Canggu

LAST OF CANGGU

As work currently consists of staring at a screen for hours at a time, Canggu was a good place to ease into the Balinese work-life balance. It had a colorful creative hustle to it to keep me motivated and cafes to keep me caffeinated but also the ocean down the street for when it got to that point in the day when my left shoulder started to stiffen and I wanted to throw my laptop at a wall. 

An American gal in front of a painting of a Dutch artist by an Australian street artist, on an Indonesian island. 

An American gal in front of a painting of a Dutch artist by an Australian street artist, on an Indonesian island. 

Sunset at Echo Beach. 

Sunset at Echo Beach. 

Morning light over the local school. 

Morning light over the local school. 

Zali + Scott. Zali ran the villa we stayed at and we could often find him and his friends smoking cigarettes and playing Guns N Roses covers out by the entrance. You haven't lived until you've heard the Indonesian acoustic version of "November Rain"

Zali + Scott. Zali ran the villa we stayed at and we could often find him and his friends smoking cigarettes and playing Guns N Roses covers out by the entrance. You haven't lived until you've heard the Indonesian acoustic version of "November Rain"

Indonesian version of a Party Bus.

Indonesian version of a Party Bus.

Acroyoga over Old Mans Beach. 

Acroyoga over Old Mans Beach. 

Surfing in Canggu was a challenge as the waves were consistently packed. It's stressful enough just trying to stay afloat/alive in these powerful waves so having to worry about colliding into someone added a whole other level of concern. Fortunately, that only happened to me once. Unfortunately, that someone was Scott. He got the brunt of the collision as my board went straight into his shin and left QUITE the gash. While he dramatically assumed he'd have to get his leg amputated, he was fiiiiiine and I was eventually allowed back into the water. 

While my favorite day of the week was Wednesday for Movie Night at Deus, Scott preferred Sundays for the  Sunday Market at Samadi . We'd walk down our street (which was a rare occurrence, it's easy to get lazy here and scooter everywhere) and stock up on peanut butter while trying to dodge the packs of chatty British children running around.

While my favorite day of the week was Wednesday for Movie Night at Deus, Scott preferred Sundays for the Sunday Market at Samadi. We'd walk down our street (which was a rare occurrence, it's easy to get lazy here and scooter everywhere) and stock up on peanut butter while trying to dodge the packs of chatty British children running around.

Polaroids at Crate Cafe. 

Polaroids at Crate Cafe. 

A few firsts were also had in Canggu, including experiencing geckos outside of car insurance commercials (they make very peculiar sounds which are extremely startling in your bedroom in the middle of the night) and trying dragonfruit, snakefruit and one of the most expensive coffees in the world, Kopi Luwak (which is essentially cat shit coffee), which kinda just tastes like coffee but is worth it for the anecdote.

Canggu was a real trip. 

ALL GREEN EVERYTHING

I was surprised to discover this little girl hamming it up for the camera after I took the photo.

I was surprised to discover this little girl hamming it up for the camera after I took the photo.

An offering in the field.

An offering in the field.

Fruit stand stop. 

Fruit stand stop. 

Artist workspace with a rice paddy view. 

Artist workspace with a rice paddy view. 

View from the motorbike cut through. 

View from the motorbike cut through. 

The rice paddies of Canggu range from faded burnt to a nearly fluorescent green. It was a lovely landscape to have as a temporary backyard. 

KITE FLYERS + SPECTATORS

Flying kites is a past time the Balinese take very seriously.

I'm always excited to see (what I refer to as) "kite gangs!": rowdy (by Balinese standards that is, they're a rather quiet and refined people from what I've seen) groups of teams racing down the road in pick-up trucks and motorbikes carrying their massive kites to the beach. It seems to be a male dominated activity with a very elaborate flying system. Spectators come to check out the action too. Here's a few photos of the kite teams and their spectators, at Echo Beach: 

KitesCanggu

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD + BEST FOOD IN CANGGU

For three and a half weeks we settled into Canggu and fancied ourselves locals. We got a membership to Dojo Bali, a co-working space for fast wifi to work on a few projects (internet is of course, rather 3rd world-y here) and spent the rest of our time at the beach, exploring the neighborhood, memorizing rice paddy field shortcuts and attempting to speak Indonesian. 

These 2 chickadees look like they're about to drop the dopest rap album of 2015. 

These 2 chickadees look like they're about to drop the dopest rap album of 2015. 

Kids here go to school 6 days a week with only Sundays off. Many classes are in two shifts, morning and afternoon sessions, so throughout the day you see uniformed kids hopping on the back (or front) of their parents bikes and heading to and from school. 

Kids here go to school 6 days a week with only Sundays off. Many classes are in two shifts, morning and afternoon sessions, so throughout the day you see uniformed kids hopping on the back (or front) of their parents bikes and heading to and from school. 

We rented villa (about $18 total a night) at the Taman Dayu villas near Echo Beach and I thoroughly enjoyed walking into our temple-like lodging each day. I never actually used the pool (because why use a pool when the ocean is right down the road?) but I appreciated the view, nonetheless. 

We rented villa (about $18 total a night) at the Taman Dayu villas near Echo Beach and I thoroughly enjoyed walking into our temple-like lodging each day. I never actually used the pool (because why use a pool when the ocean is right down the road?) but I appreciated the view, nonetheless. 

There's a joke in here somewhere.

There's a joke in here somewhere.

Scott at  Machinery  - a colorful cafe owned by a cute Indonesian-Australian couple. 

