A Mermaid, a Demon, and Fish Satays

The fish satays from the local warung in Ubud are good. But the fish satays hot off the fire in the seaside village of Lebih…oh baby, oh baby! I awoke this morning adventure-lust tugging at my feet and a craving for salt air. Upon consulting my guru, Ketut, it appeared that today was an auspicious day for travel. Then again, he’s happy as a clam tooling me around the island on his motorbike just about any day short of a monsoon. So off we went.

Major intersections in the larger towns often sport breathtaking statuary at their centers. Usually the traffic snarls around these things at such a pace that a photo-op is out of the question. But I was lucky. This may be the only street in Ubud with a traffic light and today it happened to be red. So here’s the warrior Arjuna from the back of Ketut’s motorbike. If you will notice, less is not more in Balinese art!

Sculpture of Arjuna, finest archer and peerless warrior in the Hindu epic Mahabharata

The trail out of Ubud winds through rice paddies and over a bottomless river gorge toward the town of Gianyar. Roughly the same size as Ubud, Gianyar’s streets are equally as congested. But there are fewer tourists here. There was a lull in traffic as we passed these three massive statues. “Want photo?” Ketut asked as he pulled off to the side so I could capture the fantastic images.

This may be a sculpture of Surya, the sun god riding in his chariot, or maybe Krishna…? Can any of my Indonesian friends tell me?

Sculpture of Raksasa, the monster in the story of Ramayana

Sculpture of Sovann Macha, mermaid daughter of Demon Ravana in the epic tale of Ramayana. She is special having both feet AND a tail.

We glided safely past a mermaid, a god, and a demon and headed into the countryside. As soon as the congestion of Gianyar was behind us the breezes became humid with a saline tang. A few miles more and we approached the road that follows the coast. Lebih is across the intersection and down a short, dirt path. Ketut parked the bike and I extracted my head from the helmet which I have finally learned to do without assistance…a major accomplishment and an important step toward independence and personal dignity.

Colorful fishing boats were lined up like pretty toys, three deep after the morning catch.

A gossamer haze veils the mountains.

A group of men from the shore help haul this late fishing boat out of the sea

A new brick path has been completed atop the rocky rip rap that keeps the ocean from devouring the coast.

The covered platform is a restful spot for a shore lunch

The beach here is black volcanic sand. Bali has both, the pristine white and the dramatic, sparkling black. I walked along the hard-packed shore as the waves rolled and crashed beside me. Ketut shot this photo BEFORE I got wet!

Walking on the beach at Lebih

After scoring a snack of mouth-watering satays, I spent some time sitting like a happy turtle on a sun-warmed rock lost in the hypnotic motion of the sea. It was one of those delicious moments when I didn’t wish I had brought a writing tablet, sketch pad, or laptop. I was content to be a motionless lump on a warm rock doing absolutely nothing at all.

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