On the tails of my pan-Indonesian/Singapore/Bangkok adventure, I crossed an interminable number of time zones and eventually landed on a beach – of all places, in Florida. The land of oranges, golf courses, alligators, mangrove swamps, snowbirds, Art Deco and all-things-pastel.
Florida’s west coast was studded with early morning shell collectors, SUP boards, catamarans, para-sailing arcs floating across the sky; while beach umbrellas concealed skimpy bikinis, beer bellies and a fair bit of burnt skin and cellulite. The sand was smooth and whitish enough to resemble the white powdery stuff that had much of the northeast US in its grip; which meant that snowmen showed up in the snow, decked out in beads and shells. Despite the high heat and higher tides that washed them away like winter chills never do.
The east coast…well, that was a different story. Not only because of gale force winds that threatened to transform into tornado material, and not only because hardly a soul other than lazy lifeguards could be found on the beach, but because of the ruckus down the road: Mar-A-Lago was not far from the hotel’s ‘hood; which meant that, at least for awhile, I was vacationing closer to POTUS Ground Zero than to Disney World; one could even argue that my head was lying on a pillow well within micro-range missile testing distance.
Clearly, the grains of sand had dug in much more deeply into my skin than ever before; seeping through my pores, soaking into my soul, reminding me that life could be a beach. Given that I was anyway headed back to Bali: Why not?
Which is how, a mere week after my return home, I packed up my Ubud life and moved down to the beach. Sanur, town of saltwater air, breeze through the trees, flat land, promenade, bicycles and hardly a single driver calling out “taxi taxi!” nor more than a handful of ladies hawking their massages.
I now live a short stroll to the beach, where kite-surfers mingle with fishermen, girlsressed in black arrive in the dawn for a photo shoot, where families come out in full force on Sundays to splash around in the shallow waters, dine on grilled satay and treat their kids to chocolate crepes or soft ice cream.
Like anywhere else in Bali, one can never be fully prepared for the surprises that will greet us wherever we next think to call home: A bevy of cows in the field across the street, whose mooing often seems to harmonize with the imam’s chants that rise, in pre-dawn darkness, from a nearby mosque (yet to be seen). A flock of schoolchildren and their band teacher (yes, BAND.. did anyone know that Bali has bands?!) who practice, with drums and cymbals at hand – in an empty parking lot, spitting distance from my bedroom, at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Despite the occasional disturbance, unexpected events and impassable floodings of rainy season, life on beachside provides what no town could (even Ubud, where part of my heart still resides!): the calm and magnificence of a dewy morning, glistening waters with a sun peeking up from the far edge of the sea, an endless swath of sand into which I can sink my soles, and the sheer beauty of gazing into the large expanse of unobstructed sky.