Tag Archives: nusa lembongan

nusa lembongan

16 Oct

IMG_ 148

After three glorious days in Ubud, Bali, the next stop on our itinerary was a tiny island off the southern coast of Bali called Nusa Lembongan. When we were planning our trip to Bali both Brian and I wanted to try to avoid the touristy areas and instead find some much-needed peace and quiet – it was our honeymoon after all! In my mind, that consisted of finding a chic hotel off the beaten path, but for Brian that meant finding a tiny island off the southern coast of Bali with rundown beach bungalows as the only accommodation and one ATM machine – for the entire island – cash only my friends.

Different strokes for different folks, right?

Through our (Brian’s) research we stumbled upon Nusa Lembongan and we (Brian) instantly fell in love with what it had to offer…not a lot other than pristine beaches and great surf. In all seriousness, though, I had to agree with him, the island looked breathtaking. It’s what I imagine Bali looked like before it became a tourist haven.

So we booked five nights in the nicest bungalow we ( I ) could find on the tiny island of Nusa.

After a leisurely morning in Ubud that consisted of palm readings with Ketut (for moi) and a roasted pig lunch (for Brian) we had to race to the docks to catch the last boat to Nusa because our driver made a mistake on the departure schedule. Seriously, Brian and I were mid-bite when our driver rushed in with a look of sheer terror and announced that we had to leave IMMEDIATELY to have any chance of catching the last boat. I was more than happy to leave my roasted pig lunch behind but poor Brian looked a bit deflated.

After a harrowing drive down the twisting mountain roads from Ubud to the docks (I kept my head down and played solitaire on my phone to avoid looking at the oncoming traffic we were narrowly missing) we arrived with one minute to spare before our boat’s departure.

The minute our driver pulled up to the curb, I jumped out and started running towards the boat in an attempt to hold it while Brian bought us tickets. We both realized rather quickly that there was no boat to hold or to buy tickets for…well at least not for another few hours. Our driver had made yet another mistake and taken us to the wrong dock.

There was only one thing to do in such a situation…laugh and drink beers on the dock while we waited for the next boat.

IMG_1996

After a few hours and a few too many beers we boarded a boat and took off for Nusa.

As we boarded the boat I realized that the boat was made for at least fifty passengers but that there was only ten of us- three hysterical couples from France, two girls in their early twenties and us.

Something seemed off about the whole situation? Why would we be on such a big boat? Upon arrival at Nusa I learned why when we had to transfer to a smaller boat to get to shore. The boat was doing the ten of us a favor by taking us to Nusa. It usually only traveled from Bali to the nearby island of Lombok. This was also when I learned Nusa does not have any boat docks. Say what?

After having to wade through knee-deep water with our luggage and finagling a ride with a local to where we were staying we finally made it to our bungalow and proceeded to do nothing for five days other than sit by the pool, sit on the beach, surf (bri), read, sleep, eat & drink cocktails. The order of that itinerary would change depending on the day but that was pretty much the extent of it.

IMG_ 152

IMG_ 153-1

IMG_2018

IMG_ 158

IMG_ 159

IMG_ 162

IMG_ 163

20141012_A9A5797

20141012_A9A5785

The only time we ventured out of this routine was when we hired two local men to take us on a tour of the island on the back of their motorbikes (Brian holding on to one guy and me on the back of another…yes, the image you have in your head is correct). We would have taken ourselves on this tour but neither of us could master the art of driving a motorbike. Well, that’s not fair…I didn’t even try; while I am a go getter, I also know my limits. Brian on the other hand did try but almost drove into a wall while trying to learn, with one very worried wife and one very worried but slightly amused Balinese women watching on. It was then I informed him we would not be renting a motorbike and instead hired two locals.

The big stop on our island tour was the seaweed farms and mangrove forests, a stop in which I not only got to see how they farm seaweed but I also got to see Brian nearly miss getting mauled by a tiny monkey. Let me tell you the seaweed farms were awesome but seeing Brian aimlessly walk through a tiny monkey den, with a big sign that read “DO NOT WALK THROUGH MONKEY DEN” was pretty awesome as well…. of course only after I was sure he wasn’t going to lose an eye or anything. It was something I would have done myself and probably would never have lived down, so I relished every minute of it. The fact that there was also a group of drunk Balinese men nearby to witness it was not lost on me either.

20141012_A9A5916 2

20141012_A9A5887

20141012_A9A5880

20141012_A9A5907 2

After five days of pure relaxation it was time to head back to the mainland (Bali) and to our last stop on our honeymoon tour, Manggis, which was located in East Bali…and that, my friends, is where the shit hit the fan.

We woke up that morning to a dark grey sky and a turbulent ocean. Seriously, the waves were insane. Even the locals were out watching the angry sea pound into the shore. Remember what I mentioned in the beginning of this post…there are NO boat docks on Nusa. So on a normal day the small boats back into the shore as close as they possibly can and people wade through the water to board. This was not a normal day. I spent the morning watching boats try to manuever into shore while getting hit by huge waves. I swear a few almost capsized. When one would finally make it close enough to unload tourists, it looked like a scene straight out of a WWII D-day film. People would scream – go! go! go! – as they would frantically try to get off the boat before the next wave came (which was at most ten seconds). I saw lots of people fall and it wasn’t pretty.

