24.12.2010 - 21.01.2011 31 °C
Hamish left us for the Philippines after Christmas, sending us some valuable information about the country. Both me and Will are heading there, so it was more than welcome. After the villa, me and Victoria had to renew our visas, which turned out to be more of a hassle than expected. Apparently, you need to visit the immigration office three times. One visit for application, one for payment and one for receiving the documents. Why not pay when you apply? We have to follow the system, the lady at the counter told us. We got our passports back after a week and were granted one more month in the country.
Spending a couple of days on the island of Gili Trawangan was a pleasant retreat from the sometimes over populated Bali. With no cars or scooters on the island it had a quite chilled out atmosphere, many people came to celebrate the New Year. The expectations were high and people were at their tops. However, it began to rain heavily at the evening and kept on doing so ALL night. Past midnight, the water level on the streets was knee deep. All the clubs were as full as they could be of course, since people got more or less trapped. It was a real mess out there. Eventually, the skies cleared and one could have some lovely beach time. It was nice to spend some time with the rest of the lads, before we would split up and go separate ways.
I went back to Bali, since the surfing during the wet season is mainly concentrated here. The east coast is the main target during this time of year, because of the offshore winds blowing there. The west coast, which is more popular during the dry season, is mostly onshore now making waves closing out. Having tried some different places, my favorite is definitely Pulau Serangan. It’s a small island connected with a bridge with east coast Bali, just a couple of km south of Sanur.
Although it can sometimes be depressive when you see guys doing vertical cutbacks and 360´s, my level has definitely improved and I’m happy with that. My main objective right now is to ride sideways and trying to hit the lip. Despite what people tell you, surfing is not easy and it takes both time and determination to be able to ride out a wave properly. It is very awarding though, the amount of time you put into it generates a longer and longer feeling of freedom when you ride out that wave. In that moment everything else is totally blurred and time somewhat ticks in slow motion. An indescribable feeling.
However, a dSLR with a manual tele lens is somewhat not ideal when wanting to have your picture taken, especially when the break itself is 150m offshore and compacts are not really capable. Until I’ll find a friend with some basic photography skills, I have to be happy with what I get.
I have to squeeze in the worst thing about Bali in the wet season: Getting stuck in traffic in heavy rain and wind when you forgot your rain jacket at home. In those moments you wish you were somewhere else. It is cold as hell on that damn scooter when you’re only wearing board shorts and a rash guard that absorbs water. Apart from being beaten up by the waves and getting wet on the bike, I spent last weekend on the island of Lembongan, about 20 km east of Bali. The Island is quite small and you can drive around it with scooter within 20 minutes.
It’s also connected to another, smaller island with a bridge. Two days are enough if you don’t surf or scuba dive, I didn’t bring my board and the scuba diving was too expensive for me. Somehow the locals don’t really make you feel welcome there, in a weird and indescribable way. The islands have stunning and impressive scenery though.
The swell was four meter high that day, heading straight towards the cliff I was standing on. Care for a swim?
Have you ever seen a shell big enough to serve as a sink?
Stumbling upon a cockfight in the main village, I couldn't resist taking my camera out.
I really enjoy staying outside of the tourist area, in a more local environment. Here you can eat a decent meal with chicken for one US dollar and get your laundry done for the same price. I’ve been hanging out with cool locals and slowly snapping up some basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of the nation. Since every region has its own language, the amount quickly adds up and a Google search will tell you that more than 700 different languages are spoken. The interesting part is that the languages are totally diverse. For example, the islands of Java and Bali are very close to each other but without an interregional language people would not be able to communicate with each other than with body language.
Leaving for the Philippines today, I will miss Indonesia although I’m really looking forward to the Phillies. Good thing I’m coming back to Indonesia in February, this time to Sumatra. Speaking of which, here is the updated list of my completed and upcoming flights (all these flights combined along with extra surf board charge from here now on add up to a total of 1300 €):
Stockholm – Mumbai, 21st of August
Delhi – Chennai, 23rd of October
Chennai – Colombo, 24th of October
Colombo – Kuala Lumpur, 22nd of November
Singapore – Djakarta, 9th of December
Denpasar – Djakarta, 21st of January
Djakarta – Manila, 22nd of January
Manila – Bangkok, 10th of February
Bangkok – Medan, 12th of February
Padang – Kuala Lumpur, 11th of March (visa run)
Kuala Lumpur – Padang, 12th of March (visa run)
Padang – Kuala Lumpur, 10th of April
Kuala Lumpur – London, 15th of April
London – Stockholm, 29th of April
No, I don’t have a love affair in K.L., nor am I doing business there; it’s simply Airasia’s main hub and is the most convenient way to travel through.
Setting fourth towards new adventures in the Philippines!
ps. Kickin' it solo in Asia is now viewed in 35 countries. Bring it! ds.