Bali part 2

During our stay in Sumatra, Rex and I had to start thinking about our next couple moves. After some debating we decided that we would want to stay in Bali a little bit longer than we had originally planned and we extended our stay by 2 weeks. Which means we ended up spending the max amount of time allotted on our visa and booked our flight out of there on the last day possible.
Once we came back from Sumatra, we headed straight to Ubud for some culture. The main reason to be in Bali was to surf, but we figured we should at least check out the artisan/batik/yogi meca of Indonesia (also it’s one of the only places I could find Pilates classes in Bali:)) we arrived close to midnight and just crashed out in our room.

The place (suly resort and spa) we stayed at was a real find. For $22 a night we had a massive room with aircon, wifi, 2 pools in the middle of rice fields, free yoga, a pretty cheap breakfast buffet and so much more. The resort is interesting due to the fact that it is also ran by high school kids. The front of the compound is a boarding school for kids from less fortunate areas who get scholarships to go to school and at the same time they get trained in everything hospitality. Basically at the end of their schooling, not only do they have their high school degree, they also have the ability to go get a job within the hospitality Industry. So the entire place (which is huge) is crawling with 16 year olds doing everything from room service, front desk, restaurant, and gardening. The resort was a little bit outside of town, in the area called Mas which is the area known for its wood carving. We rented a scooter to get us around and we were off to explore.
The next few days were filled with temples, monkeys, shopping, Pilates/yoga. It was pretty action packed considering the previous 2 weeks were fulfilled with just surfing, eating, sleeping.

One day we decided we would do some artisan classes, Rex chose wood carving and basket weaving, I did batik and also basket weaving.
We spent an entire day in a shop outside of town learning these 3 trades and let me tell you …basket weaving is hard… Like really no joke, hard!! At one point Rex and I both looked at each other like : “are you kidding me?!” In the mix of all this, it’s also 99% humidity and a heat index of 90 and we are tying our fingers in knots trying to weave a little box out of dried palm frauns. Our teacher completed 4 in the time that Rex and I finished 1…and he had a cigaret in his hand most the time… The upmost respect to those basket weavers.

As for the other classes, I think we both walked away extremely inspired to try and continue those crafts when we get home again. Batik was a lot of fun and reminded me of the silk dying, that Cat and I used to do when I was a kid. Rex took a huge liking (rightfully so, he has a natural talent ) to wood carving. His fish looks amazing and I can’t wait to see how it is once it’s sanded and done.

One of the only things Rex really wanted to do in Ubud was to go eat at Lotus Cafe. It has been there for over 30 years and was a restaurant he had fond memories of, from his previous visits. We decided to officially celebrate our 3 year anniversary there and unknowingly we also got to see a traditional Balinese dance performance. The food was amazing and the music/dance was entertaining. It didn’t break the bank and we felt like it was a special night!

After 4 days we left the hustle and bustle of Ubud and headed back to our beloved bukit peninsula. We had already reserved a room at Impossible Villas where Dana and Alex had posted up. We were ready to eat, breath, live surfing for another 14 days. Personally I was ready to put this whole surfing thing to rest mid Sumatra. I have had an odd relationship with it for 8 years. It has been an on and off again relationship, getting better but then taking 5 steps back, mental blocks that would infuriate me(and Rex) and I finally wanted to really just work on surfing and wrapping my head around it. I needed to figure out my mental issues with the ocean and the fear of it. So where to do it better than in the #1 best place to surf in the world (on reef?! The scariest thing ever) Rex, of course, thought this would be a great idea. He helped me learn how to read the waves/ocean and after the first day I was able to go surf on my own and figure it out. Rex would analyze and critique me after most waves and without him I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did. We would spend afternoon or evenings practicing on dry land (popping up, body movements once standing etc). We would watch videos of Sumatra and us surfing and analyze it(who knew that looking where you want to go instead of down the the wave would make such a huge difference ;)). Seeing the love that Rex has for surfing and the ocean really helped as well. Watching him surf, with such determination, grace and strength is really inspiring.
It was super uneventful and really boring for most people but I really truly enjoyed it! In the midst of all this I also met a couple other girls that surf and rip and it doubled the fun. Who could beat warm water, perfect 3-5 ft waves and good company?

