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.

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Stray dogs on the beach

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.

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Fooling around during the sunset on Jimbaran 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.

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An offering to the Gods

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.

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Playing football with the kids on Jimbaran Beach, Bali

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.