Desperate to get in the water, I hire a guide to pick me up at Padang Bai. I agree to mutual extortion for the guide to drive out of his way as well as to rent a board. We roll up to Keramas and I see that the low tide has exposed the reef, but the swell isn't too intimidating for my first time in the water in almost 2 years. Has it really been that long? I follow the guide walking gingerly on the reef. There are only 3 other guys in the water, including a couple of spongers (body boarders). The guide drops in on a couple of 5 - 6 foot rights. I follow suit by dropping in on a beautiful set, and face plant. What the shit just happened? That pulls me pretty close to the reef and I end up getting a little cut up on my feet. One or two more face plants later, and I catch a couple of decent rights. Tide fills in, the size picks up a bit, and so does the crowd. We surf about a half day and head back to the hotel. Surfing isn't like riding a bike. Wish I could have a little more time in the water to get back in the swing.
Heading back to Padang Bai, my back is killing me. Seems that every time I stop training for a bit it's really easy tweak my back up. I know that chiropractic care originated in Asia somewhere so I am hopeful that the may be a specialist nearby. Not a chance. Try asking a local for a chiropractor. Anyway, a local restaurant owner suggests a "special" Balinese massage. Now the first thing that comes to mind isn't something that would help my back (insert imagination here), but she assures me that it will help. Off to the ATM. Shit, the only ATM in town is broken. A kind local offers to give me a ride to the nearest town. I bargain a bit (*everything* is negotiable here) and we head out on his scooter.
Driving here is a bit insane. Everybody ignores lane markers and scooters fill the empty gaps between cars swerving into other lanes to pass. Riding on the back of his scooter isn't helping my back it all, but I enjoy the chaos of riding on one of these little things.
I arrive safely back at the hotel with a new found appreciation for traffic safety. Our accommodations are quaint at Serangan Inn II. Our room is on the third floor overlooking the port city of Padang Bai. It's a small pass through city that has a couple of decent restaurants, a tiny nightlife, and is a welcome break from the hustle of Sanur.
I'm taken in between small houses close to our hotel and sit and wait. I look around and it's like I've stepped into another world. A dozen birds are in cages surrounding me. I look over and see a cat with a gaping wound in it's chest. Probably lost a battle with any of the hundreds of dogs that roam the streets. Dogs aren't really pets here, and they don't acknowledge you as they would expect you do to them. The houses are closely packed together and it smells a bit of rotting garbage. You won't find this on a tour package, and I'm soaking it in. An old man arrives on scooter. A local helps to explain what is wrong with my back, and this witch doctor leads me into a small room with a thin mattress on the ground. He searches my back for something out of place, and begins to make short stabs at my lower back with his thumb. A half hour later and I'm feeling better. Not cured but better.
We finish off the evening with some pizza from 2nd story restaurant next to our hotel. Great view and great food. Tomorrow we have arranged a fisherman to take us to Nusa Lombongan, a tiny island off the main island of Bali.
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