With my body clock still 2 hours ahead I found myself getting up at 5am in the morning at the Mamo Hotel in Uluwatu. With the natural alarm of roosters crowing it just felt so right to get up and wash my face, before slipping on my thongs & heading downstairs out of the hotel. Outside the hotel gate with my camera in hand I can see the life in Uluwatu starting to stir for the day. A local man on a bike is already at work, carrying what looks like a baby banana tree on his shoulder as he rides up from the beach. Another guy is preparing his toll gate for surfers that want to park their bikes & scooters further down road. The local feral dogs play and fight in vacant land contesting territory. Already surfers are riding their scooters down towards the beach with their surf boards stowed.
It was only 6.30am and after walking a short distance I was already sweating from the humidity, although after being in Bali for a couple of days already, I had learnt to just accept it. As I walked down the steep stairs of the surf village, the local balinese were already at work sweeping, chatting or praying & making offerings at the small temples inside their stores & cafe’s.
A couple of French & American surfers climb up the stairs as I head down to the only cafe open at this time in the morning. The smell of scrambled egg’s & bacon was already floating through the open air cafe. Balinese coffee & an Indonesian version of the American breakfast seemed to do the trick for me.
Being a westerner I was still getting used to the smaller serving sizes that were given during breakfast. Although the humidity and heat do seem to supress the appetite somewhat. After breakfast was finished I headed over to one of the vantage points where a young local surf photographer was setting up his kit for the day. Armed with a Canon 7D, 400mm Lens & Tripod, this guy was ready to shoot some good closeups. I asked the guy who looked not much older than 16 if he owned the gear that he was using. He replied with a friendly smile and said no and pointed to the other kids setting up from the other vantage points within the surf village also setting up their telephoto lenses. It then occurred to me that the photographer was the one that was still sleeping in bed while the kids got the shots!
Looking at the waves below with my paltry 85mm 1.4 I started to hunt for a shot. It wasn’t long before I seen a couple of surfers wade into the shallows and paddle out to the submerged reef 50 meters away from the shoreline. As I looked down, the water below was giving off that deep blue colour that I had always seen in travel magazines and advertisements…now I was looking at it with my own eyes.
The simple experience of having breakfast and seeing village life stir in Uluwatu left an indelible impression on me. It will be a place I visit again. Maybe next time with a surfboard 🙂