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poppies lane 2 in Bali
Poppies Lane II looking decidedly lonely. Photo: Matt George.

Dreamtime: A Bali report

11 tips to ensure your bureaucracy and your karma are aligned for a return to Bali.

By Matt George

For those of you apprehended by dreams of Bali, rest assured, it’s still here. And it’s waves are as perfect as they have ever been. And they were perfect before you were on earth and they will remain perfect long after you have departed this mortal life. So no need to worry, those of you who are fiending for Bali transcendence. It has been a fascination experience though, to spend two years actually being able to see these perfect waves again. Without them looking like a piece of cake left out in the kitchen that the ants are having a go at. To watch them peel uncontested, uncrowded, unmolested in all their antediluvian grace. And the surfers that live here or have lived here through this modern Jurassic age of empty surf have been glutted. A surf coach here has even noticed that his team of surfers are in far better physical shape than they have ever been due to the “sheer wave count increase per session”. Odd times, or at least remarkable times indeed. But then again, maybe not. On this island of Karma, perhaps all this empty Covid surf is a gift for all the incalculable hours of elation that Bali has provided the hoards with boards over the years.

Now for those of you planning the great escape from the land Down Under to your adopted Hindu 7th state, here is what you can expect as of October 30th 2021:

  1. The airport experience has a new hassle. We’ll get to that. But first you have to prove you are not dying and that you have been fully jabbed at least 14 days prior to landing.
  • And that you have been PCR tested negative within the previous 48 hours. 
  • You gotta have proof of “Covid coverage” insurance or they will run you out of the place.
  • Here is the new hassle. You gotta download this app called a “Peduli Lindungi” and fill it all out. It’s a tracing app and a real pain in the ass. No phone? Be prepared for hours of rabbit hole of bureaucracy.
  • The taxi challenge remains unchanged, go ask a Bali veteran what to do if you are a first timer.
  • You gotta Quarantine for five days in a pre-chosen hotel and all related expenses are all yours.
  • The pre-chosen hotels are nowhere near the surf and if you try to sneak out the cops might make you do as many push-ups as you can on the side of the road. Then they will definitely deport you and Bali will be out of your life forever.
  • When you finally hit the surf, the vibe in the water is two-fold.
  • There will be a certain “Adjustment period” for the locals, so go easy at first. The “New Normal” onslaught of visitors and the “re-population” of the line-ups will be a shock to most locals. And certainly to those locals who started surfing two years ago. (Remember, the surf is so damn good here that you can become a pretty hot surfer in two years). And local ownership of these line-ups has been powerfully reinforced in all this emptiness. So look, you don’t have to be a sheep, but you shouldn’t race through the fold like a wolf either. And if you don’t know this global drill by now, then just stay home.
  • Ok, so, if you are smart enough to follow this global surf protocol, you will then be welcomed with a smile because the island is dying without you emptying your wallet here. So empty it, go surfing and have a ball.
  • From a surfer’s perspective, and this is not some Covid lab rat expert opinion, but…from a healthy surfers perspective the chance of contracting Covid seems very low. All that fresh air and healthy outdoor activity pays off there. And masks still abound. Always, ALWAYS, have a few masks jammed in your pocket and whip them on when appropriate. Some of the authorities here are just hanging for a bust on this issue. Do not get served up as an example of how seriously Bali is taking the safety issues of the Pandemic.
  1. If the unthinkable happens to you, remember that the hospitals in Bali are not exactly the Royal Melbourne, so good luck wherever you end up.
  1. And remember, the monsoon is here, so if you come now, you will be surfing the moody, gnarly, dark water East-side. Keramas and such. Not the pristine, aqua blue, airbrushed offshore Bukit. For that, you’re gonna have to wait for April, 2022.

Now hear this. All this new normal protocol actually creates an opportunity for a mindful surfer. The idiots will never get this but you just might. Think of Bali today as a brand new surf destination. An island experiencing a tourism re-birth. And make no mistake, as cocky as surfers are, you are still just a tourist. This island no longer harvests rice. It harvests wallets. Your wallet. So make it count. Not only getting your bang for your buck, but also for obtaining a different kind of value for your cash. A chance to begin again in Bali. See it for the first time. And this time, with your heart in the right place. As thirsty as you are for perfect waves, try to get into the cosmic side of things here. Just for few moments a day. That’s all it takes. That is something that will never die in Bali. The opportunity to make your visit far more than just a few tasty tubes.  So don’t be a dummy. Take it.

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