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Bali, Continued Padangbai
Rating : ( 4.9 ) ( 83 votes )

Bali, continued
Padangbai, Indonesia
Sep 04, 2003 06:02

Pros: amazing place, nice people, impressive variety of fish
Cons: none

Bali continues to amaze...We left Ubud, the "artist capital" of Bali in favor of Lovina, famous for black sand beaches and dolphin watching. It was a needed relief from the constant hot of Ubud, and the breeze from the water reached our bungalow's porch so that we could sit and read without melting. The dolphin watching was definitely worth the money (about $4), as long as you can get past the guilt of going out in a boat for the sole purpose of incessantly stalking some of Mother Nature's innocent creatures as they try to have breakfast. Phil is getting pretty good at the artistic digital photography; artistic in the "unique composition" sense, not the "it's not porn! I'm an artist!" sense. Really, Mom, I mean it...

After crashing in Lovina for a couple of days, the constant sound of "Transport? Maybe tomorrow?" drove us to the sanctuary of Tirta Gangaa, the site of the royal Water Palace. That was almost movie-perfect. We swam in a huge pool, which was fed by spring water channeled through the mouths of these incredible stone sculptures. It was magical; not even my cynical humor can argue that. We stayed at the Hotel Rijasa, just across the road from the pools; the guesthouse owner was so incredibly pushy that I expected him to lie under our beds all night just so that he could begin badgering us as soon as we woke up. I think he was trying to sell us his kidney as we jumped into a bemo for our current spot: Padangbai.

The hawkers are less insistent here, maybe because there are many more tourists than in Lovina. Don't need to analyze why, I am just appreciating the reprieve... We went snorkelling today off a beach just east of town called Blue Lagoon (no glimpse of Brooke Shields ANYWHERE), and it was so cool that we decided to stay another day to go again tomorrow; the reef is pristine, and the variety of fish was impressive. We saw a huge parrotfish eat a part that was probably vital to it's owner at some recent point, and two trumpetfish just hanging out in the current, as well as about a thousand carnival-colored fish that swam past. As if the snorkelling wasn't enough to make our day, we took a path opposite the Blue Lagoon road to the peninsula, down to the lava beach, and explored for a long time. There were pools of water in indentations that had whole ecosystems, and we saw skinny legged starfish, and a Jetsons-like spiky sea anenome, and a flat, transparent thing the size of a band-aid that moved by rippling it's edges like lettuce. I think after snorkelling again tomorrow we are going back to the lava pools for some creature watching.