As a young surfer, I often dreamed of surfing on waves such as Uluwatu and Padang Padang. In those days my surfing buddies and I would talk about making surf trips to Hawaii, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Indonesia and Australia to surf the best waves in the world. We’d rent video tapes of Surf Trips like Blazing Boards II and Endless Summer. Some of us did travel while others never got around to it.
It wasn’t until I moved to Singapore in 1980 that I came closer to those dreams. For two years I worked near Madura Island in East Java, flying in to Surabaya from Singapore via Jakarta, and then flying in a helicopter to my place of work. Every month I’d be able to take a week or two off, and was entitled to return to Singapore or remain in Indonesia. And, for an extra US$10, I could fly to Bali instead of Singapore, an option that I frequently chose.
In those days, Bali was a lot different to today. There were lots of small hotels and so many losmens where you could stay for a couple of dollars a night. I often stayed in Poppies Lane I, in a small hotel called Poppies. It cost $21 in those days and was considered as a pretty nice place to stay. They had a restaurant opposite which served delicious food. But I also stayed in really cheap places too. Opposite Poppies was a losmen called Komala Indah where as a group of surfers we stayed in rooms costing $2.50 a night, two to a room. In the evenings I’d strum away on my guitar outside my room, or jam with other musicians, local and foreign in those back alleys of Kuta while sipping Arak.
In the daytime, we’d head out to Uluwatu, Canggu or Nusa Dua on our motorbikes with our surfboards. And if the waves were too small or blown out then we’d head inland and explore the island.
Since then, I have continually returned to Bali almost every year, often staying for two months at a time, just chilling out, surfing, visiting with friends and family or doing business. Bali has changed enormously, but I still consider it as one of my homes. These days , however, I have Balinese family and we meet up every so often so it is even more of a reason to visit this beautiful island
These are some stories, places I have visited and photos of my travels in Bali.