It had all the qualities of looking like a rustic village, with a clump of houses both at my left and right with lot of old furniture stuffed till the veranda, one or two roosters were mooching across the compound, a dog lazily lying on his belly looking at me (thankfully not barking! I was praying for him not to raise even his head!!); and I was standing in the middle of the small compound completely puzzled. I couldn’t see anyone, I tried calling my host but the phone kept ringing, so left a message of my arrival and waited for somebody to show up as soon as possible.
Just few seconds after, a plumpy looking momma appeared to dry her freshly washed clothes, and taking the chance, I went to her and spoke of my booking. She seemed out of context for a moment (maybe she doesn’t speak English that often!) then she asked, ‘which house?’ Tad shaken to this question, I told the names of my host and showed her the picture of the house I had booked.
“Oooh!! Come this way..”
I crossed the compound with her for just 10 meters and voila!! There was a hidden heaven!! While the lady went inside a house to find someone, I saw the house at my right, which I had booked and looked exactly the same (mission accomplished!!), there was another big house at my left and just opposite to my new home for next few days, till next 50 meters there were plush villas lined up and then.. Then there was crystal sapphire ocean, rumbling it’s high foamy waves on the rock wall. This – was – a – beauty. I would be sleeping with the waves and wake up with them for the next few days!! Nothing could be better; I could spend all my days here!!
“Hello Payel, I didn’t expect you to reach so soon, but welcome to Candidasa!!” I was brought back to reality by a cheerful greeting from a happily smiling and about to reach at her old age, lady. But I was, by my characteristic disorder, a little curious. She wasn’t an Asian, but surely from one of the western countries, how she could be my host where as the name of the host was given of a local lady!! But I kept all these to myself. As I couldn’t ask such lousy question at my very first meeting with someone and above all, I wanted to enjoy the live canvas in front of me at that time.
“Yes, even I didn’t expect that I would reach so soon. But I am glad that I did. It’s an amazing place.”
“It is, thank you. Actually we just had a guest checked out, so it will take some time for your room to get ready..”
“It’s perfectly fine; I’m sure the driver was in a hurry to bring me here way earlier!”
“Haha.. Would you mind waiting here?” she pointed at a moderately large wooden bench, right under a huge coconut tree, which can fit 2 persons easily, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the dreamy view of the beach.
“It can’t be better.” And I settled there.
“May be I should get some iced tea for you?”
“Oo Thank you, but I had breakfast, and quite fine. If I need anything I will ask you.”
“Ok, the house opposite to yours is mine, and you can ask anything you may need.”
We spoke for the next 15 or 30 minutes about my trip, her often trips to other parts of Bali, her travel plans, local sightseeing, where all I can go, who can help etc. After which she left me to enjoy my moment with this abstruse beauty of nature. She did come back though, once or twice to make sure I was still ok to wait there.
Once the room was ready, the other lady who runs the daily errand of my host from one of the western countries; showed me the house. She was another cute of a pie, but her story later… So my host from one of the western countries did come back again to check whether I liked the room and everything was in order. Where she handed me a recent magazine published locally on the village, we started chatting. She is from Netherlands, and is settled in Bali for near about a decade now. The house I was staying at and the other one at the other side, are owned by her (no no, I didn’t voice my thoughts to her; she herself said all these to me). All the deluxe villas stretched till the beach, are owned by some Europeans or Australians, who come here for their yearly vacations. My Dutch host was a teacher earlier; she took early retirement and had come to Bali for a vacation. Few years later she had settled here. She speaks fluent Bahasa and so active she is. We spoke of everything, my solo travel, her travel, how she spends her day here, what all she likes, my job, food interest and what not. To sum up, we got along quite fast and really well. Our daily routine was, if we started chatting, we would continue for some time and the subjects would keep on bouncing from one corner to the other.
I was also told, that the ‘rustic’ compound where I had stood for few minutes perplexed, was actually the entrance. All houses there had this one common entrance, after which I became quite easy with it (though I’m still not clear what sort of uneasiness I had!)
Before booking my stay, I had gone through all the reviews on the house, and all comments had my Dutch host’s homely nature praised highly, and I would completely go by it. She is as delightful a lady as her heartily advises. She is so much in love and involved in Bali culture, which was quite honestly surprising for me. I used to be occupied with my sightseeing plans during the day, for which we usually would meet in the afternoon and would run through my activities of the day with her. Even she wanted to take me to a village to see a cultural programme there, but unfortunately I had already left for a snorkelling trip very early in the morning, and I still have an unknown guilt in me for that.
“Payel, you are leaving tomorrow morning, but I won’t be there tomorrow as I am going to another village this evening to a friend’s house.”
“Oh, that’s not a problem.” But I did have a tiny hurt feeling somewhere.
“Actually there is a festival tomorrow, and for which I will be leaving this evening and I will be back a day after. By the way tomorrow the roads may be blocked after 9 am, hence plan your transfer accordingly.”
“Oh, so sad, I couldn’t see any of the festivals. But Yes, I will speak to your manager on the transfer.”
“You must come back again, and I will make sure that you get to see some local festivals.”
“I surely have to come back, there’s no doubt on it. Very soon hopefully.”
She gave her love with a parting gift, I promised to keep in touch with her. She sent me a picture of the sunset the day next, when I was dozing in Bali blues in my own house! And if you are thinking whether we still are in touch??