“Want to see Dolphins?” offered a tour operator.
Digging our heels into the dark sand, we looked far at the horizon, and shook our heads. The sun will soon set and the dolphins will be lost to the world.
“One price for two people”
“Not interested” I said without making eye contact. Not that I wanted to be rude but that was an effective way of shaking off a lout with a snout. He went away.
Beside the beach, next to the frangipani trees were numerous cafes and a market. The market sold many hand-crafted curios, wooden carvings, t-shirts and tours. Most of the artwork and tours were dedicated to, well, dolphins.
Lovina beach lay five kilometres west of Singharaja City in North Bali and stretched for nearly 10 kilometres. It consisted of many villages. Kalibukbuk was regarded as Lovina Town Centre. The name was given by Panji Tisna, late regent of Buleleng Regency. He was inspired by Bombay of 1950s and he wanted to emulate a similar beach lifestyle on his own land. He started the Lovina Guesthouse. The word Lovina has two syllables; English word Love and Balinese term Ina, which means mother. Simply put, it means Love for Mother Earth.
Before 1960,Singaraja was the capital of Bali, Lombok and Nusa Kecil. Being the administrative capital meant a steady influx of people. Things changed when the state capital shifted to South Bali to Depensar. Slowly, Lovina regained popularity. Authorities tried using more local names but the Anglo-Balinese term Lovina was here to stay.
The peacefulness of Lovina was also encapsulated in a Buddhist Monastery called Brahma Vihara Arama which was in the same Buleleng Regency.
Brahma Vihara had a smaller version of the massive Borobudur temple. It was established in the 1960s. The monastery welcomed visitors irrespective of their faith. It housed a big meditation centre and an entry to the monastery involved wearing a sarong. Our, driver Dewa, did not help us in wearing the sarong, maybe he was cheesed off because he did not deserve, hence receive, a tip.
A contrast to the calmness of the Buddhist Monastery will be the hellish realms of hot springs, where scalding water spewed out of pits of pungent sulphur. Banjar Hot Springs proved me wrong; not only was the water tepid warm. It was poorly maintained. At least, we completed our list.
The setting sun had ushered to the beach a crowd of locals and tourists. And we sat in unison watching the daily show, maybe lost in the thoughts of, dolphins.
A child screamed. A boat had nearly capsized, the waves splashed it aground on the shore, few children and men spilled out of it and tugged the craft onto the beach. Their shrieking silhouettes against the crimson sky filled the already dog and people smothered beach with some action.
Lovina was a contrast to the rest of Bali, be it with the black volcanic sands or the spots of seclusion. It ,surely, was true to it’s name.
P.S- A special thanks to Shannon Kretschmer for being my travel partner and also for sharing the images.( http://www.capture-the-spirit-photography.com/)