To truly travel is to get off the beaten path, get out of the tourist bubble and immerse yourself whole heartedly into the culture. This is when you will find another world, meet incredibly interesting people and venture out of your comfort zone to a place that will truly make you reconsider everything. My trip to Bali last year did just that. I’m lucky enough to have a close friend that lives in Medewi, a remote village on the West Coast of Bali where we spent five days of our three week adventure. Surrounded by mountains, rice fields, a long rolling left hand point break, and coconut plantations; I knew my time here would be made of magic.
Upon arriving, my friend Gee and her Balinese husband Adi took us to a brand new villa plonked right in the middle of the most luscious rice fields I have ever seen. After taking it all in (including our own pool) we went down to the beach. I was in awe, sparkling blue water with a lovely logging wave rolling through. This really was paradise. The end of the day saw us eating traditional fresh fish caught that day and listening to the prayer and hymns wafting through the breeze from the temples surrounding us, whilst the sun set over the island of Java in the distance. Dessert consisted of dragonfruit; which is such a vibrant purple it’s hard to believe, as well as rice and banana fried bites of goodness.
Our 2nd day in was the Hindu New Year celebration called Nyepi or The Day of Silence, where the whole islands shuts down (even the airport) – you’re not allowed out of your hotels and no electricity is to be used. They believe that Bali will not be noticeable from the evil spirits (also known as layarks) flying overhead so they won’t pay a visit. Fortunately most of the village is Muslim so we didn’t have to stay indoors but some traditions were still adhered to. It felt like Christmas day, kids covered the streets on their pushbikes (no cars/motorbikes were allowed), everyone was in such good spirits and they all greeted us like long lost friends. Lying on the deserted highway in the middle of the night with no lights on made for the most spectacular star gazing and is something the locals only get to enjoy once a year. The appreciation of these little things is what makes the Balinese some of the happiest and friendliest people on earth.
We decide to explore the coastline, and explore we did! After walking for a few hours we soon ran out of water so decided to turn back. Wise decision as the midday sun was belting down upon us and thirst was apparent. Mai Malu’s was our local – we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there and also made a new friend; Mickey the monkey. Between Mickey and Aliyah (Adi and Gee’s baby) we were certainly entertained, albeit a tad clucky.
Most nights were spent sipping Bintang’s at Alex’s Warung with the locals and really getting to understand their culture. I learnt so much from my short time in Medewi. I cannot wait to go back.
A blissful break.