Hump Day. Beach Day. Ash Wednesday.

Everything your mom doesn’t want to happen to you when you’re on vacation happened to me today. It was one of those kinds of Hump Days. 

I rented a motor bike for two days so I could get around to the beaches by myself. I have driven one of these around before but by no means extensively. But I’m traveling by myself and the best teacher is experience, yeah? I wasn’t about to get in a cab every time I wanted to go to the beach.

Paula from BSH drives me to the place where I rent the bike. Then I follow her back to the surf house and get directions to Padang-Padang Beach. I find it, but keep going since I wasn’t absolutely sure and end up making this rather scenic. The scenic route would have actually been fine except for the patch of gravel I hit on a turn and the spill I took as a result, facedown, bike on top of me.

This happened right after my little convenience store run for things to eat and drink on the beach. A local saw the whole thing and ran over to help me. My purchases were all over the road and covered in gravel dust. I was and still am scratched up myself in all the usual places: arm near the elbow, lower right flesh of my left palm, a couple of knuckles on my left hand, a decent scratch on my left wrist, some light bruising on my right leg and another decent-sized scratch on my left knee. Some of my polist job on two of my left toes even came off. There was definitely blood.

I was obviously a little shaken up after that, but fortunately by that point I was well-oriented to the surrounding roads and loop I was on, so I finally got to Padang-Padang. That was mishap #1.

As a traveling note, the beaches of Bali have not been what I expected. Granted I have only visited three so far, what I mean is that before I got here Bali was an assortment of google images, friends’ photographs, and what I had seen in movies. Bali is a mountainous and green island dotted with volcanos and frames by gorgeous coastlines. Unless you are staying on the beach, it’s a trip up and down windy roads to get there. It doesn’t take long if you’re on wheels; I’m just not used to accessing beaches this way. It’s still awesome, though, and am overall loving my trip to Bali!

Padang-Padang at high tide

A set of stone stairs leads you from the parking lot to the cave (I’ve actually needed to go down steps to all of the beaches. It’s because the coast of Bali is characterized by rock cliffs. They’re pretty awesome.) You enter the cave and on the other side is the beach.

Padang-Padang is a rather small beach when the tide is high. I watched it lower some but didn’t stick around because I decided to try hit up another beach, since I would see them when I swam out.

My time at Padang-Padang were I interesting. I set up camp which was quickly dimantled. The tide was relentless. I was also being followed by one of the sarong ladies. She, along with another sarong lady, spoke out in concern for my wounds, but everything else got extremely annoying very quickly. She even stuck around, just hovering, waiting.

So there was that and then not having a dry place to lay out on the beach. I was not content. I kept eying this one spot between two cliff rocks. It was a little cove I needed to wade across but there was sun and dry sand on the other side. So I moved. And ended up being joined by several people, one of whom told me that the beach gets bigger when the tide goes out. 

I decide it’s time to go, purchase a couple sarongs and a fun pair of pants, and go back through the tunnel and up the stairs.

Mishap #2 happens when I pull out of the parking lot and end up crashing into a blue van parked on the side of the road. (I’ll be paying for minor damage because of that one.) That was crazy. That was when my life turned into a movie and I was like, what just happened, why did I do that, string of curse of words. All of these locals came running to help me. I was willing to stay back and face responsibility (whatever that was going to look like!) but they all told me to go, go! He’s not supposed to park here anyway. Be careful! Do you have your license? Be careful! Super shaken up after that.

I missed the second beach I was looking for and was beginning to severely doubt m decision to go to a different one. I got all the way back to where my hostel is and then saw a sign pointing to Balangan, one of the beaches the lifeguards mentioned to me when I was asking about other beaches at Padang. I turned left accordingly and went down a LONG road that led me to this beautiful beach. I actually did take a wrong turn along the way and was directed back to the main road by security guards. But I was back at the beach. And happy. 

Sunset at Balangan Beach

I had no problem making myself at home at Balangan. It was long and sandy and no aggressive tide soaking all my things. There were these super awesome tidal pools that formed after the tide went out. I walked along the beach and observed schools of fish and crabs and other cool things that were moving along in and out of the water. I stayed on the beach until sunset. 

When the pink streaks were fading from the sky, I realized I did not want to drive that road at night. I packed up my things and hurried back to my motorbike to discover…the lights didn’t turn on. It was dark. I saw a lady and her kid getting ready to leave on a bike. She was Russian and could barely understand any of my English, but I was able to explain to her that I needed to follow her back to the main road. And that’s what I did. It was one the scariest things ever. 

And now I’m back at my hostel, about to sleep for three hours and then go on a sunrise hike up Mt. Batur. That’s right, I wasn’t just gonna look at that mountain. I’m gonna climb it! 

It’s also Ash Wednesday today. I have a book I’m going to read for Lent. I bought it at the Vine, the church I visited when I was in in Hong Kong. It’s called Journey, and it’s written and edited by pastors of churches all over Hong Kong as devotional book for lent. There’s a passage for everyday starting today. So keep that in mind. Observing Lent can be a really cleansing spiritual process. 


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