We eventually emerged from the airport and were hit with the heat immediately, which kinda felt amazing. At the exit, there were hundreds of people standing behind a barrier holding signs up with people’s names on them. The place where we were staying had sent a driver to pick us up and somehow we managed to find him. He whisked us away to his car and we settled into some much appreciated air-conditioning. Within the five minutes it took us to go from the exit to his car, Kathleen and I were both drenched with sweat. The next two hours were spent driving through the streets of Bali to reach our first destination: Balian Beach. Despite being totally exhausted we managed to stay awake for a lot of the trip, and I’m glad we did. The roads were pretty amazing to watch. There was only one lane going in each direction and it snaked up and down the hills of the lush green countryside. Balian drivers seemed to have developed some calm sort of etiquette and order to the chaos of the roads. Despite near misses virtually every second with oncoming traffic and crossing people/animals, horns blaring in all directions, and traffic doubled up passing each other regularly, I never saw any anger or ‘road rage.’ Everyone accepted and anticipated each other’s movements and two hours later we arrived at Balian Beach and where we were staying, Pondok Picses.
Upon arrival we were led to our river side villa and served fresh mango juice:
After checking out our new digs, we took a quick walk down to the beach. At this point I should say that although I initiated the idea of Bali for our honeymoon, Kathleen did most of the research into where to go. She knew I wanted to surf a mellower beach break and that we were not really interested in crowds or any sort of party scene. She did absolutely perfectly with this first stop. In fact she did so well, that people we met in the days ahead were shocked that we had found the place on our own and were not told to go there by others. 100 yards from our doorstep, we emerged on the black volcanic sands of the beach. Balian resides in a cove of sorts with the Balian River on one side, and cliffs on the other. To our backs were the 3 or 4 establishments making up the ‘village’, and straight ahead was a perfectly shaped wave. This was exactly what we were looking for.