From Ubud, we hired a car to take us to Sanur. This is a much quieter place to enjoy the beach and it is also the launching point for boats to Nusa Penida, our next destination. This beach was a relief from the many touts of Kuta. We rented these chairs from a restaurant that also kept us in fresh, cold Bintang beers.
There are many Indonesian tourists that travel to Bali as well. The day we sat at this beach we were approached by two different groups of people from Borneo and asked Matt and I to take photos with each of them! There were excited to meet Americans because not very many people travel to Borneo. Here's a shot of the scene! I'm taking a photo with a guy whose shirt says "Don't Worry. Be Wary!" I'm not sure he knew what his shirt said and I didn't heed his own warning apparently.
Thursday morning, we hopped on the public boat to Nusa Penida. Tourists rarely take this boat, you might be sharing it with a chicken. We were on our way out and were called back in to take on some more cargo. We waited about 45 minutes to load about 15 mattresses, some boxed furniture, and some painting of tropical flowers. Must've been heading to some hotel. It was like watching a mattress parade come down the beach.
Finally, we arrive on Nusa Penida, which is a small island off of Bali. Tourists rarely go there. There is really only one or two places to stay. We stayed with MM Diving. It's a motel, small cafe, and diving operation run by a few Czech people. They helped us with everything on Penida and had all of our meals there (there aren't any restaurants, only small stalls).
We rented a motorbike for about $7 and rode over to Crystal Bay, the most gorgeous beach I've ever stepped foot on. It's the only beach that matches up with its cheesy name. It's really out there. Villagers come and walk their cows down the beach. Boys fish naked with a hook on a string, women and girls bring their laundry down to wash on the rocks at the end of the stream that runs into the ocean. There is beautiful coral and all kinds of tropical fish there. We went snorkeling and saw some pretty amazing stuff.
At one end of the beach is a rarely used sea temple. A local man said they only use it about two times a year.
That night we ate, drank Bintang, and watched Czech diving videos at MM Diving with a bunch of Czechs. I was pretty beat and we went to bed early. We got up early the next morning, ate breakfast, had a box lunch made for us and rented a scooter again. This time we did a trip circumnavigating the entire island. This is maybe one of the most amazing, off the grid days I've ever had. We rode our motorbike (sans helmets- sorry Moms and Safety Girl, but no one has a helmet on this island) around this tiny, little roads that have very little traffic. We kept being passed by twelve year old boys and old men - we weren't going fast at all! Matt had never driven a motorbike before, but, as usual, was a quick study. I held on for dear life and drove him nuts by squeaking in his ear on a rough gear change. Soon, I also learned when he was going to shift gears and braced myself for it.
The main island road runs by the coast on the north and north west side, but then cuts inland over the interior hills. We kept passing all these beautiful little spots. We stopped to take some pictures and stretch our legs. We made one pit stop at a bat cave temple on the island. We walked up these huge steps to a little temple and weren't sure if we'd found it, but it was it. There were three men who seemed to live/always hang out up there. They really laughed at all of Matt's gear- they found it so ridiculous and probably totally unnecessary. Below is Matt and the man who guided us through the cave and laughed at Matt's gear. There were real bats in there!
The tiny person-sized hole you have to crawl into. Then you have to crouch and crawl through a low cave, which eventually opens up into a large cavern.
Matt and I have never been so famous! Children and many other people stop whatever they were doing to wave furiously and yell "Hello" and then any combination of any other English greeting if they knew it. "Hello nice to meet you what is your name by!" All while we are driving by on a motorbike. These boys had us surrounded when we came down from the cave.
We drove for hours around exploring. We took a detour looking for a waterfall. Our map showed one straight, easy road, but after about the fifth or sixth fork in the road we decided we were lost and didn't know how many more forks there were. We cut our losses and backtracked. Our detour took us off "the main road" and into some very small, out-there villages. It was probably the most National Geographic I'll ever get in real life. Old women crushing grains bare-chested, all the men working on building something together. Then we went back to Crystal Bay. Below you can see a naked boy fishing. Later he caught a long skinny fish and played with it by dragging it around the beach.
Matt is coming back from snorkeling Day 2. This time he got to swim with two 8-9 foot Manta rays. They came up and swam around him, played with him, touched him and let Matt touch them. He said it was one of the most awesome things that has ever happened to him.
We headed back to the hotel and giant Czech men who were staying there gave us a "Pena Penida" like a pena colida. They drank giant beers for breakfast, sat around talking loudly in czech, and a few wearing only sweaty tank tops and bikini brief underwear! Clothes are way over-rated on Nusa Penida. Anyway, these guys gave our stay there a lot of character.