Asa arrived at our villa around 10:30 in the morning to take us to Nusa Dua, located on the southern tip of Bali. We knew we wanted to have one more day to hang out at the beach and go snorkeling and judging by what we saw online, this was the place to go. We loaded our mask, fins, snorkels, and booties into Asa’s SUV and headed out. The drive to the area involved going over a massive stretch of highway suspended just over the ocean. We could clearly see the bright green island coast and the turquoise blue water that we would soon be immersed in. 45 minutes from the time we left, we were dropped off in a small parking lot and told to walk straight. “You will see the beach, just up ahead. I will be waiting for you to contact me, I’m going to get some lunch,” Asa said. So we took his advice and walked a short distance to a spot where the sidewalk split three ways and led to three different beaches that were only separated by rocky outcroppings with dense vegetation on top. A quick look at the beach to our left revealed waves much too large to snorkel comfortably, all we could see ahead of us was a grassy area. We began walking down a stone path that led through some more trampled grass and thin trees where a sea of surfboards stared back at us and locals tried to get our attention by saying “surfing lessons, best price, surf school!” We made a mental note to come check it out later, then continued on to a gorgeous sandy beach.
The sun was beating down on us and we were desperate for shade. Unoccupied beach chairs created specifically for comfortable lounging beckoned to us from underneath various cloth or palm umbrellas. We quickly found one near the spot we wanted to swim at, and a man in a hotel T-shirt came over and said “you sit two hours, $200,000 (about 20 USD)” We weren’t surprised and each handed over some cash. Our stuff would be safe under the watchful eye of the beach bar workers while we swam, and $5 a piece wasn’t too bad a price to pay. We put down our things and donned or snorkeling gear, then walked on hot sand down to the waters edge. This beach was a lot cleaner than the one nearest to where we were staying, but plastic bags, water bottle caps, and other miscellaneous man-made things floated in the water and were washed on shore. Though we picked the beach that seemed the most calm, the water was cloudy because of the changing tide and the crashing waves. We quickly gave up on using our masks and swam around for a while instead. After a while, Kacy and Claire decided that they wanted to try their hand at surfing. We found someone who offered a fair price for an hour long lesson for the two of them and another hour of board use to try out what they learned. Nicole and I chose to stay on the beach or in the shallow water to work on our tans and record our friends surfing attempts.
We recorded them for a while and then went off to explore the rocky area to our left. The limestone rock was worn away in some places, creating little caves. The sand had built up around that area, so even when the tide was high you could swim over to the little beach that the waves created by eroding the side of the cliff little by little.
We explored a little while longer and then headed back up the beach to find something refreshing to sip on. One mojito for me and a mango smoothie for Nicole and we were feeling cooled off and ready for more adventuring. Claire and Kacy had finished their lesson and met us back at our chairs. We were talking about what to do next when out of the tree line comes Jeremy, Taylor, and Elle! We had no idea that they were planning on going to Nusa Dua and just happened to see them at the same spot on the beach that we were at. They told us that they came to see the rock formations and that they had to leave soon, so Nicole and I decided to go with them to check it out while Claire and Kacy began their second hour of surfing.
After a little walk through a grassy park area and down a boardwalk, we arrived at the spot separating the beaches. A circular observation deck had been created right on the edge of the craggy rocks to allow for 360 viewing of the coastline.
I scanned the water for signs of whales or dolphins, but didn’t see any. Straining, I could make out the outline of another Indonesian island on the horizon. We spent some time taking in the views and talking to a local security person (who only let us walk out to the spot I’m standing on because Jeremy knew how to ask nicely in Indonesian). Then we headed back to the beach and did a little bit more swimming and sunbathing while we waited for Kacy and Claire to finish surfing.
We gathered our things and said thank you to the beach bar workers who had been watching our stuff (we made sure it was all there before leaving of course) and walked to the nearby shopping center in Nusa Dua to get a late lunch. We ended up at this Indonesian/Italian restaurant and had a much needed lunch, then shopped around in the tourist centered shops. We were about to leave when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something that made my heart race home and my head filled with memories. There is was, the same as it was at home. Large green lettering. White logo. Modern construction. Starbucks. I raced over to this comfort zone, and was quickly disappointed by the drink selection. I hadn’t had high hopes of finding my favorite drink on the menu, but I thought they’d have something I could drink without milk or caffeine. I did, however, find a Starbucks mug that had cartoon images of Ubud printed all over it. So of course, I bought it. After everyone had their fill of Starbucks, we met back up with Asa.
Nicole told us about an abandoned plane near our area that one of her friends had visited previously and suggested that we go. We payed Asa for the whole day and the plane was on the way, so we headed that direction.
We arrived around sunset, spotting the plane through little spaces between the make-shift aluminum sheet fence. The plane was just sitting in a rectangular space about two meters deep that had been carved out of limestone by someone at some time. The sun slowly set as we took in the erie sight. Satisfied that we’d seen enough, we got back in the car and had Asa drop us off at the villa to change.
Once we’d done so, we walked about 30 minutes to a mall in Kuta to find a place to have a nice dinner. We found a nice place with a view of the ocean (in the daytime at least, we could hear it though) and a promising menu.
After we’d ordered and received our drinks, Nicole was picked up by Jeremy, Taylor, and Elle to head to the night clubs in Bali. Claire, Kacy, and I enjoyed a nice dinner and headed back to the villa for some much needed rest. We weren’t feeling like going out on the town, but wanted to share a drink and some memories from the week. Up the street from our place was a local bar where a band was playing some well known songs and tourists packed the tables. We found a spot and ordered our last Bintang’s of the trip. We went back to the villa and set our alarms for 7:30 am so that we could get to the beach early and try surfing before it got too crowded with tourists, then went to bed.
I was in denial when the alarm went off the next morning. How could it be time already? Groggy from the lack of sleep, I changed into my swim suit and beach clothes, packed my backpack full of water and sunscreen, then rounded up my friends and headed out the door. When we arrived at Legian Beach we spoke to the owner of the first surf-rental business we saw. He gave us a really cheap price for Nicole and I to rent beginner surf boards for an hour and provided a few encouraging tips and tricks before we left. I’m sure we kept Kacy and Claire entertained while we attempted to teach ourselves the art of surfing. I managed to stand twice over the course of an hour, thanks to Kacy’s tip. “Stand up faster!!!” I could hear her calling to me from the shore. I slipped, tumbled, crashed, and got back up over and over again. My forearms were aching from use pushing myself up and paddling around. I must admit, I was kind of relieved when the hour was up and Nicole and I took our boards back to their owner. He kindly chatted with us about our time in the water and gave us a hose to wash the salt and sand off of our bodies. We thanked him again, then walked back to the villa for a quick shower. The two of us met up with Kacy and Claire at the little shops near our area and we spent the rest of our morning there doing our last minute shopping. By then, we were professionals at bargaining with the store keepers and managed to get most of the things we’d had our eyes on over the course of the trip. Asa picked us up again at noon and gave us one last ride, this time to the airport.
We made it through security without a problem and had time to get one last Indonesian lunch before we boarded our flight back to Perth. 3 hours later and we were back in Australia, thankful for a safe trip without any major issues and many, many memories.