Paradise Found

I’m not one for crowds. I like my people in controlled portions, ceremonies and festivals excepted. In those situations crowd energy is essential. So when Ketut and I sit down with the map to find a new coastline to explore, he knows I don’t have Kuta or Canggu in mind. I want something pristine, deserted, remote. There’s a little dot on the map called Soka. It isn’t connected by road to the crazy tourist beaches. Something about it speaks to me.

This morning at 8:30 with thunderheads warm and dark in the west, we straddle the motorbike and head…west. “Maybe big rain,” Ketut astutely observes. “Maybe,” I agree hoping he’s right. A big rain when you’re on a motorbike is a great excuse to stop for a cup of Balinese coffee at a roadside warung to let it pass. There is nothing negative about that possibility for me.

Rice fields with mountains in the distance

After about an hour and three raindrops on my nose, the clouds are behind us. Soka is an eyeblink with a restaurant overlooking the distant ocean. Pretty, quiet, and no surfboard rental shops in sight. Good sign. We continue on. The ocean disappears. It has to be there but we can’t see it. A few more miles and Ketut pulls off the road. After a brief conversation with a local, he translates for me, “Small road,” he says, and we turn around and head back toward Soka.

Small road to the beach

When he turns off on said ‘small road’ I am feeling really happy. There are no guards demanding an entrance fee. There are no motorbikes parked alongside. There are no hoards of people. “Is it private?” I ask, thinking we may be trespassing on some exclusive beachfront property. “No very,” his tone reassures me even if his words leave me a bit muddled as to the exact meaning. We round the corner and, oh bliss! There it is! My beach! The one I have envisioned, longed for, believed in, and needed to find.

Ethereal mist softens the outcroppings of black lava

Breakers just keep rolling in

There are holes in the lava where tepid pools of water are trapped when the waves overflow. Nature’s hot tubs!

Ketut points out that the design on the edge of one pool looks like a snake is coiled there.

I am pretty proud of myself climbing up, but have to enlist help to get back down!

And this is what someone may have seen landing on this same beach centuries ago

There’s a downside to all magical moments. Leaving. At some point, knowing it’s going to take just as long to get home as it did to get here, the decision to leave must be made. We slowly pick our way back to the motorbike noting that the only tracks on the beach belong to us and a cow. Hmmm. A cow?

Back on the highway mid-afternoon hunger sets in. Rounding a curve, there it is, a tidy little warung. Water, soft drinks, bottled fruit juice and assorted Balinese snacks in pink bins line the counter.

Roadside warung

Hidden behind the display in her baseball cap and gorgeous smile, ibu chops the chilis for the mei goreng she is preparing for us. We wait, happily sipping steaming cups of delicious black sludge.

Chopping the chilis

Hunger satisfied, I resume my position behind Ketut when down the road in front of us comes…

THE COW!

And why not? This is Bali after all. Motorbikes, trucks, tourist buses, and a cow. It all seems perfectly normal after a few months here.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shane McRae
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 06:45:31

    Great description of your trip. It sounds like you both had a wonderful Bali day.

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    Reply

  2. anspired
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 07:34:54

    You really are a natural story teller, thank you!

    Like

    Reply

  3. jessa walters
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 09:49:00

    Ohhh, that beach looks wonderful…What fun!! Great thunder clouds too!

    Like

    Reply

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