Today is another day that I don’t really have a plan for. I’ve woken up too late for breakfast on the roof again, so I wander down the street with the brekkie sandwich from Gypsy Kitchen on my mind. It’s just after 10.30 when I’m greeted by a friendly waitress who tells me that the kitchen will be closed for half an hour or so while the staff prepare for a large party that has booked in for lunch. That’s okay, I think. I get a coffee and use the Wi-Fi.
Today is Monday. There are two days left of my vacation before I head back to Korea. That thought hits me hard when I get an email from Malaysia Airlines telling me that I can now check in for my flight. Only 48 hours left.
I’m watching the clock and browsing while I wait for 30 minutes to go by. I really fancy that sandwich again, even though it’s kind of pricey. I call the waitress over and ask if I can order now. She checks with the kitchen but it’s a no; they’re still busy.
I pay up and head to the place next door. Within ten minutes I’ve got another coffee and plate of French toast, and I can still use Gypsy Kitchen’s Wi-Fi.
I’ve formulated a plan while browsing. I had forgotten about Batu Berawa, the road I came along when I was coming back from Seminyak on Friday. I remember seeing the interesting coffee shops and restaurants down near Finn’s Club, so I decide I will head over there today. I grab my things from the hotel and I make my way over to the shortcut.
As I’ve mentioned before, Canggu is primarily made up of three roads which run parallel to each other. To get between the roads you must go all the way up to the end to where there is a main road. There is only one small road that allows access between these roads, and it is nicknamed the shortcut.
I make my way there, passing through the centre. I came as far as the start of the shortcut on my first morning here, but haven’t been along it yet. I turn into the road that leads to it, and soon I’m on the shortcut. It is a very narrow road that passes through some lovely rice fields. There are a lot of scooters pootling along, and a couple of cars attempting it too. The road dips down and then climbs back up and as I walk I am right next to the rice terraces. It’s interesting to see.
As with most other places there is graffiti on the walls. I have been pondering my future in Korea on the trip, and I have already realised that I pretty much don’t want to teach any more. I see a wall graffitied with the message “Whatever you do, do it with love.” It’s like a lightbulb moment. I realise that I don’t love teaching any more, and I half wonder if it is too late to send an email to my school telling them that I want to resign. There’s still a couple of weeks left before the semester begins, so they have time to find cover.
I carry on up the shortcut mulling this over. I get to Batu Berawa and take a right turn. I screen shotted a guide to the area and I’m keeping an eye out for some of the places I’ve read about. I don’t see anything yet, but there are some interesting stores and little restaurants lining the street. It’s hot and I try to keep to the shade, but there is little of it.
I check the map and I keep going. I get down to the end of the road and see Finn’s Club. I step down onto the beach and I realise once again that I’m actually very close to Echo Beach and Old Man’s – it looks to be only a few minutes’ walk along the sand. I could have saved myself much time but then I wouldn’t have got the steps in on the watch. I resolve to walk back along the beach when it’s time to head back.
I check the map again. I realise that I have not actually come to Batu Berawa – I’ve come along another road that runs down from the shortcut. I’m looking for a cafe called Macan Cafe. I’ve heard it is supposed to be good and this is what I was looking for. I follow the road back up and take a turn to the right which will lead me over there. I walk through some more rice fields and then come out on Batu Berawa, right where Finn’s Recreation Club and the Starbucks are. I remember passing these in the taxi back from Seminyak.
I head up the street, keeping an eye out for Macan Cafe. I pass some interesting shops and now I see the names of places I read about. I’m on the right track, but it’s hot and I’m thirsty. I stop in at a restaurant called Sunny Cafe that looks nice. It has a terrace outside, I’m thirsty, and it’s lunch time. I get a lime juice and with my raging thirst it is pretty much gone 90 seconds after it’s brought out to me. The waitress sees this and comes to collect the glass and leave me a menu. I browse it and decide to stay for lunch. I order some tasty beef tacos and another lime juice and spend a pleasant hour in the shade watching the world go by.
