Here in the coastal-town trifecta of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak, the scene is lively, bustling, and sometimes chaotic. Between taxi horns, motorbikes darting through streets like pinballs, and club-derived, bass-thumping music oozing onto sidewalks, it's surprising that the locals aren't more edgy. On the contrary. They seem more zen than a statue in a Buddhist meditation garden. There never seems to be yelling. There never seems to be road rage. There never seems to be aggression. Even the shop owners hawking their wares as I pass by have been known to respond with a sing-songy "You're welcome!" after I push them off with the millionth "No, thank you". It's an interesting contrast.
Along these lines, a fixture that has been intriguingly amusing to me is the locals' beachfront bar culture. Beachfront as in ducking-for-cover under leafy trees with hot sand underfoot and a too-close-for comfort view of foreign men's skimpy bathing suits (Ed on Jillian's Bachelorette season, anyone?). About every 20 feet or so, adjacent to the busy main road and beach walk, is another makeshift beach bar. Jerry's Bar. Mike's Bar. Tiger Itchy Bum Bar. But these aren't just your average bars. They're less than average bars. If you're wearing a shirt and shoes, you will probably not be served. Granted they sit on the sand of some of the world's best surf beaches, but seems if you have a set of resin patio furniture (not even a full set) and a cooler, you have yourself a bar here. Throw down a few additional bean bag chairs and a surf lesson sign and you just might be in business. I suppose nothing says carefree quite like drunk surfing.
It's the simple, Endless Summer approach of these bars that creates a gateway to the beach experience that lies beyond them. The cheap massages offered on your towel. The frequent drinking out of freshly hacked coconuts. The long string of seamless waves that roll in. All ingredients in Bali's recipe for everyday harmony. And a local Bintang beer doesn't hurt either.
Makeshift bars and surf lesson outfits nestled along the shady edge of the beach in Legian.
A local's beach bar in Legian
Another beach bar
Fully stocked bar for the day!