After the days spent in Ubud, we were heading to the north of Bali. We had booked a nice sea-view room in Amed Sunset Beach for 2 nights. Amed is a small sleepy fishing town famous for its perfect snorkelling and diving locations. In September, the high season in Amed was over and many of the restaurants, located on the main 15 km long street, were closed due to lack of tourists. We thought Amed is the perfect getaway in overly busy Bali. And it was.
There were two reasons why we chose to stay in Amed:
- We wanted to enjoy the silence of nature
- We were planning a trip to Gili Islands and Amed has a good connection by speed boat
- To enjoy the sunrise in East Bali!!
What we didn’t know was, we were going to have some of the best life lessons we can learn from travelling:
- the best party comes unexpectedly
- what does a huge earthquake feel like
- what does a real fear feel like
- hangover is my worst enemy when I feel anxious
- to stay calm when I cannot
- … conscious gratitude and appreciation for living in a “sacred” World where earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural hazards are not the normal thing to deal with on a daily basis
After 2-3 hours of drive from Ubud, we arrived at our hotel. The first thing everybody will notice after arriving in Amed is the silence and lack of tourists compared to the rest of Bali! Another essential detail – Amed is way cheaper (about 50%!): food, drinks, hotels, souvenirs, etc.
We had really no plans for the two days, so we let the things just happen. After a short walk on the main and only street in Amed, we realized that the best open bar was located in front of our hotel. Yes, the Rasta Bar in Amed: bar, food, live music every Sunday and Wednesday and even a Rasta yoga studio in the morning 😉
We were lucky to be here on Wednesday. The live music was better than the live music in many 5 start bars in Europe! If you still don’t know, I’m an absolutely Reggae fan and the perfect live Reggae music was the best thing that could happen on that day. Several hours and drinks later, we were drinking and singing on the same table with ALL people who were on the beach – the 2 barkeepers, 2 reggae enthusiasts (the singers), a hippie mother and daughter from Poland, a German couple, a Spanish couple with Ukulele and we two.
Another couple of hours and drinks later, we went sleeping.
During the late night or maybe early morning we were awakened by something ridiculously loud that moved our bed to the middle of the room. To be honest, we thought that a car had crashed into the hotel. But it was the first of 400 earthquakes registered on Bali during the last two weeks of September 2017.
It was the 21st of September when the 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Bali and especially the north coast of the island. The huge undersea earthquake was detected in the Java Sea northwest of Bali.
In the morning after, almost everybody was kind of worried and even anxious. The official government announcement said that the earthquake is a sign or even the cause for Mount Agung’s volcanic eruption in the near future, and put locals and all tourists of Bali on high alert.
- The problem was we didn’t know how to deal with that kind of information
- The distance between Amed and Mount Agung was only 15-20 km
- The Earth was continuously shaking like we did the night before…
- Second announcement: a chance of coastal hazard and tsunami because of the earthquakes
The summary: we were creating an escape-master-plan while having a massive hangover, enjoying the numerous earthquakes and literally breath-taking Volcano view of Mount Agung from the beach (read my sarcasm between the lines).
Volcano Agung is considered as the Most Sacred Place in Bali. Mount Agung is the holiest place where the gods, nature spirits and ancestral spirits live.
Mayhap we were loud enough the night before to be waking up the Gods from sleeping …
During the next 48 hours there were hundreds of earthquakes on the so-called Ring of Fire – from New Zealand to Japan, and the massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Mexico City.
In such a situation it is important to watch for local updates from the government, as well as hotel staff and airlines.
Also what we didn’t know, whether it was a good idea to travel to Gili Island. A possible Tsunami would “swallow” the tiny shallow islands.
Actually, only the tourist (non-Indonesians) were kind of freaking out! After asking about the situation, the hotel manager told us (imagine his English accent):
When it happens, we do. When it does not happen, we don’t do.
What the Balinese did instead: more offerings and flowers for the Gods.
Yes, another lesson learned – trust the Gods and your luck.
On the next day, we were heading to the Gili Islands. We decided “to do something when it happens” and to keep on trusting the Gods.
The best decision.
So we enjoyed the rest of the week on Gili Air.
Enjoy the day