I sat on the beach in horror popping xanax. The idea of having to board one of those boats was my worst nightmare…I am terrified of the ocean. When our boat finally made it close enough to the shore it was game time. Brian said he’s never seen me run so fast. The Balinese boat guy screamed “NOW!!!” and that’s exactly what I did. I got the fuck on the boat before the next wave came. But once I was on the boat I couldn’t help but think…why am I on this boat? Now we had to make it across the turbulent and treacherous Badung Straight in this boat? I’m not even trying to be funny when I say….I truly thought we were going to die during that boat trip. I spent the whole twenty-minute trip crying. Usually, I’d chalk this up to me being a tad dramatic but not this time. The situation was dramatic. When we made it across I told Brian I would NEVER be going to Nusa Lembongan again. I’m glad I have pictures.

Next up…East Bali and our stay at the otherworldly Alila Manggis

Ketut

25 Aug

201408177A9A5762 2

Have you seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”? If you have then I assume you are aware of who Ketut is, but for those of you who missed the movie (is that even possible?) he is the medicine man in Bali that reads Julia Roberts fortune, helping her transform her life after a painful divorce. I loved his character- he had such an infectious laugh and smile. I had always assumed that Ketut was an actor but discovered shortly before we left on our honeymoon that he was indeed a real medicine man in Bali. Thrilling news for a gal like me. I’m a sucker for fortune tellers & psychics….I also take people’s astrological signs pretty seriously. I know, I know, I’m such a product of growing up in LA. But I really do believe in the magic of it all. With that said I knew I would find a way to visit with Ketut while we were in Ubud. IT WAS A MUST.

Cut to our last morning in Ubud…next stop the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan off the coast of coast of Bali. The ferry that was taking us from Bali to Nusa wasn’t until 2pm so had many hours to squeeze in a few things we still wanted to see before leaving Ubud…first up a visit to Ketut and then lunch at the famous sucking-pig restaurant (Clearly, the latter was Brian’s choice).

After saying goodbye to the lovely staff (that I had somehow grown very attached to in three short days) and the gorgeous Rivermoon Villa (mark my words…I am going back to that place again) we packed Nyomen’s car up and headed to Ketut’s home. My excitement level was at an all time high. I was going to meet Ketut!

securedownload

Through my lengthy Ketut research I learned that he worked on a first come first serve basis so I made sure that we got there a 1/2 an hour after his doors opened. Sadly, this still left me in 8th place. The only highlight to being in 8th place is the fact that eight is my lucky number…obviously I took this as a very special omen.

IMG_ 139

Brian on the other hand was not impressed with the number 8 considering that Ketut spent 1/2 an hour with every person. Yes, let’s do the math….we were going to have to wait 4 hours. HA. The loving wife part of me offered to forgo my reading with Ketut but the crazy fortune-teller obsessed part of me was pretty sure it was a pretty weak offer. Thankfully my sweet husband agreed to wait. I mean, I can’t go all the way to Bali and NOT meet Ketut. Plus Ketut is very very very old (I think over 100?) and I was rather certain that this was my one shot at hanging with him.

So we waited…..

doesn't Brian look thrilled?

doesn’t Brian look thrilled?

After four glorious hours baking in the sun, number 8 was called!

I’ve been going back and forth on what to report about my time with Ketut. Truthfully, I was expecting a tad more from the whole experience. Although, I suppose nothing lives up to ones expectations when they were as high as mine were. I was expecting some groundbreaking, life changing, epic shit to occur during our 30 minutes together. Instead he told me I was going to have three kids, warned me not to screw up my marriage with Brian (thanks for the vote of confidence, Ketut. Ha) and that I was a highly creative soul. Yes, there was a bit more than those three bullet points but you get the point. I will say that being in his presence might have been worth the four-hour wait. His energy is infectious! His whole face lights up when he laughs….and he laughs a lot! I pretty much spent 1/2 hour giggling with him. He really is a light.

201408177A9A5760 2

201408177A9A5779 2

After my visit with Ketut it was time to repay Brian for the five hours of his life that he wasted for me and stop for some suckling pig! Nyomen dropped us off at the famous Ibu Oka restaurant in Ubud for lunch.

IMG_ 142

Bali is notorious for its Babi Guling, a Balinese style whole roasted suckling pig! The entire pig is stuffed with a combination of typical spices used in Indonesian cooking including turmeric, coriander seeds, lemon grass and more. Babi Guling is unique to the island and very rare in other parts of Indonesia as the country is a predominately Muslim (consumption of pork is prohibited), whereas the majority of the population in Bali is Hindu.The dish is another of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites when in Ubud and I can see why. While I am not a huge fan of pig in general the mix of flavors was delicious.

plateofbabi1

Next up…our crazy journey to the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan…

*

find me elsewhere : facebook / instagram / twitter / pinterest