I had mentioned previously how very much the Sanur beachfront has changed in a mere 7 years, now crowded with restaurants and hotels such that one can hardly get to the actual beach without feeling like he’s trespassing. Of course, the motive seems quite clear. People want to go to the beach when they are in Bali, and if there’s a restaurant in the way, why then they’ll probably have to stop in and order something just so they can sit near the ocean.
It’s the same on the main thoroughfare that runs through Sanur — Jalan Tamlingan at the one end, turning into Jalan Danau Poso at the other. Seven years ago, there were a few popular restaurants, a few popular bars, and many more than a few roadside local cafes and shops. Now the entire length of road is wall-to-wall hotels and upscale restaurants, clothing shops and jewelry shops and furniture stores and … well, you name it.
Jalan Danau Poso has been the slowest section to develop. There used to be two bars on the street (not counting the “chicken bars”, ie establishments of ill-repute). They were Angel’s and On-On and sat side-by-side on a lazy turn in the road. Every night, these two bars were crowded with customers, 95 percent of them tourists (the other 5 percent being the Indonesian waitresses). They were fun, carefree spots where one could meet people from all over the world — The Netherlands, England, India, France, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, and of course there were a few Americans as well. The waitresses, mostly from Java or Sumatra, were delightful,, sharp-witted young women who knew how to sell as much beer as possible, and developed a particular talent for picking up bits and pieces of multiple languages. They have all moved on now — married, or gone back home to their islands. Angel’s has been changed to The Place to Be, while On-On is still On-On, as far as I know.
Nothing could be more apparent, however, that neither is any longer the place to be. One finds both establishments all but deserted now, languishing in the shadow of the new restaurants across the way. The waitresses are no longer bright and sharp and chatty. Usually they are staring at their phones, and seem somewhat annoyed at being interrupted. I imagine that both places will soon fade away as well — just like their former customers. It is as if they have grown old and unwell, just like people. Just like me. They have become but memories.