Easy Rider - Island Style
Time to move on to the next place. Nusa Ceningan is a tiny islet just west of Nusa Penida, and slightly-larger Nusa Lembongan is close by, connected by the Yellow Bridge. We took a taxi to the harbor, paid our $3 to the guys in the tiki hut & waded out to the 26' open boat with our backpacks, along with a dozen other folks. A short ride across the azure water landed us on the beach at the foot of Yellow Bridge. Plenty of enterprising young men are hanging around, helping unload & soliciting taxi rides. We hop in the back of one that sort of looks like a small pickup with bench seats & a hard top over the pickup bed.
15 minutes later we are creeping down a very busy little street in Jungut Batu that was similar to Ubud but had lots of dive & surf shops. Lembongan has been a surfing destination for many years with several good breaks on the south side. Ketut Losmen Bungalowis our new room on the island, with 7 two story bungalows, and we have the top unit in #5. There is one room with a king bed, mahogany & teak floors, walls & furniture, and rattan panels in the celling with a funky old chandelier. No ceiling fan. The bathroom is one large tiled room with a cool tile painting above the sink. The shower is a hose on the wall that drains near the toilet. The water gets pretty hot & has decent pressure. Not real fancy.
There is a nice path that leads to the pool, bar & lounge chairs right on the beach. The view is due west so everyone gathers here in the eve to drink Bintangs & Smirnoff Ice, and watch the sun set with Bali in the distance. Ahhhhh…..life is good!
The beach here is nicer than Penida, with some sand as well as pieces of coral. There is a barrier reef about a half mile off shore, and at low tide you can wade through knee deep tide pools to get out to the reef. All the dive, fishing & excursion boats and sitting high and dry along the shore. When the tide comes in all the boats are anchored and tied to shore, and their is a very nice surf break along the reef line. Some surfers paddle out while others catch a ride in a small boat.
We have met so many wonderful people in the short time we have been gone. All the local Balinese are so friendly, helpful, and seem to be basically happy people. We struck up conversation with two lovely young ladies from the UK - Eve & Janice(?) - and had a great time chatting about vacation experience & lives back home. Talked to several women from Amsterdam, and actually talked to two young couples from the USA yesterday.
I went by Lembongan Divers to inquire about a trip to Manta Point but the seas were too rough on the south side, so check back tomorrow. Next we walked up and down the streets looking for an ATM, but none were working. Another task for manana. Guess it's time to head back to the pool & wait for sunset. Then dinner at Lemongrass which was excellent!
Friday I finally (actually it was the UK girls!) talked Susie into renting motorbikes. She was quite hesitant but resolved to give it a go, so we walked next door to our place to get some. A little haggling over the price & off we go - no signed waivers, checking license, or even writing down our names! Drive out of the alley & turned left and rode up to the northeast end of the island which has a lot of mangroves, and has much less traffic. Stopping at a cute little resto, Agung Beach Club we had some breakfast while watching folks boarding some dive boats & walking along the beach.
We started back but headed south to take back roads through the mangroves until we came to the Yellow Bridge, that joins Lembongan and Ceringan. No autos are allowed on this single lane bridge, but there is plenty of pedestrians and scooters. Passing an oncoming motorbike is pretty unnerving but we both made it across without incident. Photo stop, and the onward.
We made a complete loop around Nusa Ceningan which had some pretty beat up roads, tho not quite as bad as Penida. Park Cave provided a marvelous view of the deep channel separating Ceninga & Penida. We opted not to hike down the many steps 300' below to see the cave. A brave young couple that came up said it was not so great.
Continung west we pulled into Mahana Point which is a favorite surfing spot. A big swell was breaking but it was low tide so no surfers. Maybe too shallow over the coral at low tide? I mistakenly ordered 2 Bintangs, thinking they were the sweet orangy ones we tasted yesterday. Bzzzz. Wrong. Tastes just like beer! Gave them away (ran into 1 of the US couples) & got a spring roll for a quick bite. One of the few places with slow service & crabby waiters.
Out the door & across the street to take a peek at the Blue Lagoon, another picturesque rocky cove with majestic surf crashing in. And several new developments right on top of it. Back on the road and on to the bridge. Susie is really getting the hang of riding her motorbike, but does not want to go through the busiest part of "town" so we split up. She heads back the way we came, and I push on to Mushroom Beach where there is supposed to be a working ATM.
In Bali, all the ATM's are inside little air conditioned rooms, like a large phone booth. I stop at two ATMs I see on the way, and one says no international cards and the other is an empty room with cables hanging out of the wall. Getting Mushroom Beach I go into the ATM & immediately there is an Aussie knocking on the door, to tell me this machine had just billed him $300 without yielding any cash! I tried anyway, and got nothing out of it. (checking my acct later I saw 3 withdrawals, and 3 credits!) Stopped at two more on the way home - one was non-responsive and the other was also gone! Sheesh.
Might as well get a drink & watch the sunset! Cheers.