I declare my love for Lembongan on the first night there, when I discover that our beachfront restaurant offers “Chicken Gordon Blue” for 45,000 rupiah ($5 CAD) – this makes me smile because a) translation errors make everything taste better and b) cheese. Lembongan is home to the clearest water we have encountered yet, an enchanting shade of blue whether seen from a busy boat port, the construction site under a bridge, off a rocky coastal cliff, or from the beach in front of our guesthouse. It’s stunning. I photograph it at every opportunity, convinced minute by minute that it is more beautiful in this moment than it was when I last took a photo (two seconds ago).
It’s also sunny, being part of the island microclimate (same as the Gilis) between Lombok and Bali proper, where the volcanoes of the bigger islands generate cloud cover that disperses by the time it gets to the islands. We had meant to stay at the super-cute looking resort we found on Booking.com that was just out of our price range, deciding to show up unannounced and bargain for a better rate but alas, they wouldn’t budge. We tromped down the beach, asking at resorts and guesthouses as we went, and ended up in a two-week-old bungalow, third from the beach, run by a lovely man named Nyoman.
His name is actually completely unremarkable. After any time spent in the area around Bali at all, you’ll notice a strange proliferation of people named Nyoman, Wayan, Made, Ketut etc. Many Balinese people – male or female – are named for their birth order. And, once you hit kid #5 you just go back to the start and keep going.
- 1st: Wayan, Putu, or Gede
- 2nd: Made or Kadek
- 3rd: Nyoman or Komang
- 4th: Ketut
This is (one of) the reason(s) why you can’t assume every Ketut you run across is THE Ketut from Eat, Pray, Love and ditto for Wayan. #learning
On Day 171 we rent a motorbike from Nyoman and hit the road on one of my famous grand tours. I have a vague idea of where we are going – up over the middle of the island to the viewpoint and then over to the cliff side to see the sweetly named “Dream Beach” and ominously named “Devil’s Tear”
View from the hill – check! But I think the better view is right behind me…
#studmuffin biker gang, party of 1.
On the way to Dream Beach we get a little lost (ok, a lot lost) and I direct Marc to take some pretty questionable “massage roads”, so named because they “massage” your spine into spasms the next morning. In the end we don’t find Dream Beach, but we find Sandy Beach and access it through the Sandy Beach Club Restaurant, glancing at the menu as if we may be interested in a cocktail in order to justify us using their motorbike parking, before striking out across the beach and up the cliffs to Devil’s Tear.
I’m still not clear on whether this area is called “Devil Tear” like boo-hoo-tear or like oops-I-split-my-pants-tear. Your thoughts?
Despite their names, Dream Beach and Sandy Beach, on the south west corner of the island, are not beachy paradises. The waves are extremely rough making these beaches inaccessible for swimming pretty much every day of the year.
Being the intrepid explorers that we are, Marc and I gazed upon the scene pictured above and thought “why don’t we go see if we can climb up there?”
So off we go across Sandy Beach, following a path that gives us hope that at least a few other morons attempted this walk. The roar of the waves is amazing, the spray from the biggest ones reaching us up on the cliff, at least 20 feet in the air. We turn left and crossed the little peninsula to the other side: Devil’s Tear.
We probably stand at Devil’s Tear for an hour – it’s magnificent. We both have a healthy respect for the ocean and what it can do, but if anyone had any doubts of the power of waves… this would educate them in a hurry.
Along the outer cliffs the stone has eroded in such a way as to create natural infinity pools. In the interval between waves some of them calm enough to look almost glassy, and really inviting.
This is the same natural phenomenon that created Angel’s Billabong (basically the reason we are here on Lembongan, we’ll go see it next week!), one of these natural infinity pools that you can actually swim in. Anyone with half a brain wouldn’t attempt the ones here though. If the name isn’t enough to scare you off, here is some perspective. These two photos are of the same pool (as is the one above) about two minutes apart.
And these two photos are of another set of pools, also taken a couple minutes apart:
So yeah, we aren’t going to swim in them…
At this point we are getting a bit peckish, so we hop back on the bike and continue our circuit around the coast to Mamma Mia, an “Italian” restaurant recommended to us by a new friend that we met on the beach. The restaurant is a teeny little 8-table affair perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the water between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Cenengan and the seaweed farms between them. There are little signs posted around the place like “Good Friends, Good Beer” or “Keep Calm and Drink Wine” or “There Are No Menus, You Get What You Deserve”. I order off the kids menu – because I can! – and Marc gets a personal pizza.
We sit and enjoy looking out over the water, chatting about our plans on this island, and getting excited for Marc’s PADI Open Water Course starting tomorrow.
We return back to our little bungalow and lay around in the late afternoon, reading books and lazily people-watching the beach. in the evening we use our scooter to go down the road to the Jungut Batu Theatre – a restaurant with a covered porch housing 20 beanbags and three mattress platforms that shows a movie each night at 7:30. We arrived at 7 and snagged a comfy little mattress platform with pillows, some “macaroni and cheese” (so sadly disappointing) and guacamole and chips, and settled in to watch the surfing videos they play until the main event (“Concussion” with Will Smith). It was a full and fun day and it feels good to be resting my thoroughly massaged back and sore legs, eating junk food and watching a movie with my sweetie – just like home!