The day Bali made me cry

This post is about our last day and night in Pemuteran – a village in the North West of Bali. 


I woke up to knowing this is our last day in the North, the second place in Bali I fell utterly in love with. I remember hating the thought of leaving Ubud as much as I hated the thought of having to leave Pemuteran.

Leaving all this: taking a shower under the stars, sitting on the porch while looking at coconut palm trees and Frangipani flowers, eating breakfast that Kadek prepared for us every morning, watching the incredible beauty of sea-life, being among the kindest people I’ve ever met.

So, this morning is no different. Kadek cooks us some eggs and toast for breakfast, makes us Balinese coffee and a fresh pineapple juice. He’s set the bar so high I am wondering whether I’ll ever again enjoy my breakfast.

We spend the day on the beach. We just lie around, swim, drink fresh coconut water, you know… tough life. Just like the day before, I went collecting the trash the sea washed up on the beach. I was picking one piece of litter after another and bringing it to my little pile close to where we were sitting.

I was just thinking how awesome it would be if I had a plastic bag so I don’t have to do it one by one. Then – magic happened. The sea just washed a plastic bag up the beach. Thank you sea.

You know what they say: If life gives you lemons, make a lemonade. I created my own saying: If you want to collect trash from the sea, the sea will provide you with a plastic bag.

I felt it all falling into place: For almost every piece of plastic I picked up from the sand, there was a reward – a beautiful sea shell or stone I wouldn’t notice otherwise. Thank you beach.

The beach and the sea of Pemuteran recharged me with so much energy it still keeps me high-spirited up until now – more than two weeks after.

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Later that afternoon, Kadek leads us up to the main Hindu temple on a nearby hill. Wulan, a little 10-year-old daughter of our host Juli comes along with us, too.

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Every once in a while, a little temple crosses our path. Kadek kneels before it, burns a scented stick, puts little presents inside a little box – offerings to gods – and recites a short prayer. Seeing him fills me with peace.

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We’re absolutely exhausted, the path is quite steep and the air is hot and humid. We’re almost out of breath. Every temple Kadek stops at is like a redemption for us – we have an excuse to rest for a bit, drink water and look at the view over Pemuteran bay. With our tongues sticking out like dogs, of course.

When we get to the temple, Kadek takes out three sets of sarongs – traditional clothes that people wear to temples – and ties it around our waists for us. In the meantime, he talks about the temple we’re about to go to. It’s a sacred place for them, it’s called a “chair rock” in Indonesian because it’s built on a chair-shaped rock.

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To be brutally honest, the temple was… well… nothing much. It was basically a cheap construction built on a rock, iron pipes and wooden planks randomly assembled and nailed together so they create a steady construction. There was practically nothing inside. On the edge, there was a small altar with a statue. Still, it was probably the most amazing temple I’ve ever been to. It was beautiful in its ugliness. It was an amazing representation of what religion and faith should be all about. About spiritual moments. Humble altars that bring out the beauties of the mind, not the material riches.

When Kadek is finished with his prayers, we go a bit further to the edge of the hill to watch the sunset. Kadek takes off his shoes and walks barefoot, just like he always does in the homestay. I smile and think about it either as a nice statement of shoe aversion or declaration of freedom and love for nature at the same time. When we get to the hill, we sit on a rock and wait. In the meantime, we ask Kadek whether he’s ever thought about going abroad, trying out luck somewhere outside Bali. Apparently, he’s never been to any other place than Bali and I think it’s only good he hasn’t. I’m afraid the outer world would spoil him.

Kadek is a pure soul. He always wears a smile on his face. His smile is sincere and spontaneous. He doesn’t have much, but he smiles. He’s got his life. Nature. Good job. Family. Friends. Isn’t that enough? (Why don’t we smile more, then?)

He’s kind, helping, genuine, grateful. He’s an ambitious and hardworking person in a place where hard work does not really support the ambition. He hates shoes. He likes to just sit and think. Simple things. Simple life.

The sun is setting over the Pemuteran bay. We don’t talk much. We’re just sitting on the rock, serene and harmonious, watching the sun going down. Just like it goes down every single day but it will be a different sun for us tomorrow.

I notice a tear running down my cheek. Happiness. Pure happiness.

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We go down the hill feeling tired, happy and … hungry! Down in the village, we choose a random, nice looking restaurant and settle in. They tell us there’s going to be live music later on that evening. Nice one!

The waiters bring us food. It’s delicious (no surprise). We drink beer (it’s delicious). The waiters are super nice to us (no surprise again). For some reason, we’re very silent. We’re breathing in the atmosphere, breathing out satisfaction.

Then the musicians start playing. The band is six young and hot Balinese guys playing with such energy and joy it just makes you smile. After about the third song, my emotions start spilling out in a form of a second tear. Bali made me cry out of happiness twice in one day. Thank you Bali.


The night ended up in a bash. There was a woman – Amanda – who in about half an hour made everyone in the bar dance. I was feeling a bit self-conscious at first, me not being really that keen on dancing. But hell, that night the whole bar danced like no one was watching. Barefoot, sweaty and happy.

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The guys were amazing, making up lyrics on the go, forgetting the playlist, playing whatever songs their hearts and our hearts craved at that moment. Beauty. Love. Perfection.

Thank you so much Pemuteran. Terima Kasih Bali for all.

I don’t care if I’m being too sentimental. I needed to get it out of my heart. ❤