I wake up earlier than I wanted to. I usually do when I’ve been drinking the night before. The shutters in the bedroom are made of wicker and the sunlight streaks in through them. I make a coffee in the room – finally I’ve got my own tea and coffee making facilities. In Hoi An I had cups and spoons but no kettle or coffee; in Hue a kettle but no coffee, cups and spoons; and in Ubud I had tea and coffee but no cups.
I’m hungry, so I go to the hotel’s rooftop restaurant for the breakfast buffet. I hadn’t ticked this option when I was booking the hotel, so I have to pay. On the website it said breakfast was 65,000 IDR but in the hotel it is 55,000. There is a good spread, and it is packed with people. I get the last table and it’s nice to sit in the sun and see the sea view, even if I do feel a little bit rough. I stuff myself silly – croissants, scrambled eggs and a huge pile of bacon. I haven’t had any bacon on this trip, and I feel guilty as I eat it while healthy types are tucking into plates of fruit and ordering smoothies, but whatever.
Time to see what the town is like in the daylight. Today is Indonesia’s independence day, so I don’t expect much to be open. When I get to the end of the rutted road outside the hotel and onto the tarmacced road I go left to and turn right into another street that runs parallel to the road up to the centre. There is a large rice field in the middle and at the centre is an enormous Indonesian flag. I walk around the street and take the next right to head back to the centre. The buildings are marked with graffiti and it looks quite interesting.
When I get to the centre I turn back onto Batu Bolong, the road which leads back down to Old Man’s. This is one of the main streets in the Canggu area. There are many restaurants and cafes and shops and everything is open, surprisingly. Not long after I come to Love Anchor market. This is a courtyard flanked with cafes which holds a marketplace at the end. Most of the stalls are open, so I wander down and take a look around. It’s nothing you can’t find anywhere else – sarongs, Bintang t-shirts, penis bottle openers, etc. But there’s one stall which catches my eye: it’s selling artwork and coasters, the two main things I usually buy when I am away. I start browsing through before I realise the stallholder hasn’t officially opened up yet – he’s still removing the plastic cover from the stall. I apologise but he says it’s fine. The coasters are made of plywood and have different designs on them like VW camper vans, surfers, etc. I like them, so I ask about the price. It’s 110,000 for one set. The stallholder tells me that he and his grandfather make them. I’m also interested in a small artwork of surfers that has the word Bali on it. He wants 60,000 for this. I try to haggle and get both for 150,000 but the best he can do is 160,000 he says. I take that, and wish him a happy independence day.
I keep going down the street. I drop into some stores just to see what they have. I’m sure that even if I find any clothes I like I probably won’t find them in my size – in 11 years of living in Asia I have only once or twice found things that fit well. I don’t really fall into the standard S, M, L, XL ranges, hovering somewhere between the two – either something fits okay on the body but the arms are too short or it is just entirely too small. I do see some espadrilles that I quite like, but the shop doesn’t stock my foot size. Never mind.
I get to Old Man’s and I step down onto the beach. It’s quite busy – there are lots of umbrellas and sun beds out on the sand, and there are lots of people heading out to surf. The beach is wide and the waves are big. It feels like a proper beach here. I’m intrigued by the Hindu shrine on top of a large rock. I keep walking along and I make it to where The Lawns is before going back to the road. There is a volleyball match happening between some of the bars in the town.
I’m thirsty now, but I don’t feel like water. I wander along the street and see a place I went past earlier called Montagu and made a mental note to go back to. It’s a funky juice bar, and I order a tropical juice of berries, apples and carrot, asking them to leave out the banana that is listed. I sit for a while watching the street go by and thinking about my next moves.
I asked for map from the hotel earlier, since my phone is not working. They gave me a photocopy of a simplified version of the map and I see a road that cuts through to the next road. The bar marked on the corner is the bar that is next door to where I’m sitting, so I decide I will take a look. I pay for the juice and leave, heading down the street. It quickly becomes a country lane and it winds round a corner, dips and crosses a stream and then goes back up. As I cross the stream I stop to look at the bright green algae that has covered it. It’s so bright. I’m thinking to get the camera out when something moves within the water, disturbing the thick layer of algae. It is a huge lizard. Like, really, really big. It looks like an alligator. It makes me jump somewhat. As quickly as I have seen it it disappears and I feel a little unnerved.
