When we rolled into Kuta hot, sweaty and tired after cycling 85km in the tropical Lombok heat, we just wanted a cold shower and an even colder beer. We cruised around town a little hypoglycaemic and a little dazed, and on our second lap around Bembet literally jumped out in front of us. The universe could not have provided us with a better sign of where to stay. Bembet is the awesome owner of Enjoy Café and homestay, the place that became our home for the following two weeks. Our dream of a cold shower and colder beer was fulfilled in no time.
Our home is one of three large rooms, less than 50 metres from the beach, placed in a quiet cul de sac and surrounded by locals, goats and chickens. Life is simple and relaxed, as we joined the flow of life in Kuta. Every day begins early with Ibu Surkaji’s most delectable banana pancakes. They are that good, Jude is already dreaming of them the night before. For an hour we laze around, eat pancakes, drink tea and learn Indonesian. Then we jump on our scooter, surfboards strapped to the side, and cruise along the coast to Selong Blanak, the beginners surf beach.
It takes about 35 minutes to ride there and the road provides spectacular vistas of the surrounding coastline, beaches and surf breaks. It rolls through small villages surrounded by fields of tobacco and food produce. Chickens, dogs, children, goats and herds of water buffalo meander along the road. Women sit on the edges selling food or fuel, breaking rocks or tying together freshly cut straw to feed the animals or re-thatch roofs. The drivers here remain either unaware or uncaring about traffic safety. Some think nothing of stopping on the opposite side of the road on a blind corner to smoke a cigarette. Add to this a handful of inexperienced foreigners on scooters with surfboards strapped to the side, and it sure is one interesting ride!
The beach is a curve of white sand, surrounded by mountains and blessed with aquamarine beach breaks that are perfect for the surfing novice. Little bamboo warungs line the beach and sell everything from nasi campur to barbequed corn. For days we were offered ‘surfing lessons’, which basically involved local guys pushing you on to a wave and calling out “stand up”. Not our style, so we continually declined and over the next few days, with constant practice, we found our groove on our ladies – Betty and Mellow Yellow aka the Flying Squid. We also found ourselves a little surfing posse who we hung out with everyday. It was so great to be in the water for hours, catching waves and then chilling out on the beach. Yes we can stand up now and ride a wave, and wow are we addicted!
Late afternoons were spent doing a variety of things. One was returning to the surf shop to get the dings in our boards repaired. In one spectacular incident Jude and I almost ran head-on into each other on the same wave and my board went over hers. One broken fin, two dings and $75 dollars later we were laughing the incident off and thanking our lucky stars that it was only the boards that were damaged. Other outings were to the beach for a swim, to the Gorengan lady for tasty stuffed tofu treats and to Boom Bakso for Yuni’s amazing banana juice. In between we would laze about our home, reading, watching the goats, playing with the local children or chatting to Bembet, Ibu Surkaji or fellow travellers about life, love and surf. The evenings found us eating sasak food at our favourite warungs and sharing beers or the local bram (rice wine) with newly made friends – even another cycle tourist who was pedaling around Indo with a board on his treadlie (amazing!). Our love goes out to you all and we hope that your journeys are continuing with joy and wonder.
The two weeks passed quickly and it was sad to say goodbye to our newly adopted family and friends. Presents and heartfelt goodbyes were shared and everyone was out to wave us off the morning of our departure. We are sure we will return! Sampei jumpa nanti!
All my love,