking about the monument.

Friendly Meetings

The Balinese, if they speak decent English, are exceedingly friendly and easy to talk to.
Their dream-- to be able to go to America and earn what for us is minimum wage. If you earn $120 a month in Bali you’re doing better than average. To have the sum of $10,000 is Unthinkable. “You could buy a hectare of land, build a house, and pass it on it on to your kids.”
A cab driver I meet claims to have known Barrack Obama as a child. “I look one day on TV, and I see Barrack!” He exclaims joyfully. “I knew him as a child!” I note that Barrack is at least fifteen years older than my cabbie. It’s a good story though, so I let him have it. All over the world Barrack is a loved man.
Without tourism there would nothing in Bali besides seafood and fruit. That’s why the Balinese were hit so hard in the 2002 Bali bombing; the flow of tourists dried up.

I meet a pretty 20 year old Dutch girl named Joleen who’s travelling with her Mom. They too, have been all over the world, though her impression of Egyptian men is not the highest.
“Where ever I went, they would just grab me. It was very uncomfortable. They were very rude.”
Prophet Mohammed: “Guys, guys, will you please stop grabbing women’s asses like they are baboons in heat.”
(blank looks from the crowd of men)
Mohammed: “I order you to behave like civilized human beings … I am after all, your prophet!”
(more blank looks)
Mohammed: “Screw it. It's easier to just impose a subordinate dress code on women.”


baboon in heat. That is actually her rear end. One of nature's more subtle signs of sexual receptivity

The baskets pile atop one another. I think there might be more baskets than worshippers.
Balinese women balance baskets of fruit on their head, taking it to a Hindu ceremony

Motorbikes line the streets. Unless you’re a cabbie or very wealthy, you’re driving a moped.
A policeman pulls over a tourist on a motorcycle, and extracts a bribe out of him for not having a license, a favorite tactic of a corrupt police force. Get caught driving drunk in the states you got to jail, on Bali you’d better have $20 cash on you.
Being a policeman is so lucrative on the island, they actually charge people for the position. $1,200 gets you a uniform. You’re sure to make it up pretty quickly if you follow proper police protocol.

ATV Riding + Jetskiing

Never had gone ATVing. Really the dumbest thing I did on Bali. Go down a steep slope at zero miles an hour, my hand on the brake the entire time. Climb over slimy rocks, increase my carbon footprint, waste $65. If I had one do-over in Bali this would be it.
I also nearly killed myself jetskiing. Going less than mach 6 is simply unacceptable, and when you hit a wave wrong, you'd better have a damn good grip on the handle bars. Still, this is always a lot of fun.

Surfing
Ever surfed before? Want to try? Ever try to actually stand up while riding the wave in? You fell right?

surfing wipe out
You got frustrated, and after only one more fall, you kicked your board, and decided to head for shore before the shark, which you could have sworn you saw circling you, decided it was lunch time.
Look, just because you aren’t a natural athlete (cough cough- like me) is no reason to give up. When did giving up get you anywhere? Did it ever benefit you? Come on! Let me give you a little inspiration!

Ride that wave Rich! OOOHHH
I’m going to share with you a simple, but utterly profound wisdom, that is not only applicable to surfing but, when ever you are proverbially trying to stand-up in your life. The simple key to standing-up is …. “Don’t fall down.”

surfing is cool


I actually really enjoyed surfing. Next year- Pipeline.
White Water Rafting

The river had many waterfalls, some a lot higher than you’d think would be safe to go over in the slender inflatable canoe for which I was responsible, second in command. Jagged rocks stuck their fearsome heads out the shallow water, warning us of the inherent danger of our mission. This was the dry season, making traversing these level three rapids that much more risky. Adding to the peril, there was no shore. The far too narrow river ran down a high gulley, a slick, steep wall of rock flanking the river on either side, making escape impossible.
Several times we had been close to capsizing, but somehow, due to the maritime skill of the crew, managed to stay afloat. Now we had come to the last leg of our journey, a double waterfall, one fall, with another following not more than three feet later.
This is the type of thing that I would only have needed to look at as a child and my Mother would materialize out of nowhere and yell, “No Richard! Absolutely not!” and she’d forcefully drag me away, and then ground me for a week. “Mom,” I’d complain, “I was only looking!” But she knew better.
But with Mom on an entirely different continent, and thus the threat of being grounded greatly reduced, unless I were to be so stupid as to report my activities, our boat surged towards the falls at breakneck speed.
The thrill of gravity’s acceleration as we plummetted down the first fall. Clear. Hitting the water/bedrock several feet below, we bounced up, and immediately plummeted down waterfall of doom, flinging our boat sideways in the air, and throwing the crew from relative safety and into the rocky water.
Ouch! There are more pleasurable feelings than landing on rocks covered with a layer of one foot water. I'm tending to my wounds.
“What’s that? … Come on! Not fair! Pleeeaaassseee.

Sorry guys, can’t talk now. Gotta go. I’m grounded.



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