We ended up surfing mainly Uluwatu and Padang Padang (I now know where all the German surfers go, 90% of people in the water were German and this is where I,ironically, ended up surfing most the time). We did a day trip to Pandawa (with some
Old colleges of Alex and I) and Rex did another day trip to Nusa Dua with Alex.

In the midst of our stay, I learned of a designer in town called Maggie. She is the founder and owner of a brand called Magini Bikinis. Dana and I made our way over to her shop one afternoon and man oh man was I in heaven. She had a rack of bikinis and then a shelving unit full of fabrics. In the corner were two sewing machines were a local couple was sewing away. Before we knew it Maggie (she is from Portugal, about 5’2″ and 80 lbs) had strapped and twisted and wrapped some bikinis on our bodies and was talking away about fit, fabric and construction. I felt like I was just glowing and then she told us the price of a custom bikini and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. After long debates about what fabrics, fit and size to go with I walked away with 5 pieces and Dana with 3. In 3 short days they would be ready for pick up.

Weird enough, another couple from Orange County was in bali at the same time. Some ex-volcom employees that Alex and I worked with for awhile. We all had an amazing surf together and a great dinner. It was so great to see people from the old family and it truly made me be grateful for my times at volcom.

All in all it was nice to finally be in a little bit of a routine. We weren’t always bound to each other and could independently move around. It was inspiring and relaxing.
Rex got some massive waves and got his barrels in. I learned/did my first cut back front side and backside. We got to spend and build stronger friendships with old friends.
I am not going to lie, once again a piece of our heart was left in bali, we are already talking about when we can come back! So thank you bali and your people for being who you are!

Now we are on our way to Singapore and vietnammmmmmmm!!!



So,we were trying to get to Sumatra to meet up with a contact who at one time was from Costa Mesa, California. Her name is Amy and she had given us directions to her surf camp that kind of went along the lines of, take this airline to Jakarta because it’s cheaper, then to bandar lampung where you will have to stay the night. The next morning you need to go back to the airport and find a flight on susi air to krui. Don’t worry I will have the air traffic controller meet you there. The flight will not be available online nor will anybody in the town say it exists but it does. Or, if for some reason the flight is not running, grab a taxi that will take you the better part of 6-7 hours to the camp. She said she’d help us along the way but she was also in another part of Sumatra visiting her boyfriend. She wasn’t coming back to her camp for another 3 days after we would get there. So, we were on our own for a couple days. Turns out the flight to Jakarta was cheap and it was basically a brand new plane. The second flight into Bandar Lampung was the sketchiest landing I’ve ever encountered. Let’s just say we were coming in hot! Really hot!! Like we were breaking through earth’s atmosphere hot!!! I think I might have accidentally assumed the “brace yourself for crash landing position” at one point because the g’s we’re pushing me into the seat in front of me. We spent the night at a brand new hotel with discount prices that was also unheard of. So finding the place at night made it a little more interesting.

Back at the hotel, I was trying to book the taxi to the airport for the next morning and the girls at reception kept laughing at me when I told them we were flying to Krui. Fast forward to the taxi the next morning, the driver was laughing at us for trying to catch a flight to Krui. We pulled up at the airport and now we’re all kind of laughing because, what if he’s right? What if the girls are right? We had no idea. Until we opened the doors to the taxi and the air traffic controller was standing there saying “Carolin?” Sigh of relief, and more laughter. He handed us a phone and on the other end was Amy making sure everything was going smooth. We were on our way to krui. He escorted us the entire way. This guy looked like a government official. Alex was toting around a black pelican case with his camera inside so it added to the drama. If you don’t know what a pelican case is, it looks like a case to smuggle expensive things in, and it has a big silver lock on it. People were staring at us like we were V.I.P.. I’m not going to lie, it kind of felt like we were. Everything went surprisingly well for what we had expected.

