I wasn’t sure what to expect with Sanur. It wasn’t my first choice of places to spend three nights before drumming started but it is how things worked out. We visited here on our first trip to Bali, many years ago and it was, from memory, a small out station to Kuta with a couple of resorts and some tiny warungs along a dirt road. We went snorkelling here and it is also where we think I contracted the debillitating dose of salmonella poisoning that ruined my first trip to Asia. Not a good start.

I knew it would be touristy, all of Bali is, but Sanur seems to be 100% tourist. Every local you see is somehow involved in the tourist trade. There is no Balinese culture left here. I tried to find somewhere for breakfast where the locals eat but there was nowhere. I asked a few Indonesian on the street for a warung kecil and they directed to a Westernised joint called ‘Warung Kecil’! I ended up having an awesome latte – up to Melbourne standards at a trendy little joint called Kopi Kiosk, advertising the best coffee in Sanur! I was not disappointed.

After brekky, Mie Goreng Ayam, I headed for the beach and walked the long path alongside for a while. I was surprised by how quiet it is. The beach is deserted, hundreds of empty lounges. I stop and chat to a man selling water type experiences. I consider a stand up paddle session but the water is too rough and the wind too strong. He says to come back besok pagi, tomorrow morning. My basic Indonesian is coming back as I chat to the locals. He also said it is normally quiet in May. But the weather is perfect, warm and, because it is dry, not too humid and the wind off the ocean provides nice relief.

I visit the Le Mayeur Museum, which is in the home of Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur, a Belgian painter. He came to Bali in 1932, discovered a beautiful young local dancer, Ni Pollock, who became the model for his paintings. He later built his house at Sanur and married Ni Pollock. Le Mayeur became reasonably well known as a painter and lived the rest of his life at Sanur. In later life he gifted the house and artworks to Ni Pollock who in turn passed it onto the government to use as a museum. He died in 1958. 

After wandering through the museum/house, I came across the local ferry ‘terminal’ that proved to be so entertaining that I sat in the ‘passenger terminal’ to watch. The boats reversed with full power up onto the beach and offloaded passengers and luggage into the water. The tide was in and the waves were quite a challenge. The porters were piled up with suitcases two or three high. Obviously, they had done it all before and there were no mishaps.

As it was lunch time I decided to ‘stalk’ the local ferry workers to see where they went for lunch and I ended up down the path a bit on the beach in a small warung. To the amusement of the lads I sat down on the bench with them and quickly ordered something randomly off the menu called Tipat Tahu, just to show I knew what I was on about. I knew tahu is a fried version of tofu but Tipat – could be anything. I kept an eye on the lady preparing my meal to check out the ingredients. It looked like she was slicing up ketupat – compressed rice steamed in a woven pouch. Then vegies, tofu and a peanut sauce. All good. It was delicious. I later found out ketupat is known as tipat in Bali.

Later, on my walk back toward the villa in anticipation of a swim and Bintang, I am waylaid by the water equipment gent again. His name is Wayan and he lived in Kew for a while when he was younger. He now does many things to make a living, one of them being massage. We negotiate a price and then he sets up a table on the middle of the empty beach, under a shady tree. His son has connections with the place I am staying. He is an architect who studied in Denpassar. Wayan is good at his trade, very strong. And afterwards I do not have the energy for the hike back up the beach. Luckily, a resting place appears and I rest…

Finally, back to my room for a quick cool down swim in my deliciously tiny and personal pool before heading to one of the resorts to catch up with Jane from Uni and Kingswood College days. A few cocktails and we head out to dinner with her group of friends from Perth. We end up at The Coconut Bar for a pretty decent meal and some great live music.


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