Every time we return to Bali Sara and I venture further off the beaten path.
Firstly – we never stay down on the popular beaches since we share an allergy for drunken surfers. We prefer the hour’s drive from the airport into the foothills of the volcano – staying in Ubud. Ubud is considered the artist’s heart of the island and has been made doubly famous by the book and subsequent movie – Eat Pray Love.
So, instead of shouting inebriated Aussies with fresh tattoos careening around you’ve got the fifty-something yoga moms strolling beatifically about with their mats rolled up under their arms looking to hitch a ride on the Kundalini express. As I said to my friend Larry, certain establishments there reek of Namaste.
So, what do you do when Ubud, a town of about a dozen roads begins to get claustrophobic? You point your motorbike deeper up into the mountains and then down again to the little seaside village of Amed. Here I saw no surf worthy of boards, just fishing enclaves and coral reefs. We decided to make this side trip at the encouragement of Larry and at the discouragement of Rai. Larry knew we enjoyed a challenge (and I think he was happy to have us out of his hair for a couple days while he continued re-supplying City Buddha – see previous poet) but Rai was worried about making the winding hilly journey during the rainy season. We opted for the adventure and promised that slow and easy with breaks for cloudbursts would be our agenda.
The ride through the mountains is fairly hair-raising at times through switchbacks and unguardrailed drops, big red and green trucks careening by – motor scooters packed with goods for the cities and the occasional monkey on the side of the road. I decided the drivers of red trucks were much more reckless than the drivers of the green ones. We were warned to be on the lookout for mudslides by more than a few folks as we embarked on our trek. Not quite white knuckle riding – but there was no leeway for daydreaming or sightseeing as I piloted our bike along.
The trip took about three and a half hours and luckily for us the rain didn’t hit until the last few kilometers before we reached our destination. A little ocean side tiki hutted resort bucolically named Good Karma. The rain lasted maybe a half hour and then stayed away during our two night stay.
Even though the joint sported the Good Karma moniker it was not drenched in the enlightenment for a price soaked trappings I find myself turning my nose up to. Hammocked in the crescent of a black sand beach (black because of volcanic rock) GK house a couple dozen thatch roofed huts, a nice little restaurant, more chickens than you can shake a stick at and decent snorkeling right outside your front step. There was nothing to do. Nothing except relax, hang out, snorkel, watch the fishermen come back with their catch, hike around the hills, and eat sweet batter fried bananas drizzled with honey for dessert. So – that’s what we did.
Thus, if you’re looking for Peace (and quiet) that doesn’t require twisting your body into a slipknot I could not over recommend unwinding for a day or two at Good Karma – it’s worth the ride.