It was Sunday yesterday, and after a week of long travels and again acclimating myself to Bali, I decided to spend a quiet day in Sanur. I packed my bag with camera, a book, and a bottle of water, lathered myself with sunscreen and headed down to the beach for a day in the sun.
Because of its lovely beaches, Sanur is a tourist destination (with a broad range of hotels, from the cheap and simple to the very extravagant – if I remember correctly, Ronald Regan stayed in Sanur when he visited -on the upper end, many of them are gated, and very exclusive). It is also home to one of the largest Muslim populations of Bali, and because it is a short drive from Denpasar, the capital city of Bali, it makes for an easy day trip for many.
On Sunday, the beaches were a destination for all. There were young Australian women in thong bikinis, and Muslim women still fully covered with headscarves, with everything in between – kites flying high, bakso salesmen, jet skiers on the water, etc…
My goal was to sit and read all day, to clock my time by the tides. It was difficult to find a spot in the shade (the sun a bit much for me this day), as all those are owned and rented out by the hotels. Just off the beach, however, on some jetties stretching out into the water, the municipality built some wooden canopies overlooking the ocean. I made by way out to one of these, thinking it’d be a great place to read, watch the water, and to not be baked by the relentless sun of Bali.
There were already lots of people under the canopies, all Indonesians. I approached the one that seemed least populated. Bisa saya duduk di sini? I asked. Can I sit here? A quick response, Bisa, bisa, and they scooted over to make room. I sat down and began to read.
I didn’t make it far into my book before conversation started up. A couple – the man from Sumatra and the woman from Java – wanted to talk me. And we spoke for quite sometime. They wanted to know about my life in the States, and what brought me to Indonesia. The complained about the raising prices that come with the tourists. We all had a laugh when we compared the Cowboys vs. Indians (a piece of American history many chose to forget) with the Dutch vs. Indonesians, that recurring conflict of white vs. brown.
In the end, I didn’t get much reading done, but I also much preferred our conversation. Indeed, I think a good time was had by all.