sunset in bali travelling homebody

Sanur – my final stop #BaliDisey

After my retreat, I’d organised to stay in Sanur for another eight days. I’m glad I did because I wasn’t ready to leave Bali. Not by a long shot. I was hoping to get more of my novel written during this time… well, that was the plan, anyway. Of course, that plan went the way of the wind because I hadn’t factored a holiday romance into the equation. After meeting Made in Ubud, and having only known him for a few days, I had asked him to come and stay with me in Sanur. He was more than happy to oblige.

From Kintamani Hot Springs to Sanur

Our last activity on the last day of the retreat was a visit to the hot springs, near Kintamani. Made came and picked me up—he had already arranged a car for the week, and we had a lovely drive back to Sanur and to the Jukung Guest House, were we were staying. The Guest House is lovely, by the way. Small and quiet, with 10 rooms surrounding a small courtyard pool big enough to swim in. I had booked a big room, mainly because it had a bath, and I’m glad I did. It was nice to be able to spread out my stuff; Made didn’t have much and hardly took up much room. It’s air-conditioned and had tea and coffee-making facilities. Breakfast is cooked fresh every day and delivered to our room.

We have settled into an easy routine while we’ve been here: breakfast at 8, I write until 9.30 (sometimes) while Made watches TV, we swim until 10, then off out for the day, back in by 6 and then off to find somewhere to eat for dinner. And another swim in the evening. Made loves the water, but is more of a dog paddler than a swimmer. I have impressed him with my swimming prowess, which is actually just the Australian ability to swim via Vacswim lessons (‘You very good swimmer,’ he says when I’m in the water). The Sanur area is quiet— quieter than Ubud—with a good selection of restaurants that are cheap, with delicious food. I had salmon the other night for around $6.

The first few days in Sanur

The first couple of days here (with Sanur as our base), Made has taken me to all the “must see” tourist spots around Bali, and we’ve pulled some long days in the car. He’s an excellent driver (of course… it’s his job), and he contends with the traffic with calm. He only gets cross (and it’s fleeting) when drivers do something stupid, which is not often. While I acknowledge that the car is practical, I do miss the freedom of travelling by motor bike, getting in amongst it, ducking and weaving with the traffic, breathing in the smells of Bali, me with my arms around Made.

[bctt tweet=”Made gave me an experience of Bali that’s been deeper than if I had been wandering about solo.”]

By day three, I was all touristed out, though, and wanted a couple of easy days. I’d had a bout of Bali belly (diarrhoea, no vomiting—don’t know how I got it… could have been anything… food, swimming pool, cutlery… who knows?) and wanted to chill. So I hung out with Made and his friend Wayan (who’s also a driver) and Wayan’s family and friends, visited the Kuta memorial, sang with a band at a Kuta bar, ate babi guling (suckling pig) for lunch, and got a tattoo, as you do. The tattoo is something I’d been thinking about for a couple of years, but hadn’t gotten around to doing anything about it. I even had a design ready to go. So it definitely wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. Wayan arranged it, so it was an easy decision to make. And I’d forgotten how not painful it is. The tattooist (also called Made) did it in half an hour. My Made was very pleased with it (‘Oh, good!’ he said. ‘Good colour.’). The tattooist is also fixing the one I got when I was 26, which is all kinds of ugly because of age and stretch marks. I’ll be going back on Thursday. He is young, but fantastic, and Made said I should get a big discount for being a repeat customer.

The next day was more chillaxing and we spent it swimming until about lunch time, and then we headed to one of Made’s favourite eating spot: Sambal Mak Beng, which serves grilled fish, fish soup and rice. There is no menu—they just bring out the bowls of food. The soup was very spicy, and even Made was sweating. He told me this warung (restaurant) is very famous among Balinese people, and if he does an airport drop-off, he’ll often stop off here to eat. I was the only westerner there.

Intersecting worlds

There is an interesting intersection of worlds that’s occurring. Made has loved staying with me at the Jukung Guest House, swimming and having breakfast delivered. He likes to eat in restaurants with me (his favourite is chicken steak). I, conversely, like eating in local warungs and hanging out with him and his friends. Yesterday he took me to meet his nephew and his family, and they were so welcoming and friendly. They didn’t seem to think it at all odd that I, a white tourist, who was not a spring chicken, was in Made’s company. The kids were lovely, and I gave them an impromptu English lesson. To see Made with his family, and the children, was just lovely. There was one little boy who had a cleft palate (apparently his mother died and he was being raised by his father), and Made was so sweet and kind to him. Today I’m going to Made’s village (Plaga) to meet his mother and father and a few of his brothers and sisters.

Made has given me an insight and experience of Bali that has been much deeper than if I had been wandering about on my own. He is almost like my passport into Balinese way of life. I feel privileged that he has trusted me, as I have come to trust him. Being with Made has been freeing; I don’t feel I have to be on alert 100% of the time. For example, if I need to go to the toilet, I don’t have to lug all my stuff in with me—I just hand over my bag and camera over to Made and he looks after it as if it were his own. No wonder I feel at home here.


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  • Melsy November 12, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    What an amazing experience you’re having. It sounds wonderful 🙂

    • Diane November 12, 2015 at 4:58 PM

      I would never in a gazillion years have predicted this, Melsy. The whole trip has been such a blessing xo


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