We then boarded out little single engine Cessna. Carolin did not like this bit at all. Turns out our pilot was from South Africa and from what we gathered the co-pilot was logging hours and doing some training of some sort. So the pilot was letting him fly us to krui. The flight there was awesome! Super smooth and great scenery. The landing on the other hand was another interesting one. We came in short and we bounced off the runway and started to kind of glide in but still not on the ground. The pilot ended up taking over and “assisting” the copilot. We made it down fine after about 5-10 seconds of drifting. The airport there is pretty much nonexistent. The runway is really all it is and a small office with weeds growing into it and stuff. So, we made it to the camp and headed down the coast to jump in the water and for the next week or so, eating, sleeping, surfing, and riding motor bikes around was all we did. We caught some really fun waves. Nothing too big. All in all, really fun. Carolin got her first reef rash on her foot, I saw a Sumatran brown huntsman spider the size of my head. One day we saw a pack of eels swimming in open ocean. Saw a couple locals chasing what looked like a Komodo dragon with bamboo sticks down the street. Y’know, normal everyday things you see in Sumatra. All the locals wave and say “hello mister”. It’s such a catchy phrase that there’s actually a surf shop there called, hello mister surf shop.

Amy’s place was really cool. She’s basically built this life for herself down there and from some of her stories, it sounds like she’s had to overcome some cultural differences and learn how to communicate with the locals. It’s so removed from everything that you learn to adjust to little things that are so abundant back home. The three of us were really impressed by her and her little compound.

We spent most days in the water and had an amazing time off the grid. We flew back to bandar lampung and spent a day there enjoying the amenities of the hotel and walked around in town. We went to a four story supermarket and I think we may have been the only white westerners in the entire town. Alex is like 6’2 and between Caros blonde hair and my mustache people were tripping out. The employees at the store took photographs of us and some people would just stop, point, and either run, or….. I think I might have seen Alex turn a kid into stone. It was an experience to say the least. Everywhere we went the whole trip people would kind of be in shock to see us.

We flew back to bali the next night and Caro and I spent our 3 year anniversary in between Java and Bali. I’d say it worked out perfectly. We felt bad for Alex so we made him a happy first third wheel anniversary card. But, we’re back in Bali now and we had a really cool experience in Sumatra. One we won’t forget. We definitely want to go back and see the other spots of the island.

Surfing Sumatra from rexford adams on Vimeo.

Bali part 1

Well, we’re in Bali. Or should I say paradise? We landed in Bali pretty late at night so we basically just made it to our hotel in kuta and fell asleep. The plan was to head down towards Uluwatu to meet up with some friends from California. Alex and Dana have been here for a couple months and recommended a pretty cool villa with a pool and they lined up some mopeds with surf racks for us. They’re getting the place wired so it makes it easy for us to relax and take the recommendations. I’ve been to Bali three times before, but the last time I was here was ten years ago. Since ten years is quite a bit of time and since development has skyrocketed, it felt like I have never been here before. The smell of burning trash in the streets and a little nasi goreng has brought it all back. We’ve basically been trying to get our bearings the last couple days and have been enjoying riding around on mopeds.

We’ve also been surfing some of the best waves on the planet. For anybody who isn’t familiar with surfing and bali, if you asked an avid surfer where the best, most consistent waves in the world are, with the best food and cheapest accommodation, they would say Indonesia. (If they said somewhere else, they’re lying) Bali has been that jumping off point in indo for years. There’s been a little crew of 4-7 of us that roll around through Uluwatu on mopeds with surfboards attached and scoping out certain surf spots, pulling up at restaurants, convenience stores, and it’s starting to feel like we have a little moped gang.

Right now our plan is to meet up with a girl originally from Southern California who moved to South Sumatra and opened a surf/pilates camp. We’ll be there for a week depending on the swell and then back to Bali.