Mar 16, 2012


padang bai
padang bai is hot, oppressively, lethargically, overwhelmingly hot.
i't pretty smelly - not always bad smells but it's consistently smelly.  it smells of incense. garbage. fish. cooking. diesel. the sea. laundry. rain. mildew. smoke. and that heavy, earthy smell of jungle.
it is fairly quiet.
most of the noise comes from day to day life in padang bai; loud engines on ancient trucks or motorbikes passing by, people yelling in the distance, children bouncing by on their way home from school, the automated tone of the ferry operator announcing something in indonesian (presumably departure info), dogs barking, roosters crowing, gamelon music floating through open windows, and a few times a day i can hear the eerie wailing of prayer over a loud speaker.  i think it's muslim.  it adds to the foreigness of everything and i find it beautiful.

people here are rigorous about selling.  everyone is always offering you something.

"taxi! taxi!"
"where you go? beach? you need motorbike?  i hab motorbike!"
"coconut? pineapple?"
"laundry! i do laundry! laundry?"
"sarung? you need sarung? bery nice good price yah!"
"you want go to gili?  need fast boat?"
"massage for you?"

and on and on.  it's more vehement than in ubud - i'm assuming because most people are transiting through here on their way to the gilis or lombok and so the window of opportunity for selling is short.  whatever the reason - it's consistent and relentless.
the beach is crazy nice. the water, beautiful.  i go to the white sand beach near the hotel.  to get there i walk up the road which leads up a hill past houses and homestays and a temple.  then i take a left on a dirt track that leads over another hill through shells of buildings and abandoned construction and down to the water through clouds of dragonflies.
it's a very small beach.  i think the name puntai kecil means "little beach".  so far the waves have been pretty large, reaching far up the shore and leaving very little space to lay out.  where the beach meets the jungle warungs run nearly the entire length of it.  women walk around with baskets of fruit on their heads and sarongs over their arms, selling and offering three dollar massages.
the waves are too intense for much swimming so i pretty much just lay out, read, jump in, eat in the shade, repeat.  i've gone through a staggering amount of literature since arriving in p bai.  today the waves were so rough and huge even getting in the water was nearly impossible and every time someone tried a little balinese man ran up and down the beach clapping and yelling something that i later found out meant "danger".  eventually all of the beach was washed over repeatedly with the violent, churning water and i left much earlier than i would have due to the fact i could neither be in the water nor out of it.
i've realized i don't like travelers.  which is funny - since i am one.  i would nearly always prefer to keep company with locals.  so many conversations with travelers are just about where they have been, or where they are going.  i don't know - maybe it's from working at the holiday park too long or maybe this is an attitude i'm adopting to help justify my hermitage here.  in the last 4 days i've done nearly nothing but read, eat and beach.  so far i'm content enough with this pattern not to venture out of it.  t's easy and luxurious and i'm lazy.  but i'm bored.
i'm forcing myself to do nothing.  and i'm bored.
my tan feels like an accomplishment.

and i really wish you were here. xo

No comments:

Post a Comment