Bali 2018

May 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

Mum turned a year older over the week. This time, we took her to Bali. But before the celebrations, we spent a couple of days in Ubud and Nusa Lembongan. There is an inner sense of quietness when people spend too long apart and even with devices that allow you to connect. There is nothing more sincere than gently looking at one another eye to eye.

Ubud was filled with hikes and long walks: exploring the padi fields and local community, along with hunting for coffee roasters and nasi goreng. It felt more like home than anything else. Our Airbnb hosts were so kind and generous. Breakfast by the balcony every morning and homemade dinner on the last night.

“I don’t know much. I learn how to cook from my mother.”, she apologies so humbly.

Brown rice, fried tempeh, smoked chicken, stewed chicken, long beans with eggplant and grated coconut salad on banana leaves were just a few dishes to tease us.  Astonished by her sincerity, the family made it simply to difficult for us to bid goodbyes.

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Heading over to the sunnier shores of the island was a trek. An early wake up call and boat ride across to another smaller island. A paradise spot with local dialects, no shortage of tourists and warungs. We met another traveling couple who became great companions over Bintangs and WeChat. Understanding different languages is one of the greatest asset a human being can ever have. We can communicate by sharing food but no casual banters are complete without bridging two worlds in one language.

In the van to Sanur, it was Bahasa to the driver and Mandarin with the other passages. I am always grateful to be a Malaysian in these scenarios.

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I had never snorkel before. Never. A beginner’s luck was nothing short of good fortune. We went swimming with Nemos and his friends plus a supersize giant. Our guide rode us over to Crystal Point, where the waters were almost cold enough to chill a hot custard. He told us to confidently jump in before they swam away. So we did. The Manta Ray is the big soft teddy bears in the ocean. It glide through so gracefully under us with its gills spread as wide as it could. A curious diver took his chance to swim under it. How he must have enjoyed the view from below, is another mystery I shall want to explore.

Canggu, came very quickly.

The little surf town was anything but what it is now. I believed I must have annoyed my family with “This wasn’t here!”, “Last time, there was …”, etc Almost too many déjà vu-s and new experiences. I would have loved the little old place back. Where it wasn’t too crowded with youngsters and broken beer bottles around the coast.

Everything has changed but the softness of the ocean remains the same. It was the same dawn wake up call, meet a surf instructor and riding waves. We were by the beach by sunrise and out of the waters when the crowd arrived.

Board shopping is like choosing clothes. You either pick something suitable for the weather or a generic outfit. You can also choose to blend in with the ocean.

I love being in the ocean, waiting for waves and learning what fits well. No luck in standing up on my own this time, but there is always the next. Don’t we all know, that’s what life is about too?

Try again. Failed again. Failed better, Samuel Beckett

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