dua Bintang besar dingin

Translation – two large, cold Bintangs (beers)

A boat near the mangrove forest, Nusa Lembogan

I write this in the morning as I sit on the beach on Nusa Lembogan, looking out at the blue-green ocean dotted with colorful boats, with a coffee and plate of fresh fruit on the table, and a brindle pup sleeping by my feet. Heaven? I think it could be.

David and I arrived here on a small boat that took a little over an hour from the beach of Sanur. The island is small and peaceful, bungalows perched along the beach, locals raking out their recent catch of seaweed to dry which they will eventually export around the world, and young boys dominating the surf breaks, showing up the foreigners who come to ride the waves. Nusa Lembogan and the surrounding islands are incredibly poor, but visiting here you might not think so. These are some of the nicest people I have ever met and their spirits are high.

Our first day on the island, David and I rented bicycles to check out the other side of the island where the beaches are located. Everyone told us to rent a motorbike, but no, we wanted push bike. Another rookie move, we left just before noon – the hottest time of day – and began peddling down the main road when we heard yelling and cheering coming from an enclosed courtyard. Getting off our bikes, already sweating profusely, we walked into our first cock-fight of the trip. There were men sitting, standing, and squatting. The entire courtyard was packed and full of energy. And not only was I the only caucasian there, but also the only female. As we tried to find a good place to watch with everyone’s eyes roaming from the ongoing fight to the foreigner who just came upon this obvious boys-only clubhouse, the first fight came to a close. We stayed a while longer watching a new group of men with their cocks (does that sound bad?) enter the ring and exchange bets and roosters, stroking their feathers and getting a feel for who would make a good match.

Leaving the fight we began peddling directly uphill (Oh! This is what they were talking about…). Both David and I had not rode a bike in years, and this was definitely a challenge to say the least. After walking the bikes for a while, we made the bumpy trip to Dream Beach – sore, sweaty, and out of breath.

Dream Beach, Nusa Lembogan

The beach was worth it, though. A small ribbon of sand enclosed by jutting cliffs and an ocean break calm enough to swim in. We came back here twice (this time on a motorbike) and explored the other small beaches and the large mangrove forest on the opposite side of the island.

Nusa Lembogan is a welcome haven from south Bali. Life slows down here considerably and we spend most evenings reading on the beach as the sun sets. This is more of the Indonesia we were looking for. We have little to do, and nowhere to be. Dav occasionally asks me what time it is, and I reply, “What does it matter?”

A sunset from our patio at the Pondok Baruna, Nusa Lembogan

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