Friday, April 27, 2018

Padang Galak

Amazingly, I felt rather well yesterday. I'm thinking, holy cow, whose body is this? I mean, there was still low level pain, but much less present and irritating than usual. So well did I feel, that I decided to take a longer trip in the afternoon than usual--still not far, but farther than I've been able to go, or felt like going, in a long while. 

So, I went up the highway to a bit of oceanfront called Padang Galak, which literally means 'fierce field'. I don't know what the story behind that is. It may be because the ocean there is rougher and with higher waves than in Sanur (which really has no waves at all), and it is also said that the tides at Padang Galak are rather dangerous. The sand at Padang Galak is black, as it is all the way up the eastern coast from Padang Galak to Candidasa. It is also scattered with driftwood and stones and, unfortunately, a fair bit of garbage--a testimony to those 'fiercer' waves and tides.

I used to go fairly often to Padang Galak back when I lived in nearby Biaung (bee-Ah-oong). I rather liked Biaung, with its deserted black sand beaches and its intense green rice fields. But my wife, at that time, felt it was too far away from everything of interest (like restaurants and shopping malls and so on), and of course it was also fairly far from her workplace, which was a reasonable complaint. 

That has been like four years ago now. My goodness! It seems more like four weeks. They say that time flies when you're having fun. I can add that it also flies when you're not feeling well and not doing anything very entertaining as a result. 

So, anyway, it was great to get back to Padang Galak. The trip started out on a pleasant note as I chatted with the Balinese guys collecting their entry free (it costs 2 thousand Rupiah to enter). Upon learning that I am an American, they wanted to talk about President Trump, who, they said, wants to make war with everybody. Donald Goblok, we called him (which is not a good thing). Needless to say, they preferred Obama, who is 'almost an Indonesian' (for, as the reader knows, he lived here in Java as a child). 

Not much at all had changed at the oceanfront. There were a few new food stands in the little patch of grass and shade before the seawall, but that's about it. There is a raised stone path than runs all along the beach, and, in past rainy seasons, I have actually seen the waves break over the top of this path. Again, one might say that it can be a 'fierce' place. But this day the ocean was quiet and serene, and the late afternoon was very thankfully mild, for a change, and breezy, such that I was able to walk a long distance without drowning in my own sweat. There's a temple at the far eastern end of Padang Galak, and if you walk west you will eventually reach the Grand Bali Hotel in Sanur (though it is a rather long ways away). 

There were a few people gathering plastic bottles and such like on the beach, which can be sold somewhere for a small amount of money. Additionally, they like to keep this beach as clean as possible, as it is often a site used for religious ceremonies. There were also two or three fishermen--although the sea did not appear to be producing a great catch this day. 

And there were dogs. Always dogs. Some will ignore you. Some will approach to see who you are, then move on. All are more or less wild, and wary of strangers, and prefer to do their own thing unbothered. 

I walked up to the temple, then back in the opposite direction toward Sanur, and as I walked, I was joined by a pleasant young man (well, younger than I), who was also walking in order to try to take some weight off--a difficult proposition, as we agreed, because Indonesian food is so delicious that you just can't help eating it all the time! So we talked about the food we liked, and about his job, and about the dogs, and so on and so forth. 

It was a good trip, and it felt so good to be out and around again, feeling almost well, almost as I felt four years ago. 

Today is another matter, it seems. But that just makes yesterday all the more memorable. 

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