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Battye Family’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014

Location: Bingin, Indonesia

MapYou would love it here. After 32 hours of travel and 12 time zones, we needed a place to get our bearings. A hurried search for “off-the-beaten-path-with-surf “ brought up tiny Bingin on the south coast. We found and booked Temple Lodge from the Singapore airport just before boarding the plane. It’s perches on the clifftop with sweeping views to Dreamland and around the corner to Padang Padang. The waves are enormous and rake the surfers over the reef as they crash.

Monkeys like to steal what you leave lying around, a two foot black monitor lizard lives at the poolside and sharing the dinner table is a tiny kitten saved from a glue trap three days before we arrived. The owners are Italian and people you wish were your family – gentle, quiet Cris who teaches yoga and Mario, who continues to live life like the Grande Prix racecar driver he once was. The first day he loaded us into his Land Rover and took us with him on his daily surfing expedition. He stopped once or twice at hidden beaches, checking for the perfect wave and ended at Geger Beach to swim in the cove off Nusa Gede. He’s on the cusp of 70. The day after the beach run I bumped into him as he was getting ready to bike to the post office, strapping on a helmet woven of reeds.
“Nice helmet, Mario.”
“Is for elephant polo.”

The meals are communal so we’ve met and spent hours talking with a parade of fellow travelers. Mark and Jim sold everything in their Cambridge home and are one year into traveling the world “until we become infirm.” Tamara Lee, who shares the name of a 1970s porn star, is from Brooklyn and came here by way of Africa. Bob and his two grown daughters live in the northern territories of Australia. “Don’t swim if you come visit,” said Bob, “crocs everywhere.” He taught us to find Betelgeuse in the southern sky. Sebastian is a neuroscientist trying to finish writing two books on the existence of a holographic universe. Our conversations touched on NLP, quantum physics, and the fact that you can indeed create any reality you wish. A young couple from Holland on a two-month trip taught us how to make coffee with a pineapple can and why a student decides to become a doctor. “It’s not because I want to help people, Jenny, anyone can help people in their job. It’s because I’m fascinated with the human body and what it can do.”

The whole place was made by hand from driftwood, stones, and old wood from Java. The floors are volcanic rock or cement stained the color of lapis lazuli. Everywhere you look it’s old Balinese doors, thatch roofs, hanging orchids.