Was definitely not road trip friendly weather today for the drive from Perth to Margaret River – rain, wind and freezing ! But I managed to time my stop off at Busselton Jetty with that of the afternoon glimmer of sunlight popping back in for one last shine through the rain clouds…
Snakes ? Seriously. Im going to say it … “Only in Australia”.. Surely ? Why not add Great White Sharks to the sign and you can rest assured that no swimmer is getting in the water at this beach #jawsliveshere#snakesonthebeach #scarborobeach #brightonbeach #perthbeaches#westernaustraliabeaches #westernaustralia #perth #beach #surf #surflife#travel #travelphotography
Thirteen years ago I flew into London after spending two months sweltering in the South American summer. Incredibly unprepared for the cold London winter weather I checked into my Bayswater hostel and set off to buy myself a jacket.
Halfway down Bayswater Road I realised the cigarette I was smoking (yes, dirty smoker back then) was no longer in my hand. My fingers were so numb I had dropped it and not even noticed. It had snowed the day prior and it was freezing for the locals people, let alone the tanned backpacker fresh in from the beach in Brazil !
Flying into Perth yesterday I had braced myself for a similar scenario. Warm clothes were something I certainly had no space for in my luggage the last few months. Most people associate Western Australia with serious heat, which is definitely the case….. except for winter – when it’s the opposite (bloody cold)!
A few years ago when I was learning how to run I read this quote:
“If you wait for perfect conditions, nothing will ever get done”.
So with that in mind, in 9 degree temps I set off for the beach in the morning and am happy I did. Such a spectacular coastline and I virtually had the whole stretch to myself, aside from a few surfers and a jet ski rider.
I will admit that I paid a lot of attention to the water half expecting an enormous jaws like shark to jump out and dramatically gobble up one of the surfers. Yeah sorry Western Australia, but that’s about what I think of your coastline; absolutely stunning to look at – scary to swim in !
Today’s priorities were to find out exactly where I was located in Perth (check) (next to City and Scarborough beaches) eat a Caramello koala (check) and buy warm clothes (check)!
Cool town this one albeit a little sleepy – I keep wondering where all the people are !
These two little buddies caught my attention as they were cutely waking along the road holding hands and giggling.
The real laughter came when one pushed the other into a big puddle #kidfun
Meal fit for a queen!
It took me a while to work out why this little suburban Keroboken Warung (my “round the corner” local) is always so busy. Some nights there is not a table to be found, and more and more people keep arriving.
A little research uncovered that this is one of the best Warungs in Bali, and definitely the best in this area.
Warung Sobat 2.
Best food, cheap prices, huge portions, free peanuts with your drink to start and free dessert to finish (I’ve nearly tasted them all I have eaten here so often) and no tax or service added to your bill.
I have been here every single night since I have arrived in Keroboken, and am pretty sure will eat there every day until I leave at this rate.
Tonight I had the Nasi campur Sobat but their Balinese spaghetti marinara is the best I have ever had.
The need to knows:
Warung Sobat 2 is located out of the really touristy areas on Jalan Pengubengan, a suburban street in Kerobokan near the prison. It is a five minute cab ride (in good traffic) from the main area of Seminyak or Batu Belig.
Meals are a mix of Indonesian and Western and prices are around 35,000 and 45,000 rupiah for anything from fresh fish to more traditional Indonesian foods. My bill never surpassed 80,000 rupiah (around $7 AUS) for a meal of fresh fish and glass of wine. Servings are huge !
Ever since I learnt that there is an “Echo Beach” not too far away from where I am staying in Bali I have had the 80’s hit song playing on repeat in my head. ” Echo beach, far away in time”.
Was that song written about the Echo beach in Canggu Bali? No, no it wasn’t. In fact it wasn’t about a beach at all.
The Canadian band with the daggy 70’s/80’s name of “Martha and the Muffins” who sing the classic song wrote it about “a place I would rather be”, which in this instance was actually quite fitting.
Setting off just after midday I knew I had another big trek ahead of me. I figured if I walked straight down to the beach, turned right and followed the coast I would make it to Echo beach.
