I didn’t eat a great deal of meat on this trip. In fact, lately I haven’t been eating meat much at all. Fish though, and prawns.
But it’s that barbecued, charcoal-y meat smell that grabs me every time I’m in Asia, Bali included.
I’ve been before, but this time, inevitably, I was a different person. With a wilder mind, I was ready to go anywhere on foot, although we often travelled by scooter – as most do.
There was an unassuming ice cream shop at the end of our street, Jalan Kunti 1, and while I’d never had better chocolate ice cream, we travelled to Canguu more – enough that we should have been staying there.
Head down Batu Bolong on a set of wheels to the end where the ocean is. The sand is a little grey in parts, but you can hire a board (100,000 rupiah for two hours is pretty good) and catch some waves.
There’s Old Man’s, and darn I loved the vibe there, but don’t dismiss the local joints – check out Cafe Dian right next door (near the carpark). Grab a coconut after surfing, and a plate of mie goreng or veggie fried rice for all of a few dollars.
The sunsets down here are mesmerising too. Stroll, hands in your pockets or something, to the sway of this balmy Bali paradise, and watch the sun go down behind the water-engulfed temple.
I truly mean a balmy paradise. Maybe it’s my northern roots, but there’s something enriching about taking in that succulent air. It moistens my skin, it allows me to stretch my bones. A revival winter cannot bring.
Meander up the main strip, but deviate. You’ll find a little juice bar dangling with ornate dragonfruit, a gypsy boutique, or one of Bali’s many dashing murals. There are never ending cafes too.
I’ve heard some say it’s hard to find good vegan, organic food in the area – which is baffling to me, because it is in abundance in Canggu, as is the whole yogi-sea-gypsy thing, for better or worse. Betelnut is one you’ve probably heard of – definitely worth checking out. Fish tacos seem to a be a popular choice for me, so I had those, complete with red rice, a coconut, vibrant company in the form of new friends. Cafe Veda is another goodn’ with some pretty slick vegan treats and iced coffee variations (though not cheap at all when you’re opting for almond milk and coco ice cream).
This stuff is a treat of course…opt for Bali kopi any day – it’s fine, it’s rich, it’s simple, and I crave it.
I recommend deviating some more in Canguu. There are fancier places like The Lawn, but while the view is great, I questioned what was really that unique or fulfilling about it after spending a sunset there. Truthfully, you can walk ten metres onto Echo Beach and buy coconuts for a third of the price. Chat to the locals, how fortunate they are to know these places like the backs of their hands.
Relish those conversations, earnest, juicy like the mangosteens you’ll be eating.
Take your coconut. Let the ocean lap at your feet.