Lovina, Bali, Indonesia

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Two weeks ago I met a German man, his Balinese wife, and her Balinese brother on my overnight snorkel trip in Komodo. The couple mentioned that I could stay with them if I came to Lovina, so that is what brought me here. However, since I made a last minute decision to come a day early I checked into a hotel for one night.

I stayed at Ray Beach Inn, 2km out of the town center. Since I saved money by only doing 2 dives instead of 5, I decided to pay $15 and treat myself to a guesthouse with a pool. I checked in, grabbed some local food nearby, picked up 2 kilos of mangostines, and spent the rest of the time lounging. I was the only guest and loved having the entire pool area to myself.

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For lunch I went to Banyualit Hotel across the street and had fish coconut satay, and sautéed water spinach. The hotel was more of a fancy resort, but empty as well. I ate in the back of the restaurant in a large yard area that was fancy but still very green.

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Later on I ordered a pizza from my hotel and ate it in bed while I watched a movie. I expected the pizza to be bad but it was terrible. I got vegetarian and it was topped with peas and carrots. I gave the staff 100,000 rp and he said he would bring me my 50,000 rp change. He never came back so when I finished my movie I went to go find him. He pocketed my money and thought it was okay to just not give me my change.

The next morning I checked out and got a motorbike ride to the large dolphin statue in Central Lovina. The statue is grand and sits on the beach marking Dolphin Beach. Around the statue are restaurants, bars and shops, and the beach is lined with hotels. This is the main tourist area. The beach is not very nice. The “sand” is dark tiny pebbles and it’s covered in trash. Not the picturesque beach I picture when picture Bali.

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The Balinese brother, who I was friendly with on the snorkel trip, picked me up on his motorbike. We went and grabbed lunch at the local restaurant his aunt works at, then he drove me to his sisters house. The house is incredible. It’s typical Balinese architecture made mostly of wood. It has a square thatched roof, and a wrap-around porch with large wooden pillars. In the back is an infinity pool and there are large bean bag chairs to lounge on. I had my own room with a large window that opens out onto the pool.

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That afternoon the brother picked me up to take me to a cockfight- by my request. The arena was nearby and had standing room for maybe 200 people. I was the only woman there to watch. It was full of local dirty sweaty men screaming, pointing and betting. Everyone was there to gamble and I have no idea how people were able to keep track of their bets.

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The cockfighting was quick. First men hold up a bunch of cocks in a circle. Then somehow two and picked to fight. The two are placed in the circle in the middle (the court.) They fight until one falls, then the owners lift them up and try to make them both stand. If one chicken can’t stand on both feet then it’s the loser and gets killed off to the side (if it’s not already dead.) If both chickens can walk on both feet then they will fight again, again until one falls. If they are both still alive then they will get placed under a wicker basket and will fight in here until one dies. The shortest fight I saw was a few seconds and the longest was 30 seconds. I was fine with it all until we saw a white cock fight and then I was really able to see all the blood. The cocks are trained to fight, and all the dead cocks are eaten so at least the meat is not a waste.

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After we saw enough fighting we drove around central Lovina and walked along the beach. We ran into one of the brothers friends who was just sitting on the sand, and some other friends kids came up to us with a cup of hermit crabs and a fish. After chilling we went to sports bar near the statue for happy hour. We played pool and drank Bintang’s and snacked on peanuts with fried garlic.

After the bar we went back to his aunt’s restaurant for some mei gorang (fried noodles.) I then went back to his sisters house to find out she bought me dinner, so I ate again. It would have been rude not to. She brought me traditional Warung food- white rice topped with chicken, an egg, vegetables, liver and a broth soup on the side. I gave her the liver but at the rest. After dinner we all relaxed on the porch listening to music and drinking beers.

The next morning I woke up to fresh French bread and a French coffee press; truly a good start to the day. After eating breakfast on the deck the brother picked me up and we drove 15 minutes into Singaraja, the local city. We stopped at the local notary/lawyer office, which looked like the DMV. Afterwards he took me to an incredible waterfall area. It’s 5 waterfalls, one after another, but we just went to two. The waterfalls were through lush greenery. We were the only people there- it’s not a major tourist spot. We swam near the rocks to be near the big fall which was so powerful I got churned like in the ocean.

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After playing in the falls for a while we drove to his grandmothers’ house. In a village nearby, through a gate, sits four house structures where a bunch of family lives together. I met two grandmothers (married to the grandfather at the same time,) an uncle, an aunt and a bunch of neices and nephews. We went into the kitchen (traditional style of a separate room outdoors,) and ate the leftover lunch that was sitting out under plastic baskets. [Food is never refrigerated here.] First we filled our bowls with rice. Then added cooked sprouts, green vegetable and chillies, and mixed that. Then topped that with fried pork, fish sausage (handmade in a banana leaf,) fried tempeh, and fried tofu. As usual the food was delicious. We are on a mat outside.

Later than evening my gracious Balinese host made an incredible dinner for me. Fresh fish topped with sautéed carrots and peppers, fried potatoes and a tomato cucumber salad. It was much more than I expected and a treat. For dessert we enjoyed melon, oranges and papaya. [The whole time I was there she kept the house stocked with papaya, dragon fruit and mangostines for me.]

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After dinner the German and I sat around listening to music and drank gin and tonics and peach wine.

The next morning I woke-up and to my French breakfast. Just as I finished the wife brought back lunch, so again I ate again. It would be rude not to. This time I had a bowl of rice, added chicken soup, fried chicken, and spicy eggplant.

I then walked into town but most things were already closed because it was Balinese New Years Eve.. (Next post)

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