Of toy bikes and bridges and beautiful beaches

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After the diving debacle of my first day in Nusa Lembongan I switched from diver to explorer mode, earth-bound explorer.
My friend and I decided to rent a bike (got a toy bike, more on this ahead), get to the “pier”, which is actually just the beach, leave the bike there and get a boat to get us over to Nusa Penida. So off we went.
Even though Lembongan has developed into a diving village with everything you might need in hand, the roads didn’t keep up with the growth: they suck. Road signage is pretty much non-existent, so adventure was awaiting. We started our journey to the pier/beach taking the wrong way. So we had to turn around since basically there are no roads that would take you across the island, just around it. After a few ups and downs through hills and astonishing views, we got to the beach near Ceningan bridge. We parked our bike next to the beach and hopped on a boat. The trip to Nusa Penida took about 20 minutes. I wish it took longer since the surroundings were absolutely beautiful; emerald-green ocean reflecting the trees, smooth little waves glittering thanks to the sun, fishermen boats sprinkled across the horizon.

In Nusa Penida, we rented anooooother scooter for the day. We had been told there was a temple in a cave and we decided to head there first since it was a bit far and we didn’t want to miss it. It was scorching hot so we had to stop for hydration at a lovely spot.

Lounging locals

Lounging locals

A recurring image kept popping up along the way: seaweed farms in the ocean. We learned that 85% of Nusa Lembongan and Penida’s population makes a living from these farms.

Lovely seaweed farmer. She was shy and tried to hide, but we got her and her great smile!

Lovely seaweed farmer. She was shy and tried to hide, but we got her and her great smile!

After a while driving through the coastal road up north we got to the cave temple, Goa Giri Putri. We climbed some stairs and looked for the way in. Nothing here, nothing there… until one of the men there pointed a very narrow hole in the ground: that way. Hmmm… Ok… I sent my friend in first, cause I’m a coward and a horrible friend and went after her. You have to crawl a couple of meters and suddenly you can see this huge dark cave filled with bats and dripping water. A path has been built, so we just followed it and after a few meters we saw a temple inside all that amazing craziness. This is the only decent picture we have. Light was scarce and we couldn’t get a proper shot. Christie managed to get this one though!

Temple in Cave

Temple in Cave

Chatting in the shadows on our way out.

Chatting in the shadows on our way out.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around and stopping for pictures and a quick dip in the ocean.

We decided to leave the island when the threat of the perfect storm showed up in the sky. We left the bike behind (just there, on the road, cause the owner was not there! I love that aspect of small and tight communities) hopped on the boat and prayed for our lives. We managed to get to Lembongan on the dry side. That didn’t last long since it started pouring as soon as we got on the bike.
The driving was so stressful (I need to find some kind of excuse!) that we indulged in a massage, my first full body massage ever actually. Yes, I swear. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this!!! Freaking awesome, super relaxing and your skin glows afterwards. If you hadn’t had one yet, put everything down and GO! Yes, NOW!
We had an early night with wine and friends (this sounds very wanky, but it’s actually true!); I was out to explore Lembongan itself and Ceningan the next day.

Hopped on the toy bike again.

Toy bike: Red, tiny and fragile motorbike that made rattling noises every second it was in use. Brakes not working, mirrors moving, horn not making a sound unless you reaaaally pushed it. I’m kind of tall so the whole experience felt weird.

Started off looking for the bridge that allows you to cross to Ceningan, a little island between Lembongan and Penida. Got lost a couple of times, no biggie. Eventually got there and crossed the bridge; I felt like Indiana Jones or something. Cool and scary.

Ceningan is small and beautiful in a rugged kind of way. The roads are one big pot hole and that made it a little stressful for me to drive around, specially on the toy bike. But it offers great views of Lembongan, fishermen and seaweed farmers. I think it’s totally worth going.
I went back to Lembongan and attempted to visit the mangrove forest. I was wearing flip-flops and was on my own… suddenly it didn’t look like such a good idea, so I skipped it. Visited Mushroom bay, dream beach and sunset beach, all of them are gorgeous, little intimate stretches of white sand and turquoise sea.

Mushroom Bay

Mushroom Bay

Dream Beach

Dream Beach

cute dog living the beach bum life

cute dog living the beach bum life

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach

I kept driving around and stopped to take a picture of a temple surrounded by trees when it happened. A loud noise. Before knowing, I knew. The bloody toy bike screwed me over. That little bitch fell to its side while being parked. One of the mirrors came out. Fuck shit fuuuuuuck! Ok, crisis management, need super glue! Got it, tried to stick it back, no luck. I let it be and confessed my crime to the owner of the bike. She made me pay for half the cost of the mirror. I hated her back then, but I recognize I over reacted. I think I got a fair deal. Note to self: never accept a toy bike again.

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