Crickets. I think I heard crickets, which should be wrong because it was a sunny 9:00 morning in Bali. I walked past the stores and I felt weird seeing that the traffic in the small street in Kuta was gone. There were still taxis and motorcycles abound, plus the peddlers who kept bugging you with “transport? transport?” offers (complete with the hand motion for a motorbike) but other than that Bali was surprisingly calm. Due to my beach pandemonium disappointment the other day, I just decided to take my camera with me knowing that I wouldn’t be able to ‘lounge’ anywhere else given the massive size of local folks in the beach. And so I walked, and took pictures and walked and was again amazed by the number of great stores they had (albeit, expensive for me).
I was looking for a sunny breakfast place and I don’t remember now if I had been successful in finding one and if I was actually able to eat. When I got to the end and saw the entrance to the beach, I was again, taken aback, for now, it was almost empty except for a handful of lone locals or local couples. So, apparently, I was there a day after they celebrated Nyepi in Bali which was a yearly festival or a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. No one was supposed to be out on the streets and you are to turn off all electricity and use candles for lighting instead.
From Wikipedia – Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed. Even foreigners are not exempt, they are not allowed to go to the street or the beach on this day.
So that explains why everyone else was out on the beach the day I arrived. They were celebrating after an entire day of solace and isolation.The beach looked cleaner now with the litter having been taken out and the only thing that stood out now were the big waves on the beach. So if the beach was empty, how can I and will I ever find my summer beach fling?