BALI, INDONESIA — I'm sitting here poolside having an ice cold Bin Tang wondering if today's paddleout for Uluwatu is going to happen or not. So far nothing that has been promised has happened.
Yesterday the only person (Curtis Lowe) who seems interested in making anything happen here was in a motorcycle accident, and luckily he's OK. Except for being scratched head to toe on his right side. I can tell he's been shaken to the core. Perhaps he came a little too close to tasting the bumper of a large truck for his liking.
Frankly, I think it's crazy to be riding scooters or likewise here. Traffic seems to have no order. Chaos would be putting it mildly. Death seems to wait on every corner.
Stories here just seem to keep spinning. It's hard to figure where exactly the truth lies. In any event, it wasn't much of a welcoming feeling for any of us in the small village.
Curtis showed up at my hotel to pick me up for the paddleout ceremony to bring awareness to the pollution issues that are plaguing the world-famous wave of Uluwatu. Which up until this point I have yet to see. Due to a lack of planning, the paddleout falls on its face. From my observation, it doesn't appear that Curtis gets a lot of support from the foundation that he works for. Hard to say since I have only spent a matter of minutes with the founder since I have been here and it's almost been a week.
I suppose the good thing has been that I have been surfing twice a day. It's been good conditions, and I'm having a great time out in the ocean, but I can't help feeling that my fact-finding mission here might come up as a big miss.
And then it happens. On my last day, Curtis takes me on a tour of the point of Uluwatu and to my complete dismay we find a dirty little secret hiding in almost plain view. We find a dump zone of plastic waste and anything else one can imagine.
Secondly, just a short distance away, he leads me to a stream bed that is so vile and blackened that it immediately churns my already twisting stomach. Then I'm led to a 70-foot or higher water fall of wastewater streaming down from above the cliff top at the back of one of the nicest resorts.
With no time to actually process what I have just witnessed, I board a plane bound for the flood-stricken country of Thailand and a quick a stop over in Malaysia. I arrive in Bangkok at night. I quickly see more chaos and what seems to be millions of sandbags and water.
Lots of it.
However, it seems that drinking water is becoming a bit of a problem. A shortage seems to be beginning. Half of Bangkok has evacuated. For now I'm south of most of the flooding. I may or may not get involved in providing some assistance in the way of the flood victims helping them get supplies and or with some swift-water rescues.
At this point I'm just waiting to see what happens next.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun