The upside to Bali in the rainy season

by Meera Dattani

Photo Yu Liang Wong / Alamy

I T’S pouring. My waterproof jacket may as well be cotton wool. My money belt, worn underneath my underwear, is sodden. I don’t care that $50 worth of Indonesian rupiah is disintegrating. It’s worth it.

Each day, I wait for the rains. If I’m indoors, I bound outside like a puppy. Others join me in this almost-daily ritual. It’s as though we have never seen the heavens open.

I am in Bali during the rainy season, seduced by a cheap ticket, thinking — it never rains all day every day anyway. Little did I know I’d be entering a new reality, one sweatier, clammier and more uncomfortable than I’d ever experienced.

Air-conditioning aside, rain is the only relief from the seemingly endless humidity. There is a plus side, though. The lethargy reduces the pressure to see everything. I explore fewer places, slowly. In sudden downpours, I retreat into the nearest café and such accidental discoveries are often the best.

It is the unexpected that wins again

My favorite downpour comes in Padang Bai. For most people, it’s just a jumping-off point for boats to Lombok’s Gili islands but, after three days, I’ve no intention of leaving this laidback harbor town. Today, the rainstorm is particularly violent. I run into a restaurant up ahead.

There’s a couple inside. They smile at my drenched state. “You picked the right place,” says the girl. “The best pizza in Bali.” They invite me to join them and two hours of conversation follow. The unexpected wins again. I’d come to Bali for temples, yoga, rice paddies and local food, but a rainy day and a slice of pizza works too.

Bali’s Rainy season runs from October to March.

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