I carry on up to the road and turn left. The street is less towny than Batu Bolong, but there are several local restaurants, hotels, villas and coffee shops. At the end of the road it swings round to the left and traffic builds up. Tens of scooters are jostling to take a turn on the right. When I check the map I realise that this is the shortcut – the road with the no entry sign that the car didn’t come up last night. Good to know where it is.
Then I am back at the centre of the town, having done a square loop. I feel I have my bearings somewhat now and it is almost lunchtime. I am not massively hungry after the big breakfast, but I stop for a quick bite to eat anyway. With nothing else in mind I make my way back to the hotel. It will be nice to have a rest and maybe use the pool, especially as I feel a little groggy from the drinking. Not massively so – just a feeling of hunger and thirst. I stop at the convenience store across the street and buy a big water, a strawberry Fanta and a big bottle of Apple juice and take it up to my room.
Sadly, the pool is full of people. There are bean bags and chairs all around and there is loud music playing. It’s all tropical house versions of other hit songs – I swear to God that if I ever hear a tropical house version of Ed Sheeran songs again I might just jump off the balcony. When I swim I don’t really like being surrounded by people, so I just head back upstairs to chill out for a bit. It turns out that my room is above the pool bar and here the music is even louder. I shut the doors and turn on the air conditioner and occupy myself with saving photos and making a couple of posts here on this blog. I also contact an old friend from Korea who is living somewhere near the Canggu area.
When the evening comes I head out again into the town. I go back along the dark road next to the rice field. I have thought about trying food from a place near the centre that sells sandwiches so I get a pulled pork sandwich and a Bintang. It doesn’t take long to arrive and I only stay for about 20 minutes. It’s only 7.30 now and I’m not sure what to do. I go to the Monsieur Spoon cafe next door and get a coffee and a dessert and just sit and think about what’s coming up after my vacation. Time seems to crawl. I get another coffee just to justify my presence taking up one of their tables. Someone comes and gets the Wi-Fi and sits pecking at a phone. I’m still quite glad of not being constantly connected, though it would be nice to have the map and get to know the area in my mind.
I get up and leave and I decide to walk along the third parallel road in Canggu. This will lead down to the Echo Beach restaurant. This is a beach club that opened a few years ago and could be argued to be responsible for the boom in the area, as since its opening a lot more restaurants and places have moved in. You can definitely see how Canggu was mainly farmland and it’s obvious that many of the buildings along the street are completely new, having been built within the last few years.
I follow the road down and keep an eye out for a couple of places I might check out: Salty Volt and Dojo. These are two co-working spaces that are famous in the area. A lot of the digital nomads congregate here to work and meet other like minds. I’m interested to check them out one time, just to see what they are about. I cannot find any trace of Salty Volt – it seems that it has closed. I also never see Dojo, even though there is a sign for it at the corner of the road.
I look around the beach for a minute – it’s in darkness by now – and head back. It’s still only 9 o’clock or so. I decide to head back to Monggo’s – the bar I was at last night. Every single day on this trip I’ve had at least one drink, and even though I’m not feeling 100 percent that I want a beer, if I don’t do it today I’ll break the run. Kim is there at the bar so I greet her and we talk again for a while. She is still very garralous. I tell her about the phone breaking and she regales me with numerous stories of her own broken phones and trips to the Apple Store in Australia to get them fixed and the convoluted stories of losing a phone and buying another and having trouble knowing which phone she’s taking to be repaired and how most places in Bali wouldn’t touch her water damaged phone but one place repaired it. She has a staff member who is going to the repair shop with one of her phones tomorrow and would I like him to take mine along?
Luckily, the insurance I pay for with my bill covers water damage. This is the only reason I took the insurance about three years ago. Although Apple itself will not cover water damage under their warranty, they were sued a few years ago in Korea by someone whose phone showed signs of water damage who complained they’d never dropped it in water and now the government in Korea has legislated that water damage must be repaired or a refurbished unit be offered. I swear that it will not be fixable – the screen won’t come on and when I plug it into the computer it cannot download the update it says it needs. I say perhaps I should check with my phone company first and if water damage is not covered then why not.
The bar closes and we grab another beer and sit outside on the stools talking. I’m getting tired now so I bid her goodnight and she leaves to go to another place a couple of hundred metres away to eat. She points out her house, which is between Monggo’s and my hotel – that is, about 10 metres away – and says drop the phone in tomorrow for the driver if I need to. Alright, I say, and get back to the room for a good, deep sleep.