I spent two nights in Legian then picked up my wife and daughter at the airport and we drove up to Padangbai.
I did have a few adventures in Legian.
Padangbai is a pretty port town with a mixed atmosphere of local and western tourists plus the locals living their daily lives. There are people arriving, waiting and leaving on the ferries to Lombok, fast boats to the Gilis and the slower boats to a variety of destinations. There are boats for fishing and diving leaving at various times of the day.
The beach is white sand and clean and there is a reasonable snorkel in the harbour. In the afternoons, the locals gather down the beach for a swim and in the mornings they are sitting around chatting.
The village spreads out from the seaside and up the hills. Close to the water most buildings are for tourism, either being hotels, restaurants, warungs, shops, travel agencies and dive centres. Further away the buildings are more for locals.
The big attractions at padangbai are ‘Bias Tugal’ (which is a pretty one sand beach to the south for swimming), BlueLagoon (for swimming and snorkelling), the temples (a series of which are on the north headland) the waterfront, the local market, the hotels and the transport facilities to Lombok, Gilis, etc.
We stayed at the Puri Rai Hotel in a family fan room. The hotel is nice with three pools.
Generally, it was a pretty quiet stay but fun.
So what happened…..?
I usually go for an early morning walk, starting just before sunrise. I find the atmosphere quiet and the locals are just starting their movements for the day. I was walking down the gang (laneway) next to the Kumala Pantai Hotel like I have done heaps before. I was near the end of the gang where it meets the road that follows the beach when I heard a motorbike coming down the lane behind me. I moved to one side and waited for it to past but it stopped so I kept walking. The next thing I knew, a hand comes around and grabs me on the testicles. I turn around and this girl with massive breasts leans her hand round my back. I stepped back quickly and raised my hands up and wide to protect myself. She grabs my arm and wrenches at me to knock me over. I didn’t move so she tried again and this time she backed off when I didn’t fall.
I walked to the beach road and there was a Balinese guy who had watched the whole thing. He said ‘that girl likes you’
‘That was no girl mate.’
I checked my daypack and the zip had been opened. Nothing was missing.
Amazingly, the girl/boy was still in the gang looking at me. This whole scene took about a minute. I was dramatised! This wasn’t the first time, the ladyboys have approached me. My guess is grey hair, older guys with a daypack or wallet in the early mornings is a potential good victim. Maybe one day it will be a real girl.
Since then I have avoided quiet laneways.
Sitting around the beach, I was told a number of stories by Indonesian girls. I believe them all in part but my friend Nyoman keeps telling me I need to see through the bullshit. So this time, after listening, I added my conversation killer
1 I am all alone in Bali and my mother lives in Jakarta and is very sick and I need to send her money – what is your bank account details and your ID card – no bank account and have lost my ID card just give me cash – how will you get the money to her? – thinking...thinking…my brother will take it.
2 my mobile is broken and I need a new one to call my mother – sure, what phone do you want? – an I-phone!
3 my mother is sick I need to fly to Borneo – when did she get sick? – Today – what is wrong with her – needs medicine – what is wrong with her? – She is in hospital – but what is wrong with her? – Never did get a straight answer
4 I like older men – SURE! I didn’t need Nyoman’s advice on that one!
5 I am hungry – sure where would you like to eat - take me to the ‘Cocoon’.
6 why don’t you have a women with you? – I have a wife and she is in Australia coming tomorrow – so why don’t you have a woman with you?
Back to Padangbai
We walked over the hill and spent the day at Blue lagoon sitting in the sun and shade, short walks, swims and snorkels. The snorkelling was very clear and as usual there were lots of fish and nice corals. While snorkelling with my daughter, I dived down and was touching a large fish sitting passively on the flat coral. Chloe said that was cool and so she dived down to do the same. The fish had other ideas and actually chased her a short distance when she tried to touch it.
Chloe and I had an early morning walk through town and over to the markets. It was very traditional and cool. The locals were either friendly or indifferent but no one seemed to mind my videoing.
On the northern headland are a number of temples. They attract a lot of Balinese making offerings and ceremonies. We went for an early walk to watch the sun rise from one of the cliff side temples. We walked down the steep steps to the temple which is perched on a flattened area above the water. The view over the coastline is excellent but the sunrise is electric. The sun rises over the offshore islands near Candidasa and as the sun rises it burns its way into the break of day. Very, very cool.
Padangbai is one of my favourite places to stay in Bali. It is close to other relaxing places – Candidasa, Tirtagangga. It is vibrant in a sleepy way which makes every trip here like it was the first time.