Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Loving Lovina

Sun setting over Bali as we sail towards her.
Initially after setting out from Lombok, we worried whether we'd made a mistake. The current was quite strong against us and the wind was changing its mind about which direction and speed to come from. After about one hour of motoring though, Rene pointed to the water and said 'look! here comes some wind' as he changed the sails in preparation for it. It was a glorious wind of 25-30 knots on the beam. Perfect for Anima to fly along at 7 knots towards the sun setting over volcanoes on Bali. We took 3 hourly shifts again (I like this system but Rene would prefer to have 6 hour shifts = no thanks!) and I had the first one. The AIS was working well and it was really cool to be able to see the big cargo ships on our chart plotter. I could even see one steaming past south Bali, nearly 30 nautical miles away!! 

What the AIS couldn't help me with however was the fish attraction devices. There were so many along the north of Bali that during my shifts, I had to scan the horizon and nearby water with binoculars every 5-10 minutes. Some of these fish traps were huge! About the size of 2 large 4WD vehicles parked together - with tall palm fronds poking up out of it. I had to alter course twice to avoid hitting these traps. The first time was quite sudden and we would have hit it if I hadn't seen it in time!!

Bali smelt good as we sailed past her northern shores that night. She looked good too, with hundreds of tiny twinkling lights sparkling out from the hills. The wind died away after midnight and we motored through the calm waters. By early morning we were approaching Lovina. The morning fog obscured the yachts at anchor so I radioed Molonga to confirm that I was in the right place. A small local boat motored up to us and led us all the way in to the anchorage which is a small lagoon surrounded by patches of reef. There were 12 cruising yachts already anchored so we chose a spot close in and settled in for a rest.
Local boat leads us in to Lovina Beach anchorage.
After a little sleep, I was climbing the walls with anticipation of what Bali would be like! I dragged Rene out of his slumber and we went ashore. Immediately we were offered a massage with 'special Balinese coconut oil'. We declined and headed in towards some restaurants. Already Bali seemed so very different to the Indonesia we've seen so far. Carved stone creatures and designs adorn almost every surface. Small offerings of flowers, leaves and food are placed at every shop front. The locals perform a small ritual every day to encourage good spirits to help their business.
This decoration simply marks the entry to a side street!
We met with the crew from Molonga and had a midday Bintang, getting into the Australian tourist mentality. That afternoon we took our Visa's into the Immigration centre and were baffled by the numerous forms and fees. Eventually we did as our friends had before us and forked out 500 000Rp (just over $50) each to extend our Visa's by an extra month. More Bintang's flowed that afternoon and the haze in our minds from sailing the last few nights began to blur into a love for this warm, friendly place. The day ended with Rene having a massage on the beach while I chatted to the local hawkers who were friendly even though I didn't buy anything from them.

We purposefully arrived in Lovina before the rest of the rally to find a good anchoring spot easily and to see the town before the crowds descended. We quickly discovered the affordable places to eat and became regulars. It's so cheap to eat here that our daily routine involved meeting up with Molonga for lunch and dinner at Ayu's Warung. The hawkers meet us at the beach every time we pull up the dinghy offering massages, laundry, tours, fruit and carved wooden sculptures. The same hawkers offer us the same things many times each day and my usual response is 'not today' or 'no thanks' or 'ma arf' (sorry). They usually accept this though sometimes there is some banter. One memorable interchange was the following...
Hawker: 'You want buy sarong?'
Me: 'No thanks, not today'
Hawker: 'Oh Ok, not today, maybe tomorrow?'
Me: 'Maybe'
Hawker (laughing with gang of other women): 'not today, maybe tomorrow. Not tomorrow, maybe next day... maybe next life!'

The Balinese are very self-aware and I've found haggling to be a fun experience here. They laugh along as they quote too high prices and I haggle with too low prices until we settle on a happy medium.

We had to buy diesel here for the first time since Darwin. We needed 150 litres and the local guy who'd lead us into safe anchorage sold it to us. We gave him our empty jerry cans and he brought them back the next day but they weren't all full. I didn't pay him the full amount saying that we needed to check if he'd given us the correct amount. He insisted that he had given us the right amount and it turned out that he had. Rene checked it by figuring out the weight of diesel and weighing it, minus the weight of empty jerry's.

Bali was an expensive place for us to visit (compared to the rest of Indonesia) and after observing and chatting to locals there, it made me think a little more about their economy. I don't really know much about how it all works (and anyone who knows me well knows I'm terrible with numbers) but here are my thoughts and observations anyway.
My thoughts keep returning to Udi. She did our laundry (by hand) for 100,000Rp (about $12 for 10Kg's). She works 4 hours a day cleaning a local foreign-owned hotel for 400,000Rp per month. Her husband works as a builder and when there's work, he earns 60,000 per day. Sending a child to school in Bali costs 1 million Rp per year plus associated costs. We spend about 50,000 (at least) each night on our dinner alone. Learning of some local's wages puts it into perspective just how rich most tourists are. The issue with me being 'rich' is that in my own country's terms, I'm almost broke! (We are scraping the barrel of our cruising kitty and need to work again asap. We need to make every last dollar stretch as far as possible so we don't go into debt before we start working again).

I don't know where I'm going with this observation but thought I'd include my thoughts on the matter anyway.  

No comments:

Post a Comment