Sanur is a nice change of pace from hectic Kuta, with its narrow congested streets and consistent hawkers selling everything from hats and sunglasses (no matter if you already have both of these items on at the time) to "the best massage". At times, I felt it would be easier to wear a sign, "NO THANK YOU" than answer them, but most are very polite about it and do so with a smile. The village of Sanur is a good mix of locals, expats, backpackers, and tourists from all over the world (unlike Kuta, which mostly caters to Australians). We arrived here last Saturday and were happy to plunk our bags down in a small but well furnished apartment, as we prefer to have our own space versus staying in a hotel. The first thing I did was a load of laundry! Our hosts Karine and Lauren have lived in Bali for over 10 years and are originally from France. They live in the home next to us and have been very helpful in getting us aquatinted to the area.
Not surprisingly, we couldn't wait to find the beach near our new home. Mertasari Beach is only a couple hundred yards from our apartment (yes, everything is now in metric, we are adjusting to that), so we headed in that direction. Along the way we found a fantastic local restaurant Mama Putu's, who also sells gasoline for motor bikes and rents bicycles. She is truly a full service establishment! Walking into the beach entrance I was immediately reminded of Charlotte Beach in Rochester, NY.-not a bad thing, there is a park area for community events and some food stalls. The locals frequent this part of the beach after work and weekends, taking advantage of the ocean breezes and calm waters to cool down and enjoy visiting with family and friends. The waters off Mertasari is protected by a reef and this creates a very shallow harbor with enough wind for the kite surfers, which dot the sky with their colorful sails. There are many "warung's" (small restaurants) along the boardwalk but one in particular drew us in. A small beach bar with a Rasta theme. In fact, I think it was just called "Beach Bar"...perfect. We sat and were taking in the new views when a couple local guys arrived and offered us a swig of Balinese Whiskey. What can I say, it was delicious!
Just like in Kuta, the Krishna movement is strong here. Sunday was a holiday (don't recall which one, there are many) and the community grounds at the beach was taken over by a large celebration. They reenacted the arrival of their religious leader from boat to of all places, NY! When I told them I was from NY they invited me to stay and even to eat with them. The celebration started with a boat beaching on the shore and a life-like statue of their former leader being carried on a throne up to the stage area. There was a lot of singing, dancing, and theater throughout the day with one song being repeated over and over...Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! I drove MJ crazy singing that the rest of the day, but don't worry- they haven't converted me yet.
Monday was a busy day. We started by finding the immigration office in order to extend our visa. This was visit 2 of 4 and it is very reminiscent of the DMV. The process is a little weird because you have to give up your passport for a couple days, but this is how they do it here. We decided to take a day trip while we had a driver and saw how traditional Batik fabric and silver jewelry is produced. My mother will be happy to know I purchased two new Balinese earnings and she can't get to me to rip them out! We ended the day at Tegenungan Falls or "The Hidden Waterfall". We plan on returning there for a full day of exploring.
One last note for those of you who were worried I might starve to death while traveling (as I am a famously picky eater). The food here is awesome and very diverse. The traditional Balinese cuisine is cheap and delicious and I could survive on this alone. My new favorite is Nasi Goreng, which is a fried rice dish served with satay (grilled skewers of chicken, beef, or seafood) and a fried egg.
Till next time!!