A Day in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
After just three days in Bali, I’ve come to a conclusion: I think I like it here! Shocking right? I mean, what’s not to like… it’s the tropics which means I get to wear a bikini and shorts all hours of the day, the food is delicious and spicy, the climate is hot and humid, the people are friendly, there is lush greenery everywhere, a peaceful, relaxed vibe emanates from the air, and most importantly: you can get an hour long massage for 6 or 7 dollars. For those of you who know me, I am extremely self-indulgent when it comes to cheap massages, so this alone won me over. My kind of place.
Two days in Sanur Beach, two massages, a few ocean and pool swims, and several Bintangs later, I decided to leave Bali and spend my final couple days before my yoga course begins at an even more chilled out island called Nusa Lembongan. Because, you know, life is hard and I need more peace and quiet. I arrived by speedboat, on which I met a sweet Canadian girl named Jennifer who was also traveling on her own. The two of us hit it off like old friends, as it goes in the solo traveler world.
The Indonesians do not kid around when they use the term “speedboat”. This thing was fucking fast, excuse my language. Jennifer and I were both in hysterics and gripping our seats as this 30-minute express boat flew over the waves, spending half its time airborne. There were about five signs on the boat that simply said “Insurance”. I wasn’t sure whether this meant “I hope you have insurance” or “We got you covered” but I decided it’d be better not to ask.
Jennifer and I parted ways once we arrived in Nusa Lembagnon, as we had both booked different bungalows, but our hopes were high that we would meet at sunset. I found my bungalow, which is a cute little place with a porch that looks directly out on to the ocean (from which I am writing this blog), a pool, and a less than enthusiastic staff of 3 local boys. But I can’t have it all I suppose, although I’d like to think I can.
I wandered along the beach until I found a little beach cafe, adorably called “Turf & Surf” that had several people in it, which is usually how I decide on where to go. Epic fail on the food, but the view was great and the staff was more than helpful. I asked them how to get to Mushroom Bay, as I heard this was one of the best beaches on the island, and one of them told me he has a friend who will drive me there on his motorbike for 5 dollars. It was a deal. I finished my awful meal, and was introduced to “Bob” with the motorbike.
I hopped on the back and we were off. Indonesian Bob asked me why I don’t hire my own motorbike, and I told him I trust his navigation skills more than mine. It turns out Indonesian Bob was a full-service kind of guy. As he sped down the one narrow road on the island, dodging potholes and oncoming motorbikes, he told me he also teaches surfing, and can also teach me diving. And, he even can be a friend who can show me a great place to eat. But, I was hot and sweaty and just wanted to get into the water at this point, so I told full-service Indonesian Bob that a ride to Mushroom Bay would suffice.
As he dropped me off, he tried to hustle more business, understandably so. He told me he would also pick me up if I gave him a time to be there. I told him I wasn’t sure how long I would be, and he said “Two hours in the sun is probably plenty, don’t you think? I’ll be back in two hours.” I was waiting for him to ask me if I have plenty of sunscreen on. I felt like I was pleading with my Dad for more beach time, who coincidentally is also name Bob. I thanked him but said I would be fine on my own, and went down to the beach.
The beach at Mushroom Bay was beautiful, the water a clear turquoise, but definitely more crowded than I had anticipated. A few cafes were scattered along the beach, blasting Jack Johnson or Katy Perry. Tourism is clearly flourishing in the Indonesian islands, so I’m assuming it’s becoming more and more difficult to find secluded beach spots and it’s not nearly the same as it once was.
But my time in Bali has still just begun. My day in Nusa Lembongan has been a great one, but there is still plenty to explore. And now, I’m sipping a lemon iced tea on my bungalow patio as I finish this blog, realizing I have yet to find Jennifer, and contemplating a refreshing Bintang as the sun is getting ready to set.