Scott at Machinery - a colorful cafe owned by a cute Indonesian-Australian couple. 

Iced cappuccino at Koi. 

Iced cappuccino at Koi. 

Crate Cafe.

Crate Cafe.

Even though I found out I can happily eat Nasi Goreng (fried rice) every night without getting sick of it, we certainly sampled the extensive (and cheap!) dining options. Here's the best food in Canggu:

BETEL NUT CAFE: For fresh giant salads and perfect smoothies.

CRATE: Best (and cheapest!) place for early morning takeaway coffees before you ride to the beach to check the surf. Also best banana bread I've ever had in my life. 

KOI: Cute cafe with smiley staff and solid iced cappuccinos.

COFFEE N OVEN: European style bakery with straight out of the oven fresh croissants and killerrrr mango jam. 

CANTEEN: Delicious lunches with a retro surf style decor. 

BOOTSTRAP: Beautifully designed cold brew coffee brand. They do a white brew made with coconut nectar which needs to be exported to the USA ASAP. 

Big Betelnut Salad (4 different salads in 1) at Betelnut Cafe. 

Big Betelnut Salad (4 different salads in 1) at Betelnut Cafe. 

Sunset at Old Man's beach.

Sunset at Old Man's beach.

The entrance to  Dojo , the only office I've ever worked in where you leave your shoes at the door. 

The entrance to Dojo, the only office I've ever worked in where you leave your shoes at the door. 

CangguMotorbike
Note the peace sign. 

Note the peace sign. 

My Indonesian hasn't gotten much further than simple greetings and exclamations ("bagus!" = "great!") ... which is about the same as my Spanish, Italian and Latin even after 2 solid years of studying each of those. Indonesian has been a super interesting language to learn about though. Since it evolved to enable negotiation in marketplaces (within the various islands of Indonesia that all had their own language) the unified "Indonesian" language is a simple one:

-there's no plurals, you just double the noun. "anak" = child, "anak anak" = children

-there are no tenses, so they stick time words into sentences to indicate past, present or future: i.e. "I pay you yesterday", "I pay you tomorrow" 

-words can be very vague, "besok" which means "tomorrow" can mean the day after today or sometime in the near future. Walking down the street here, when you get hassled for a "taksi" ride and politely decline, there's an immediate follow-up of "maybe tomorrow?!" which made a lot more sense after I learned this quirk. 

Hearing Indonesians speak English made me think they weren't translating well (like the way I massacred the Italian language in Naples, asking "please I have pizza?") but many of their direct translations might actually be spot on to how they speak Indonesian. Makes me think Indonesian might be the language I could excel at, without having to bother with those pesky plurals and tenses. 

CANGGU

Over a year ago, I watched a video about Dustin Humphrey on one of my favorite websites and made a mental note that, were I ever to find myself in Bali, I would check out Deus Ex Machina Canggu as anywhere named "The Temple of Enthusiasm" is probably worth a visit. 

So after Uluwatu, we packed up our scooter and headed off Canggu knowing only what we saw in the video. And that it was on the coast.

We liked it so much that we stayed for three and half weeks. 

Canggu's fruit shops began a morning tradition of giant bowls of fresh fruit, muesli and yogurt.

Canggu's fruit shops began a morning tradition of giant bowls of fresh fruit, muesli and yogurt.

One of my favorite food finds in Bali has been the Snake Fruit. Once you pick off the scaly brown outside, the meat of the fruit (the flesh of the fruit? the fruit? what do you call the inside of a fruit?) is shaped like a cashew crossed with a garlic clove but tastes like an apple. It's delicious. 

One of my favorite food finds in Bali has been the Snake Fruit. Once you pick off the scaly brown outside, the meat of the fruit (the flesh of the fruit? the fruit? what do you call the inside of a fruit?) is shaped like a cashew crossed with a garlic clove but tastes like an apple. It's delicious. 

We stayed at the beautiful Rio's Guest House the first few days and took advantage of the shared open air kitchen outside. 

We stayed at the beautiful Rio's Guest House the first few days and took advantage of the shared open air kitchen outside. 

Purple gated entrance which has ruined me because now I want all of my future homes to have purple gated entrances. 

Purple gated entrance which has ruined me because now I want all of my future homes to have purple gated entrances. 

Canggu has the best of of both (Bali) worlds with black sand beaches and sprawling green rice paddies. It has a growing creative ex-pat population, so street art pops up around every corner as well as great shops and restaurants. Along with the Indonesian street food and warungs, there's many Australian/European style cafes which means very, very good coffee. Traditional "Bali coffee" is instant coffee sludge so good espresso is (for me) a very exciting find.  

A very serious 8 year old shop keeper. You should've seen him chop up my coconut with a machete. Seriously. 

A very serious 8 year old shop keeper. You should've seen him chop up my coconut with a machete. Seriously. 

Although we weren't in the market for custom motorbikes or surfboards, we of course checked out Deus ex Machina. The Temple of Enthusiasm was a bit fancier than I expected but it was a cool kind of community meeting place for travelers, resident ex-pats and Indonesians alike. With the shop, restaurant, movie nights, art gallery and barber shop it had something for everyone. 

DeusExMachina

We returned there every Wednesday night for Movie Night where they projected films outside and everyone lays around on bean bag chairs, enjoying the free popcorn. My favorite was Cool Hand Luke. I looked forward to Wednesday every week because apparently even if you put me in an exotic, tropical environment I still secretly just want to go to the movies.