We made our way south to Ulu Watu, quite possibly the coolest and most multi cultural surf spot on the planet. From the bars or restaurants built into the limestone cliffs you can watch 100’s of surfers riding the ultra blue-green waves everyday. To get down to the water you have to walk down a narrow, single file staircase carved out of the stone, with no handrails and most people are carrying their surfboards. The first time you walk down it is a breath-held, slow moving experience. One evening we made the mistake of staying too long at my favorite spot for watching James surf from and we had to walk up these stairs in the dark… dangerous! At my little spot I’d usually overhear no less than 5 different languages spoken at once: Indonesian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, etc. Kind of like riding the train in NYC, except everyone had really amazing bodies!
We spend our first couple nights in Ulu Watu at Puri Segara Village (found on Agoda). The garden was beautiful and the pool area was idyllic but around the property were exotic birds in tiny cages. We quickly found a new guesthouse before one of us went rogue and starting freeing those poor birds. Our next “home” was down the road (the slightest bit closer to the beach) at the Gong, a family run guesthouse, warung and guided surf tours. Unfortunately the night we checked in I was struck with Bali Belly. I basically spent the day in bed with a light fever and felt pretty dehydrated. Not too long after James also came down with the belly. Oh what can I say about Bali Belly that I haven’t already spent WAY to many conversations with strangers and/or new friends analyzing… in public! I don’t know what it is about long-term travel that makes this okay but somehow it’s just the norm on the road. Thankfully neither of us required a trip to the Dr, nor did we break into our antibiotics stash.
The next evening we summoned the energy to visit Pura Luhur Ulu Watu Temple, which was a short walk from our guesthouse. Most people visit the Temple at sunset, as it’s perched on top of the cliff overlooking the ocean. In our naivety we were looking forward to seeing the monkeys there who are notorious for stealing the belongings of tourists, only to return the item in exchange for a banana or treat. (Sounded so civilized!) James and I put away anything that could be taken off of us (sunglasses, hats) and I bought a small bag of bananas at the entrance. I never even managed to open the bag of bananas before an aggressive male monkey, who bared his teeth at me when I attempted to maintain a grip on the bag, took it from me - in its entirety. You win evil monkey! Later another monkey was angry that I didn’t have any food started biting the skirt of my dress and I had to rip the dress out of his mouth. At this point I realized we were not dealing with Curious George, this was a pretty vicious crew running things at the Ulu Watu Temple. Cute as the mommy monkeys with their babies were, I kept a safe distance. Thankfully we had a gorgeous sunset to distract us from the bad monkeys.