I have been warned about Kuta. It’s a tourist trap gone wild, with big ugly malls and resort hotels, souvenir shops, brand clothes stores, fast food, billboards, and taxi drivers yelling “transport”. It’s also quite modern and clean. But this is also Bali, and a smile and some friendly words quickly make easy friends. And to escape the hustle of Kuta, I had chosen a guesthouse some distance inland that was very nice, with a shaded pool in a nice garden.

The beach of Kuta stretches from Kuta to the neighboring town of Legian. It’s a wide stretch of white sand. There are many sunbathers, surfers and bodysurfers (although the waves aren’t high), and food and drink vendors in the shade of the trees at the edge of the beach. I chatted for a while with a surfing instructor; there is much competition but little business at the moment. It’s unusually hot,