Bali Hi (6)

Friday 12.8.88
Sri Homestay, Anturan Beach, west of Singaraja

We seem to have found one of those quiet idyllic beach bolt-holes complete with sunset and friendly people which I sub-consciously seek on my tropical travels. There are no souvenir vendors apart from a sea shell seller on the sea shore. John Surman is playing on the restaurant’s sound system as I await my black rice pudding for breakfast.

Sam is out snorkelling somewhere on the reef which keeps or sea so calm. I’m not because I’m suffering aches and pains in neck and legs from yesterday’s climb of Mt. Batur.

A short sleep in a nondescript place…

… and up for a 4am start with a young guide named Nyoman, the commonest name encountered in the past three days. We scrabbled up the dusty lava scree and made it to the crater rim edged with clouds like dry ice, and watched the sunrise over Lombok. The crater floor was sharply edged in morning shadow, highlighting lava flows, past eruptions and obvious evidence that this is a not yet dormant volcano.

Down below we could make out the carefully mapped terraces of human endeavour, of scant agricultural reward of corn and chillies. Birds were ore common than previously seen or heard, one sounding remarkably like a skylark.

What spoiled the view were the ubiquitous guides – “Where you from, mister?” – and the guys pestering us to buy the bottles of coke they’d carried in buckets on their head alongside us as we climbed up.

But we found our necessary solitude, sat, took photos and thought our thoughts: Nature 1 – Humans 0. Or perhaps the score is really Nature 2 – Humans 1 because, after all, the locals have fought back, carving a living from the land and the invading tourists.

Batur ’88, a painting in Jakartass Towers based on photograph.

We cleaned off and relaxed in the hot springs below and then headed for the north coast and here.

I continue to ache, but I’m sure the morning’s massage did me good because I haven’t had so much pain deliberately inflicted on me before. She, an elderly deaf mute fisherman lady, knows every meridian pointing the hands and legs. She looked frail yet was very strong, as she proved while pressing pressure points and walking and down my back.

She also told me a lot: 50 years ago she was a good dancer; she had ten children – “Kenapa untuk saya, satu anak cukup?”; suntan lotion isn’t as good as her embrocation, and my body isn’t in good fettle.

I know that! But can I believe her when she says that I’ll feel the effects – beneficial I hope – in six hours?

For now, I still ache and must wait.


About Jakartass

A Brit Abroad
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