Jimbaran beach – a magical walk
Bleary-eyed I walk out of my resort to Jimbaran Beach.
My feet sink into the sand, the grains caressing my toes in an intimate embrace.
I turn north.
This is rightly considered a paradise.
The sun is burning fiercely in a blue, almost cloudless sky.
Waves gently lap the long, slightly-curved stretch of white sand as fishermen cast their lines.
The sea is as still as a pond.
Quickly the manicured perfection of the hotel-managed sections of beach give way to real Bali.
Three stray dogs run past, wildly barking and jumping at each other in a morning burst of energy.
Several brightly coloured boats – combinations of cheerful blues, whites, reds and yellows – line the beach.
“Mister, can you push?”, asks a local.
Before I know it I’m one of the crew, helping to heave a vessel ashore.
It’s stuck in the sand but eventually we achieve our goal.
Sweating and smiling, they shake my hand and thank me warmly.
I continue walking, amused by the crabs which frantically scuttle left and right to avoid the scary human (me) plodding along the beach.
Another boat motors ashore and the fishermen jump into action.
Eleven huge blue marlin – each about a metre long with impressive, sword-like noses – are dragged through the sand and dumped down.
Other locals walk by this striking scene and don’t bat an eyelid.
I reach the fish market.
I’ve never seen so much fresh seafood – fish of all varieties and sizes, squid, shrimps, crabs, lobsters.
The action is frenetic and business is conducted loudly and excitedly.
Holding my hands in front of my chest in a prayer position, I bow my head and greet everyone with an “om suastiastu” (“hello” or, more literally, “peace and greetings from God”) – but I don’t buy anything.
I turn around and retrace my steps along the beach.
Small, intricate and colourful offerings to the Gods, complete with burning incense sticks, are a sign of the deep, daily spirituality of the Balinese.
I see a kid I played football with the previous evening – a 17-a-side, barefoot, jumpers for goalposts game that was played with joy and happiness.
He is practising his skills and I wonder what tonight’s match will bring.
Nearing the calm, serenity and Western luxuries of my hotel, I reflect on my beach walk.
It was only a few kilometres and took less than an hour.
But it was a perfect snapshot of why so many people fall in love with this beautiful, vibrant, friendly island.
I travelled to Bali in 2016 after trekking around Tasmania in Australia – read about my Tasmanian adventures here.