I finished proofreading the book on Saturday morning, but I always like to go over it a second time after a couple of days’ rest to look for any oversights. Since I miss breakfast again by sleeping in, I head to Breadelicious with my laptop because I know their Wi-Fi won’t cut out every 15 minutes. I do my checking and then, since it’s Monday, I can do my bank transfers and start to look for accommodation in Bali.
I’ve decided to head to Canggu. I have an old friend from Korea who lives near that area, and I’ve never stayed there before. While I wait for the book file to upload – the Wi-Fi is very slow – I browse Booking.com and some ‘What to do in Canggu guides’ and I come across a blogger who writes about her stay in a hotel called FRii hotel. It looks like a really nice place, and some rooms have direct pool access. I loved staying in a villa with my own pool when I went to Bali in 2015, so I try to see if I can get a room. Sadly, I can’t get a room for seven nights – it’s only available for six of those nights. Should I stay somewhere for one night and then move? Or should I say in a villa I’ve found nearby?
I refresh the page for the FRii hotel while I’m thinking about it and it now says they have one room left. It is a ‘mystery room’ – it could be one of the deluxe rooms for a lower price than normal, says the website. I grab it. It’s more than I’m looking to pay – 4,500,000 IDR compared the 3,500,000 for the villa, both of which are higher than the 2,000,000 or so I had in mind – but I haven’t spent as much as I thought on Gili Air and it’s my last week, so why not splurge? Happy with my booking, I head back to the hotel to drop off my computer and then go to the travel agent to book a bus and boat to Bali.
When I get there I realise that the agent I went to yesterday with the closed doors was not the one that had been looking for flights for me. Oops. He tells me they found a flight and were able to hold it, but I hadn’t come back so they let it go. Oh well – I’ve made my peace with not going to Flores now, and I explain that I live in Korea so I can come back to Indonesia easily – it’s not like I’m on a once-in-a-lifetime trip from Europe or the other side of the world.
While I’m booking a Dutch woman comes in and asks about getting over to Lombok. She has time for a couple of nights. Is Senggigi or Kuta a better option? She will fly out of Lombok. I interrupt her conversation and recommend Kuta, telling her about my experiences there. She says she was inclined to go to Kuta but now she knows that is what she will do and thanks me.
I book the fast boat to Padang Bai and the bus to Seminyak, which is close to Canggu. There is a ticket to Canggu but it requires a minimum of two people. I can’t face taking the public ferry again, and it would take a lot longer and cost more as I’d have to first get back to Lombok, then travel the two hours to Lembar port, then take the five-hour ferry and then get across to Canggu from Padang Bai, which would take about two hours. I pay 375,000 IDR for the trip. I put my ticket safely in my wallet and remember that I have to come to the office at 10.45 on Wednesday morning, which is good because my check out time is 10.30.
It’s lunchtime now. I decide to head over to Chill Out Bungalows again to get lunch. It’s hot and I haven’t put sunscreen on, so I stick to the shade. I sit at a table that seats six – it has benches with comfy pillows on it – get a coffee first and I read my book contentedly. I have about 50 pages to go. I get mie goreng for lunch and decide to order a cider after so that I can keep the table while I keep reading. I’m there for a good couple of hours. I decide to get a doughnut from the bakery too, which sustains me until I finish the book.
I have another book in the room which I will read next. For now, I’m done. It’s about 2.30 and I need to get some steps in and I head back up the east coast. When I get to a road which turns left, I head down it into the middle of the island. I pass a cafe and homestay and then see a sign which says book shop. Huh. I pop inside to take a look. I’m browsing the titles and nothing stands out, but then I see the title Bad Vibes. I remember that when I was in the line to get on the ferry going to Lombok a woman next to me had a t-shirt on which said No Bad Vibes. I pick the book up. It’s by Luke Haines, the frontman of a 90s indie band called the Auteurs, and is subtitled Britpop and My Role in its Downfall. I read the blurb. I’ve read about this book before (it was published in 2009) and Britpop was my era, so I decide I’ll get it. It’s only 70,000 IDR.
I carry on through the interior of the island. This time I take some roads I haven’t gone down before and it really is like a being in a country village somewhere. I’m passing people’s houses and ducking under their laundry and trying not to kick their chickens as they scratch past. I think again about how weird it is that there’s a whole village encircled by the tourism boom on the island. I don’t try and take any photos. I always think of an experience at a floating village in Inle Lake in Myanmar when I think about taking pictures of people’s homes in this way: I saw a whole boat of European tourists clamouring take photos of a lady hanging out her washing, and I always wonder how it would feel if my mother were pegging hers out and a busload of Asian tourists were peering over the garden fence and thrusting cameras at her.
I cut through some more lanes. There are lots of new villas and homestays being built and there are people hard at work constructing them. I come to a large, open field close to the boat station that has laundry hanging in it and cows grazing in it, and then I come down to the road near the boats.
On the corner of the road that leads to my hotel and the road that leads west up the coast there is a coffee shop called Coffee and Thyme. I keep thinking to try it when I go past but it’s usually at sunset time when I’m going back to get ready. Now it is only around 4 pm, so I have a nose at the menu and decide to get a carrot and ginger juice since I’m not sure I want any more coffee. The seats are in a little sort of garden next to the road and there are bean bags scattered around. I plonk myself down on one and read my book for an hour or so, thinking how nice it is and how cool it would be to have a coffee shop in Seoul that is just comfy bean bags and not the usual wooden table and chair arrangements, though I guess it wouldn’t work well there as outside space is hard to come by and no one would want to be outside in the frigid winters.
Back to the hotel to change and head out for sunset. I’m not sure where to go this time. I walk up the path from the boat station and see the bar that I went to with Neo on Saturday. There are hardly any people there, so I grab a bean bag on the front row. It’s a little earlier than usual and there is more light.
Tonight the water is so still. It’s like a sheet of glass. It’s really quite incredible, and once again the pictures cannot do it justice. I have been really spoiled by these sunsets. I am very close to the swings, and it’s amusing again to watch people queuing up for their turn. The bar starts to fill up as the sunset progresses.
After golden hour there is live music. A guy is singing with his guitar, and then he announces he will have a break and be back. I haven’t finished my beer yet. Can I bothered to move? I ask for the menu and decide to get pesto pasta and garlic bread, which is really good. The singer is back and he’s doing the same old beach standards – Yellow, You’re Beautiful, etc. It turns out he’s from Italy. He massacres You Shook Me All Night Long by trying to sing the second verse in a high-pitched squeal. It’s kind of cringey. He’s strumming a few chords for a while and then just leaves the stage. It seems his set is over.
I’m enjoying it. The food is good and being next to the water is nice, though it is quite windy now and I start to feel chilly. Another singer comes onto the stage and starts doing some more reggae standards – Kingston Town, etc. I get another beer because I can’t be bothered to move.
Eventually I’m ready to go, and I head back to Breadelicious and continue. This is becoming my routine now. It’s a bit later than normal, and at 10 I am asked to go to the outside seating area because they’re going to close up the shop. It’s earlier than normal, but whatever. I’m quite tired anyway, so I’m kind of happy to head back to the hotel.