Day 135, Year 3: Day Trip Across North Bali
Date: Hari Minggu (Sunday), Bulan S�pt�mber 21, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Broken Record . . . Another Beautiful Day
Location: Lovina Beach, BALI, Indonesia

As Tina of Shirena said tonight when we returned to Lovina Beach, “The good karma just wasn’t with us today.” We went in for breakfast this morning which delayed our departure by half an hour, but we thought we would still have plenty of time for all of our planned activities. During breakfast, I asked Justin and Jo if they had ever ridden on motor bikes before. Jo had, Justin had not. Strike One. So that made me a bit nervous seeing as how driving here is not a sport for the faint-hearted. But I just kept quiet and after breakfast, Justin and Jo got on their motor bikes and all seemed fine. Tina, Robert, Mark, and I got in the car with Komang as our driver. It was the same car we had gone south in to pick up Justin and Jo, and Komang was our same driver. So all seemed perfect. However, we got about 2 kilometers down the road and the car stalled. We pulled off to the side and discovered that we were out of gas. Strike Two. Komang called and had a liter of petrol delivered to us, but we were already falling further behind schedule. We made it to the next town and got more petrol. So off we went again. We passed Justin and Jo who had stopped for a snack and continued through the rather large town of Seririt. Then all of a sudden we made a right turn when it looked like we should have gone straight. My “mother worry” kicked in and I was just sure that Justin and Jo would go straight and end up headed to south Bali. So we drove and I worried but said nothing. Then Komang asked if I would like to use his cell phone to call Justin to make sure they didn’t take the wrong turn. So I guess he was worried as well. But I declined, hoping all would be fine. After about an hour we reached our first destination of Pemuteran where the Lonely Planet said we would find “extensive, untouched coral reefs about 3km offshore, good snorkeling.” Strike Three. We paid a fortune in Indonesian Rupiahs to get a boat to take us out to the reef and there we found “touched” coral reefs with only mediocre snorkeling. The turquoise water was beautiful, but the snorkeling just was not. Either we weren’t in the right place or the things have changed drastically since the 2007 edition of the Indonesian Lonely Planet was written. So on we went. We had lunch at a little warung (tiny restaurant) and then headed further west to visit the national park. We made it about two kilometers when the car stalled again. This time it was the transmission and we were going nowhere. Strike Four. I guess we weren’t playing baseball today. Komang called home base and asked to have another car sent and then he took one of the motor bikes and went to find a mechanic. The mechanic came, assessed the situation, and drove off to get his tools. He returned with a plastic bag with a hammer in it, banged on the connection, and the transmission was temporarily up and running. He would drive the car slowly back to Lovina after our new car arrived. In the meantime, Justin and Jo drove their
bikes back to Pemuteran to visit the Reef Seen Turtle Project. This is an operation much like the one we visited on Gili Meno where baby turtles are kept in captivity for a few months before they are released into the wild in order to give them a running start. They returned, and we still had no car, but the ice cream man went by on his bicycle playing the local ice cream jingle. He must have seen the look of lust and he turned around and came back so we could enjoy a cool treat on a very hot afternoon. Eventually the new car arrived and we headed to Labuhan Lalang to an information office for Taman Nasional Bali Barat or the West Bali National Park. After a bit of driving around and haggling over price, we found a ranger to take us out for an hour’s walk. Strike Five. Nothing was going to be easy today. We did see black monkeys, macaques, little black squirrels, and a couple of deer, but the end of the day was nearing and we had many miles to go to get back to Lovina. It was a little difficult to fully enjoy the walk, knowing that we really needed to hurry on in order to get home before dark. Driving a motor bike on these busy roads in the dark just didn’t sound sensible, but we did have to get home. So we started our trek back around 5 pm with Mark on one motor bike and Justin and Jo on the other. We made arrangements to meet at a temple on the east side of Pumeteran to feed the monkeys. This would have been a whole lot more fun if we weren’t faced with a trip home in the dark. We finally got going with just Mark and Justin on the motor bikes and Jo fast asleep in the car. Between motor biking and snorkeling, she was pretty much wiped out. I just sat in the front seat with the driver and worried, and just about the time we reached the very busy town of Seririt just before Lovina, the last light of the day disappeared. Strike Six. I was quite nervous by this time as our driver hurried home and we left Mark and Justin in the dust.

The good news of the day is that Mark and Justin did return to Lovina safely about twenty minutes after we arrived. Komang had also made it home safely in the car that had broken down. So I guess all is well that ends well, but it was certainly a bit of a challenging day. I am just so thankful that we did all make it home safe and sound.

We’ll regroup in the morning and decide what comes next. But I’m sure none of us is interested in another adventure tomorrow. We need a day to recover.

080921 Day 135 Bali, Indonesia–Day Trip Across North Bali