Battered and Bruised

After leaving Cambodia, we arrived back in Thailand to find that not much had changed after a month away.  The government’s attention to spelling was as strong as ever.

Originally we wanted to go to Koh Phangan, but because of the flooding, we decided to head to Koh Chang for a while and decide what we wanted to do.

It ended up being a good decision.  We found a nice place to stay, in a room that was just a minutes walk from the beach.  The weather was perfect, the water was warm, and the food was good.  It was nice to settle in one place and exhale after all the running around of Laos and Cambodia, and the uncertainty of where we were going to go when we were stuck in Siem Reap.  I did a lot of reading, writing, hooping and relaxing.  There were afternoons at the beach,

and pretty sunsets,

followed by buckets before dinner.

While we were there, we decided on a whim to skip down to Bali for a month.  It probably started over a bucket…or two…something about a beach…then surfing…and then the next thing you know, we’re sitting outside the hotel restaurant at 1 o’clock in the morning booking flights from Phuket to Bali.

We went to Phuket a week early to see the island.  We heard there were some okay surfing spots in Phuket, but it turns out that if there’s any surfing there, it’s only during June and July.  The ocean was as flat as a lake while we were there.  But it was a nice relaxing week.  We spent a lot of time at our hotel, because this was the view from our porch:

And then finally, we arrived in Bali baby!!

And, it sucked.  At first, anyway.

We’ve been in the town of Kuta since we got here.  This is the place for beginner/intermediate surfing in Bali, and for the most part, the waves have been just right for that, but the town itself does not sit well with me.

Our first couple of days we got to thoroughly explore the “Poppies” area, as we tried to find a place to stay.  Poppies I and Poppies II are the cheap/surfer/touristy areas of Kuta.  And they suck.  Too small streets all close together, too many shops with people calling out to you to buy this or that or take this motor or that taxi or buy weed or mushrooms or bathing suits or whatever.  And it’s sleazy, with nasty bumper stickers and t-shirts for sale in every other shop.  Slogans like “Up The Bum!  No Baby!”  It’s everything I hated about Bangkok in one really small, congested neighbourhood.

We settled into a really nice place away from the Poppies and close to the beach.  We went to check out the waves, and then I got really scared.  They are BIG!!  All I could see was myself getting washing machined by these waves.  Stu and I chatted with a local on the beach that first day, and I shared my concern with him.  He said that it’ll happen, and the best thing to do is not fight it.  Just let the water take you, and in no time, you’ll be up again.  It helps that your foot is strapped to what is essentially a 9 foot flotation device.

So we got me a big board, I swallowed my fear, and out we went.  That first day was a good first day.  Stu held the board for me while I hopped on, scrambled into the right position, and rode that white water like a champ!  I don’t have a picture of me surfing, but this is pretty much what I looked like (minus the wet suit – no need for that when the water is 75 degrees).

Since that first day, I’ve been out several times – some of them successful white-water riding days, and one of them a huge fail when I couldn’t get my massive floatation device past the breaks far enough to catch anything because I kept getting pounded by the waves.  That day, I packed it in after an hour and sat on the beach and sulked.  But Stu’s a good coach, and I was back out there the next day.

While learning to surf has been fun, it’s also been pretty brutal.  I’ve been hit in the head with the board (mine and other peoples) about a half a dozen times in as many days.  And I come out of the water each time with new bruises, though I don’t remember getting hit so many times.  Here’s a example:

And this one is already a couple of days old.

On days I haven’t been surfing, I’ve gone running on the beach.  And truth be told, I probably won’t do too much more surfing while we’re here.  We came here for Stu to surf, and he’s been loving it.  But I haven’t found the same love for it that he has.  It’s fun, but between surfing or running, I’d take running any day.

So Stu will surf.  I’ll run.  We’ll hide away in our little compound in Kuta for another week or so, and then check out the rest of the island.

Beach tip # 27:  Both surfing and running on the beach are bad for a pedicure.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by tanya on May 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    And to think we’ve been spelling it “Cambodia”. Maybe it really is “Cabodia”.
    Sorry to hear about your bruises. I’m with you – surfing is fun, but not something I crave.


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