Thursday, March 09, 2006

#10 Bali Week One

We are taking Sally & Jenny to the airport so that they can continue their circumnavigation of the globe. I’m staying on a couple more weeks. More news when next near an internet café.

Breakfast; mango, papaya, bananas and very black Bali coffee.
A little later I’m on the Bale (a small open platform with a thatched roof out in the garden). I’m lying on my stomach, squinting through half closed eyes at the bright blue surf falling on to the black sand beach. Cool trance music is seeping out of the hidden speakers.
A local Balinese lady is giving me a massage. . . . . . Aaaaah . . . . . . :-)

Round and about where we are (and because it’s the rainy season) there is an abundance of vegetation, flowers, vegetables, fruits (had a papaya straight off the tree for breakfast) and animals. Some of these animals are not content to roam around in the nature provided for them but like to come indoors for a visit, or even take up permanent residence. We have a biggish gecko that lives behind the toilet cistern and another in our bedroom behind the wardrobe or in the ceiling. It makes an odd frog like croak at various times of the day but apart from that he/she is no bother. Last time I was here I was sitting out on the Bale quietly minding my own business when this effing great snake glided by. Since then I have been very careful where I tread.

More visits to expat neighbours. One very chi chi residence had a 15m pool, so I got in and swam a bit. Then on to another couple (Jamie & Wendy – he flies helicopters and she does law) they are building a house on their bit of beach and we swigged white wine as the sun went down.

Very much later that night, at 03:45 I got up and me and Snowy watched Barcelona v Chelsea. The next day/night/morning? it will be Arsenal v Real Madrid, much as I would like to watch that match, I might just give it a miss.

An American couple who live near Snowy are benefactors of a children’s gamelan orchestra and they arranged for their houseboy to take us over to see them practise. The children, aged from 7 to 10 were really having fun playing their various bamboo and metal percussion instruments; genders, cymbals, gongs. They play with a repetitive, hypnotic beat, 5 to an octave, not like western 8 to an octave. We went away smiling.

Sally & Jenny sit-in with the band

We first met Professor Kung when he visited Regine, a neighbour of ours in Spain. She mentioned she had a Bali man coming to visit, so we invited them to our house for some home cooking. Afterwards he invited us to stay with him whenever we were in Bali (as you do) so here we are!

More wet weather (it is the rainy season) so we skipped a tour of Ubud and went back for lunch at Dominique’s hotel, the Garjah Mina. Dominique was the chap we met in town the first day for G&T’s. He has a furniture business in town and a v nice hotel just down the beach from Snowy.

UbudBali is part of Indonesia but unlike the rest of Moslem Indonesia it is mainly Hindu. This particular day was a special religious day for the blessing of mechanical appliances. Our car had to go away and be blessed and came back with nice palm decorations on the grill.

Then off on a scenic drive up through the rice fields and over to Ubud, a town famous for its artistic heritage (and lots of tourists). We were going to stay at the hotel of a man we met in Spain called Michi Inn – the hotel that is, not the man - his name is Professor Kung. When we arrived we found he wasn’t there. He had had to go off to Japan, or Bangkok, or Singapore to see a dentist, or somewhere else, nobody was quite sure. Anyway we had a convivial stay, I swam in his pool, and we were served a nice dinner. We found out that the hotel was officially closed which explained why we were the only guests.

His real name is Roger and he lives in this shack

Drove into the local village of Basra and bought a pair of nice leather sandals (70,000 rupiah / 7 euros). It’s the custom to go bare-foot indoors in Bali, as you have to constantly slip in and out of footwear, sandals are easier.

I first met Snowy when we were both 11 years old and starting senior school. On the first day we were made to sit at our new desks in alphabetical order, Lillie next to Linbird. We became firm friends for the next 5 years, but then lost contact. 45 years later we chanced on each other when looking at our old school’s web site. We exchanged mails and I ended up visiting Bali and he then came to us in Spain a year or so later. This is my third visit.

Forgot to mention that we had a few beers when we got back to Snowy’s last night.

Snowy lives in a bamboo hut in a coconut grove that slopes down to the beach. We stay in the guesthouse, a block building of two bedrooms and bathroom, also on his land under the coconuts.

We didn’t do much today – walked on the beach. Then it rained a lot and in the evening we ate chili prawns at a local restaurant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nothing for ages, then all this - now I want to go travelling again. LOVE Jayboy X