Cooling down in sparkling water...

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jul 14, 2008

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Where I stayed
Topi Inn

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, June 9, 2008

Been feeling generally overheated since getting I'm constantly sweating and sticky...I swear, even the bath water is sticky.  But today my core temperature is cooled down.  I grab snorkel gear and head over to what's called The Blue Lagoon...a cove along the coast with blue water.  It involves some climbing up, up, up and then down again...these steps are like 12 inches high....doesn't do my knees any good.....but I get down to a bay that looks like it's right out of a travel magazine....there's a warung (that's a family-style restaurant), and always plenty of people selling things already on the beach.  There are also a bunch of Australians.... I guess it only takes about 4 hours to get here from some places in Australia so it's a very popular place for the folks down under to vacation here...and right now it's getting closer to Australian winter...why not head to Bali? 
Since I'm all hot and sweaty from the walk over I try to dodge the vendors for a moment - unlikely - and get right into the water.  I've found that if you say 'not right now, maybe later' to their requests to buy, they're pretty cool, or at least more likely to back off.  Perhaps it's culturally insensitive to flat out say no. 
Well, the blue lagoon is another great place to snorkel.  Except right from the start I've got these pinprick sensations on my skin....just like a hot spark from a fire landed on my skin...lots of hot sparks.  And some of those sparks get stuck under the edge of my bathing attire and keep sparking.  It reminds me of when I took a bunch of students snorkeling in Florida and the first few in were ouching because these one-celled jellyfish-type creatures with stinging cells were setting their skin on fire (remember that AS and EF?)  Well there I was again amongst the stingers...all you can do is act like it's not happening and enjoy the experience...and it's a good one.  Lots of different fish swimming amongst the coral...perfect temperature vendors trying to sell me anything.
I really don't fault these vendors...they do have beautiful things to sell...sarongs, wood crafts, paintings...and more.  And they sell their work far below any amount we might pay in the states...far below what anyone's time is worth.  And I'm happy to contribute to the local economy...I am being treated so well by the people in this country...everyone smiles, everyone says hello...people are kind and generous...their spirituality is at the core of the way they interact with you. 
One woman who is trying to convince me to get a massage tells me how good it will be for my muscles and how, if she uses her magic coconut oil, I will have smooth Balinese skin.  And if I use it on my stomach it will cure any ailment I might have...or over my sinuses-they will be cleared...and she provides me with a sample of her massage technique...and I have to admit my neck and back are a little tight...but she's got me....So I get myself an hour massage for 50,000 rupiahs-that's about 5 dollars -for an hour.  Crazy, no?  I also buy some of the coconut oil because I'm sure ill find some ailment to it's supposed to prevent the stingers from stinging...besides I'm all about having some of that silky Balinese skin.  And then, after my massage, which is delightful I might add, I'm surrounded by all sorts of other vendors.  Although they're the most persistent vendors of any country I've been in so far, they are not offensive....most of them are really pleasant to engage with, even if you don't buy.  And at this point I have bought enough sarongs, and paintings...I don't want to weigh my suitcase down any more yet.  But it's all very tempting....
I head back to my hotel...the Topi Inn...a very nice place to stay in Padangbai if you ever get here...right on the beach....8 dollars per night for two people...all open air, plenty of fans....good people...staffed by family...I have myself a meal of fresh grilled mahi-mahi and get ready to snorkel out at the reef in the afternoon...not a bad day.

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