Well that plan failed.
I got to the beach part, turned right, and then the road turned back and started winding along almost directly north again. I find myself walking along the most un- pedestrian friendly road I’ve come across, dodging cars and bikes constantly and laughing at the ridiculousness of the dangerous situation. But there really is no choice about it. No one in South Bali walks, no one, and its obvious as on a lot of the roads there is no path or space for pedestrians. The only option is to take an enormous breath, and walk head on towards the traffic and hope that people dodge you. So far so good.
Something that I have learnt to do when travelling is asked locals for directions and often. I usually check in with someone every couple of hundred metres to ensure I am on the right track, I had a long enough walk ahead as it was without getting lost again.
After around an forty minutes I stop in for some directions at the first place. The man tells me:
“Echo beach far (…. away in time..?) and points in the direction I am walking. So I carry on.
Another 15 minutes later I turn down a road that many surfer looking guys carrying surfboards on their motorbikes are heading down. I stop in at a shop on the corner and ask for Echo Beach.
“Go 500 metres down this road, turn right. Go 300 metres down that road, turn left”.
Following his directions I go down the road and turn right wondering if that was 500 metres. I stop at another shop and ask the lady for Echo beach. She points down the road and makes a left hand turn gesture, not speaking much English.
I head off again, realising something wonderful, I am back in the “burbs’, it is quiet, people are friendly and wave and call out “hello”, and there is hardly any traffic on the roads! I knew if I walked far enough it had to happen!
I get to the end of the road and see a left entry area that looks to go into a private kind of neighbourhood. Must be time to get some more directions I think.
The next shopkeeper is having a snooze when I step inside, but wakes to point me in the right direction.
Now from all of the directions that everyone had given me so far, I expected to find Echo beach at the end of this “left hand turn”.
I get to the end of the neighbourhood and am suddenly in the most vibrant green terraced fields. A man and lady have pulled over on their scooter next to me and are asking if I would like a lift? I give a bemused and quizzical look wondering how the three of us would go on the bike together before the lady says, ” I will take you, just you and me”.
“Ok” I answer, why not.
I jump on the back, put on hubbys helmet and we take off as Jaya (her name) tells me she is a very safe driver.
Driving through the fields I realise I am still quite a distance away. It is a beautiful area this one, I am really surprised and also really happy to know that not all of South Bali has been over run by tourism (yet). Jaya is from Canggu, the area we are in now and works with her husband taking tours. She thanks me for coming to Bali, and then asks me what I think of Bali. We talk about how the South has been destroyed by too much development and is now over run with people. She tells me this is the “quiet time” here and I think how I would hate to see the busy time. She laughs and I guess from her point of view its a great thing for Bali as it means a better standard of living because of the money we bring into the country.
Arriving into small undeveloped Echo beach, Jaya hands me her business card and offers me an invitation to visit her family home to meet her two children if I come back to the area.
Echo beach is about how I expected it to be, a black sand beach with huge rough sea, waves crashing in right on the shore. Its not good surf today, but there are a lot of surfers around hanging out at the Warungs with the locals.
I join one of the cheaper looking places that tell me their “satay” is good, so I order some food, test out their pineapple juice, listen to a bit of Bob Marley ( where is the Echo beach love?) and hang around for a while.
I start the long walk back to Batu Belig and realise I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the last part that I was driven along. And so began the quest for directions with the locals again.
Before long things start to look familiar and I come across all of my previous “direction stops”, mentally ticking them off as check points to make a turn at.
Along the way, and despite the quiet and beauty of this area, I do notice that the The South Bali “spread” is beginning here too. Signs point to really trendy cafes, coffee shops, deli’s, bakeries and fancy grocers lining streets in the serene and beautiful rice fields, just a stones throw from the beach.
It won’t be long before this whole coastline is engulfed by the looks of it.
On the road home, the rain arrives and I am lucky to grab a friendly taxi driver who doesn’t want to charge me a small fortune to get home.
Another hard earned glass of wine with dinner tonight!