Around 2 o’clock I make a move and I continue up the street. I find Macan Cafe. It’s on the other side of the street, so I almost miss it. It’s time for coffee, so I order an iced late and squeeze myself into an comfortable armchair-style seat in a back corner. I get out my book and I read for a while, but I’m disturbed by an enormous wasp thing that suddenly drops from the window shade and crawls along the window sill next to my shoulder.
I get up and move to the other side of the table. This creature then decides to crawl onto the chair I’ve just vacated. Okay, it’s not buzzing around and causing any harm. It’s not weirding me out or anything. I leave it be, but I keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t come near me. After a couple of chapters it leaves the chair and goes back to the window sill and spends time moving up and down the window.
No matter. I’m getting more into Men At Arms now. I’m about a third of the way through by now. I get another drink – coconut water this time – and enjoy time reading in a comfortable chair.
By around 4.30 pm I decide it’s time to move on. I realise that I haven’t yet seen a sunset in Canggu, so I think about making my way down to the beach to see it. Where I am now on Batu Berewa is close to the shortcut, so I don’t bother with going down to the beach. I make my back along the road and through the rice terraces and come out in the centre. I think about going down to the end the road my hotel is on, but I take a swerve and decide to go down to Old Man’s instead. They have a happy hour from 5 pm to 6 pm and it’s right next to the beach.
I pull up a seat at the bar on the street side and order a small Bintang. It’s buy one get one free. It’s crowded here; on the other side of the bar, which faces the interior of the bar, people are queuing two deep to get a drink. I must have been lucky because I only waited about a minute before I get served.
An Indonesian chap sitting next to me asks to borrow my lighter. I lend it, of course. He asks where I’m from. England, I say. He’s from Jakarta but moved to Bali a few years ago. His name is Albert. He chats with me for a little bit. He finishes his beer and then he orders another and gives me the free one. I can’t accept, I think, but he’s insistent so I accept. He seems like a nice guy. I promise I’ll buy him one back. “It’s fine,” he says languidly.
We keep talking for a while. A space opens up inside the bar, so we move over to it to get away from the street. He tells me about his work – he’s the marketing manager for a spa chain on the island. The chain is opening a new branch in Canggu soon. The main branch is in Seminyak. I should go, he says. He can give me a 30% discount. I laugh and thank him – spas aren’t really my thing. Besides, with just two days left of my vacation and having bought a phone with half of my remaining budget, cars to Seminyak and back and spa treatments are off the menu for now. Maybe next time I’m in Bali, he says.
Of course, I have to explain why I can’t get a scooter – no licence, no experience, no international driver’s permit. I say that when I get back to Korea I’ll have to learn to ride so that I can do rent a scooter next time I’m on holiday. He introduces me to Go-jek, an app through which you can order a bike and a rider much like you can an Uber in the west. You can do tons of things through this app – have a Go-jek rider collect and deliver something, bring you food, etc. Huh. Maybe next time.
We get some food. Albert’s favourite food is nasi goreng. He eats it almost every day, he tells me. I’m kind of nasi or mie gorenged out at this point – trying as I was to stay on the local foods while I was in Lombok and on Gili Air. I get some satay though, and I buy him back the drink that I promised, even though he protests.
I swap my number with him – after the help I got from Neo when I lost my bank card in Lombok, it might be useful to have another local person to help. I don’t know what else can go wrong while I’m here in the time that I have left, but you never know.
I drink up and head back to the hotel. I didn’t get to see the sunset in the end, but it was nice to have a chat with someone and have someone to talk to over a meal. I head back to the centre and down the road to the hotel. I’m thinking about having one last drink in Monggo’s but I decide against it. I see Kim sitting at the bar – her back is towards me – and I wonder if she ever got her phone back.
Back in the room I think about having to pack tomorrow. I’ve only really done a stuff-everything-in-the-bag kind of pack for the boats in Indonesia. Now I’ve got to really sort everything out for the plane and for getting home. I get another email from Malaysia Airlines – it’s now 48 hours before my red eye to Seoul from Kuala Lumpur, so I can check in online for that flight.
I hate packing. At least I can put it off until tomorrow – the last day of my holiday.