Monday, June 05, 2006

Karangaji Beach

I have watched that show on the discovery channel where they feature strange and unusual houses. I have even been to and stayed at some awesome villas here in Indonesia, from Puncak to Bali and Lombok. I have seen some pretty spun out houses in Hawaii as well where the owners build their houses a little more day by day. But dude, this is a first right here. I spotted this gem from the poolside of Ocean Queen. It was pretty high up on the hill and it commands attention. It seems like the highest structure in the area by far and the bright colors really set it off on a sunny day.

I was staring at it for a while and I thought it might be a restaurant or something so I asked the staff of Ocean Queen about it. The lady pointed out to a guy wearing a full wet suit carrying a surf board and told me it was his house. I started talking to him about his house and he invited my friends and me up there to come check it out. I could only imagine the view from the observation tower. It did look a bit sketchy though, like a tall steel pole on top of a very windy hill, only being held in place by 4 ropes tied to wooden spikes wedged in the moist soil…

We toured the house first and I can not say it really had a very definable shape. I mean, most houses that are professionally built would have some standard lay out regarding where rooms, bathrooms, and stairs are placed. This house was not conformed to any rules, and while most people would find that disagreeable, I loved it. This house was clearly built over time by the owner, with only his present needs in mind. It started 4 years ago with 1 floor and now there are five levels 10 bedrooms and bathrooms.

The materials on this house seem to be only wood, limited brick and concrete, colored glass, and this brightly colored plastic sheeting. This is what sets the house apart from any other I have seen here. The side of the house facing over the cliff and to the ocean is shaded but this vibrant sheet that sets an amazing mood. I probably should have been seriously hung over but I felt energized under it. There was some work going on and the owner told us that he might be opening a restaurant there soon.

It is hard to paint a mental picture and it was equally hard taking pictures of the house from the inside. There were many rooms and none of them were large and spacious but they did not feel small because everything was open. There are balconies and sun decks constructed wherever there is a good view and the 5 rooms that are air-conditioned have huge glass windows. The others are open to fresh air and the elements. I saw about 3 different seating areas and 2 dining rooms. His kids were there hanging around and he had some guests who were just chilling out too.

Rooms quite simple opened into one another and every passage lads to a deck facing the ocean. It was splendid to say the least. The house was also filled with traditional carvings that have been collected over time and there were quite a few Buddha carvings placed randomly around the structure. I will also add that all the wood in this house is amazing quality. And it should be considering the owner used to be in the logging industry. There were also some experimental features visible where on one floor he actually put in a glass floor. It is not a very large room but it is an interesting feature. I guess the house was put together kind of like a puzzle. I like spaces like that where you can just find a corner of your own and have some down time even if your place is full of friends.

We meandered around the house and as we went up what seemed to be the last set of stairs, we entered directly into a bathroom. Well it was not really a bathroom but a room with this huge black Jacuzzi in it. And there were at least 3 other bathrooms I saw with these huge ass tubs in them. The owner was very proud of the fact that the tubs are actually of the Jacuzzi brand and imported from the US. This one looked out over the front of the house and caters to the last room we saw.

From that large bathroom you cross over a wooden bridge to the most prominent feature of the house and also the most recently added bedroom. You see the colorful shell? Well the other side of it is wide open and underneath it is a huge bed. I could not take a picture into the room because there was no space but the view from there is unbelievable. It is right in front and on top of the house, looking over the whole coast below and it also has a clear view of the sky. There is a mosquito net over the bed and as for the heat, it was a hot day that day but up there, there is nothing but cool breeze. I could not break a sweat if I wanted to.

From this master bedroom you can look straight down to the bay below where there is a pristine beach. It is only 5 or 10 minutes walk down a steep hill to get there as well.

On the right you have a view up the coast to the mountains. There are numerous small fishing rigs that stud the water just off the coast. This room is not as refined as the Ritz or anything like that, but it is one hell of a romantic spot. You could find cleaner or better designed places but this spot just had soul. I did not want to leave that room. With the right person, I could probably spend a whole week right there. That green Buddha head that is in the other pictures is directly behind the room and it is a light as well so it glows at night and supposedly sets a pretty wikid atmosphere in the room.

The only way is up. And the last place left to go was the observation tower. It may seem small in the picture but it is not. There were 4 of us up there at the time and I am sure we could fit 4 more with out hassle. Space wise we would fit but I am not sure about structural integrity. In fact, we should have been a bit worried going up there but we were not. As soon as we stood on the deck I could feel the tower swaying in the wind and I looked over at Ash who was holding on to the railing for dear life. I have never seen him so scared. But we sat on the ground and kicked it for a good half hour.

To say the view from here was amazing would be a gross understatement. 380 degrees of it was mind lowing. The land jutting out at the end of the bay is called the crocodiles head by the locals. If you look at it you should be able to see the resemblance.

We could also see straight down to Ocean Queen, the place we were staying at. Somehow it did not feel as good anymore.

This is a shot of the master bedroom from the observation tower. WTF!!?? Even just looking at the pictures now I am amazed at how beautiful it was. And we came across it so randomly, without even a plan to go the beach.

It was also a stroke of luck that B had a J rolled and ready to blaze. The owner did not mind us smoking up there but he did not join in. I did not want to hit it too hard either because what goes up must come down. And dude, those were some narrow ass stairs. I had made it through one crazy night with no scars and I was not about to fuck up my track record now.

There we were, top of the world. The picture is a bit green because the roof is translucent green plastic. We all look a bit fucked up because we were. We had spent the better part of the night getting obliterated and then searching for a mysterious lost cave, which we did not find. But that is another story. That’s B on the left and Ash on the right.

The good thing is that this house is for rent!!! You can rent the rooms here for only $15 - $25 a night!!! The owner is a really cool guy and although he has a website marketing his place, he usually only rents to people he likes. So if you are interested check out Karangaji Beach. There are more cool pictures and rental details there. If you surf there are some pretty decent breaks out there but it does get a bit rough for swimming. The owner is not keen on pimping his place out either but more interested in meeting new people. He is young, smart, and interesting to talk to. Sorry to the fella’s who did not make it up this weekend. We will head back again for sure. Surri, you know this place was all you bro. Next time. As for the pictures, we have B to thank. And for coming up with this ingenious plan, Ash… You da man cuz. I really needed to get away so you could not have had better timing. Mahalo.


Anonymous said...

Wow, thats a phat house! Great pics B. Sounds like you guys had a really great time, those spontaneous trips are the best!

AmitD said...

Ok I am building one sucka just like that in Kakum forest. You guys are welcome to crash there anytime. :)pnetln

inny said...

lets go next weekend stay there ppllllssssssssssss i need to get out of here.

Jax said...

Dude, that's some house! Who's the man with the master plan? Awesome pics too! Keep those random trips happening man...they're usually the best!