Road trip to Gede's Home & Village
Andy & I haven't had much time to explore other parts of Bali, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. What better way to get amongst it, than with a local.
We set off on our journey with the official Road trip Selfie :)
Heading out of Canggu towards to the North West, we took the back roads before we hit the main highway. It teaches you more ways to get around the island, and you pick up a few shortcuts to areas. We drove through villages where Gede explained what went on where. "this one specializes in roof tiles" huh we thought but sure enough, row after row, house after house, there were freshly laid out clay roof tiles drying in the sun.
The trip meandered round corners and villages, climbing up hills that become dense with tropical bush. Clearings of terraced rice paddies would suddenly appear. Perfectly manicured hills that will always astound me with their meticulous geometry. I think of the hours the workers put in season after season.
He was right, the drive would take over 2 hours. lots of small villages that were quaint and quietly calm.The main highway to Sengaraja was chaotic. The trucks, the bikes, but mostly the trucks. They were so overloaded you would swear the suspension was going to crack. Drivers careless maneuvers on the road had us braking our imaginary brakes, closing one eye and venting squeals of frustration.
Vista after Vista of stunning mountains, valleys, fields and then the ocean. We were following the coastline and it looked magic. "This is where the W hotel has purchased land" gede informed us. really we thought. that seemed unlikely way out there, however we had recently passed the beautiful Alila hotel at Soori beach, and seen where The Intercontinental was beginning a site development.
We finally arrived at Gede's village entrance just off the beachfront highway. What a welcome ! Mum & dad came out to greet us, grabbing our arms as they ushered us into their yard. Fresh coconuts were opened, boiled bananas were sampled ( delicious) and traditional sweets were served, we had arrived at the family home.
"Would you like to see my garden" Gede's dad pronounced.Why not we thought ( thinking it was the banana plantation we were staring at) Oh no, it meant jump on the motorbikes, so off we went.
Striking huge Coconut trees as far as the eye could see. "this is you garden" we said "Wow it's more like a jungle/forest"
He grew Cacao trees which he tended to with absolute care. We sampled the fruit which was a sweet pulp that you sucked, leaving the nut. The nuts were dried and sold. We trudged through the lush vegetation, both of us slipping on our backsides exposing our city slicker lack of experience in the wild. They also grew chlorophyll plants which were sold by the kg and exported. Mum & Dad worked in the garden every day, all day long. my jaw dropped. It was overwhelming the amount of work involved. they just smiled.
As we drove back to the family home for what was described as local Bali coffee ( I'll admit I did have my reservations in tasting, but when in rome as they say) we took a short detour up the mountains that were dominant behind the village. I'm perched on the back of dads bike, Andy is on the back of Gede's. The higher we went, the more the temperature dropped, a relief for me who was suffering from the 30+ temperature that day. The views were absolutely spectacular as we looked out.
A quick un memorable bite to eat at a local warung on Soka beach. I went to take shots, no one up that end and no one down that end of the continuous coastline. Stunning again, rugged & wild, yet a gentleness & calming feeling.
As we motioned to leave, our final meeting was with Gede's grandmother. Gorgeous, quiet and casually picking up frangipani around her property. she lived in this house, her sister lived next door. Dads brother lived in the house over there, and Gedes family house was next to that.
This was a humbling experience sharing it with a lovely family with values and traditions, living a wonderful way of life.