Friday, 27 June 2008

Bali the Beautiful

I probably explored about 5% of Bali in ten days. Mind you, it's a big island, so beautiful, so mystical. I'd love to explore more, but that wasn't what this trip was strictly about. The goal was to rest, finding rest for my soul. Mission was accomplished. And like they say, every day in Bali is a holiday. It's true.

To keep it brief. Many tourist sights in Bali were beauty overloaded. I got to witness just a few places: Tanah Lot, a hindu temple off the coast; a dinner on the beach in the famous Jimbaran of which reminded me of Laguna Beach but more dream-like; and the mystical structure of GWK at night where I felt like stepping into a scene in the movie Indiana Jones.

However, I spent the majority of my time on Pantai Kuta, or Kuta Beach. You could leave me in Kuta everyday for weeks with great company and a good book, and I won't get bored. I just couldn't have enough of it. I drank a lot of fresh juices--papaya, pineapple, and orange--the thing to do when on an island. It really helped with my digestive system;) And then surfing during sunset was just sublime! For a moment, nothing else mattered. It was like seeing something so beautiful, you can't utter a word. Such sight reminds me how romantic my God is.

Also my upper body got stronger in one week and my skin got so dark, making me look even more Indonesian. One guy was surprised after he asked me a question in Indonesian and I answered back in English. It was as if the people here didn't want to accept that I'm not Indonesian. After 5 days in a guesthouse, I rotated my stay to different brothers' and sisters' houses in Bali: 1 night with Jose and Marsel with their 6 week old baby girl Naomi, 2 nights with Wiwin a single sister, and 3 nights with Peichen, David, little Vivian and Vania. Franky and Erly, the Bali church leaders, also took me to dinner on my last night and we had a great conversation. It was amazing to be looked after just because I'm a disciple. I was a total stranger to them 2 weeks ago and now we are friends and family in Christ. What can I say? I'm incredibly grateful for the kingdom.

My only regret is that I wish I had more time in Bali.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Back in the Surf

The first thing I did in Bali was telling the cab driver to take me to a cheap Balinese guesthouse, $15/night, near Kuta Beach and went surfing. It's been 2 years since I last surfed. It was like seeing my long lost lover again. My heart was beating fast and a jittery feeling swept over me when my eyes beheld the waves. What a sight! Reef breaks could be seen miles from the shore, but sand breaks were closer and the cuddling whitewater was drawing me in. Then I realized that my passion for surfing had never died.

I rented a 6'7'' board for $3/ hour. Can't beat that! Yopi, the surfboard dude, was going to give me a discount for $7/three hours but after one hour, my body was beat. Certain muscles hadn't been used for two years and were undergoing some kind of shock. Standing up on the board and riding the wave again was a glorious feeling.

Kuta Beach has everything to offer everyone. For me, the one thing that matters most is the surf. For others, lots of shopping stalls selling all kinds of trinkets, foods, amazing paintings, cheap massages, pedicures, manicures, hair braiding, and more. Across the small road that runs along the beach are stores catered to westerners like MacDonald's, restaurants selling burgers and fries, and a near by Discover Mall that pretty much has everything except a movie theater. I guess if you want the convenience of a city life coupled with an exotic beach with great surf, come to Kuta.

After a year in Jakarta, my bahasa Indonesia is good enough to bargain for great prices. I love it! That I can speak a third language, although broken, is exciting.

Today is my shopping day. I can't go out surfing again because I need to rest my aching muscles, but I'm hopeful that I'll recover by tomorrow.