Having explored a big and beautiful part of the island the day before, I felt like taking a more laid-back day. According to the map, the north tip of the island was covered with Mangrove forests. Besides the fact that they grow in the sea, I had no idea what Mangroves were. Someone told me that they were smelly and that was all I knew. With the experience of the heat and the direct sunlight from the previous day, I took off much earlier. South part of the island was mostly about nice beaches and luxurious resorts surrounding them. The west coast, where I stayed, had the port and most of the budget, backpacker accommodation. Towards the north however, it was all local fishing and seaweed villages. One side of the road is the sea, with a clear panorama of Bali and the other side is lined with trees. The road is very quiet, which is partially because it is very early and partially because it is another festive day and most locals are home preparing for the temple ceremonies.
15 minutes into the walking, I started seeing the mangroves in the sea and a little further up the mangroves got thicker. Right where the road ends, at the northern tip of the island there's a little cafe by the sea which was just opening up. I took a tea break there, enjoying the view and the silence. This was “seaside” type of silence; there's the occasional sound like a cat licking herself which is the small waves hitting the coast. All other sounds seemed to be absorbed by the ocean...
I take a different road back, which extends from the northern tip to the east coast of the island but this walk takes much shorter than I expected, so I am back in less than 2 hours. I took my fruit breakfast in the hotel by the ocean. My initial idea was to return today with the 3pm boat, however I wanted to have one more night of the fantastic sunset over the ocean so I decided to leave the next morning, which gives me an entire free afternoon.
I headed for one of the posh hotels up in the hills towards the coconut beach and spent the day in the pool, which had an amazing view of the ocean and the port area.
For the sunset, I went back to my hotel, which I think has one of the best sunset views in the entire island.
I hoped I had another day in the island, so that I could walk over to the Nusa Ceningan Island. Lembongan and Ceningan islands are connected via a foot bridge but I was told the bridge is about 90 minutes steep walk which I didn't have time for. Ceningan island is actually desolate and it's mostly the surfers going there since the waves are better.
The next morning, as we embark on the boat for the way back, I took my camera out to shoot some of the beaches from the sea. Noticing the camera, the passenger in front of me started a conversation about photography and travel in general. He's the owner of one of the posh hotels in the hills. He complimented about the beauty of Istanbul, while I try to convince him about the beauties of Bali. This is a very typical exchange among travelers who had been to the home countries of each other... I tell him that I was in Bali already for 2 months with a completely open return date and return location. At one point he looked at me and said “Wow, you must be the happiest woman on earth, traveling alone and doing what you like”. His comment had such an impact, probably much more than he intended and I replied “Yeah, I guess I am”. It was a brief encounter, but strong enough to put a smile on my face the entire day, really feeling
After all, do I need anything else to be happier?
My yoga learning for the day: Different parts of the body tend to mirror each other; tension in the jaw intensifies when tension in the lower back increases, or tension in the hips can be related to the pain in the shoulders/neck. This is more noticeable with the lower body parts; ankles, knees and outer hips are closely linked and when one part is injured, the other takes on more load to compensate for the reduced range of motion in the other, possibly increasing tension in the long run.
When there is tightness in the jaw-neck-shoulder area, it is helpful to focus on stretching the lower back with forward bends and the hips by either happy baby, half pigeon or your favorite hip-opener (Yeah, I'm aware that “favorite hip opener” is an oxymoron). It may not be the only solution, but may accelerate the tension release.