“There’s no one here. It’s perfect.”
Bali’s a small island but the roads and topography make traversing terrain slow. However the contrast between the south and north ends of the island could not be starker.
After a four-hour drive we had only covered about 60km but had seemingly gone back in time.
Downtown Pemuteran, as we joked, is nothing but simple bungalows lining the beach. Nestled at the foot of a steeply rising mountain range, life goes on unaffected by the raging tourist industry dominating the social and economic landscapes in the south.
The national park, Menjangan Island, was deserted and pristine, just as the rest of Bali must have been decades ago.
On a dive in the national park we saw the biggest sea turtle I have ever seen, measuring well over a meter in diameter. The old fellow must have been alive for at least 80 years, spending his time under water completely insulated from world events, a good metaphor for the rest of this part of the island.