Memories of Bali:
- the warm, friendly, people and their glowing smiles.
- the positive outlook of the people living on $75 a month “I’m a poor man, but a happy man” – Eka.
- the pride of the people – they literally fought to the death, to the last person, man and woman, in battles against the Dutch colonists.
- the contrasts – from high-end resorts and designer shopping to holes in the sidewalks that could swallow you up.
- the creative spirit and art of the people, seen everywhere in their new buildings, charming little restaurants, wood carvings, temples, art work, in the clothes they wear…
- the poverty along the coast road from Amed to Denpasar.
- the best 1 hour massage in the world for $10 with Emma – not a happy ending deal, but the most wonderful spa massage, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head – jelly at the end – wonderful Emma! – this alone could be a reason to live in Bali!
- meeting Vlad in a gay bar – fun times and shared experiences. Travel with Ganesha (remover of obstacles, lord of beginnings) buddy, find your dream, travel safe.
Meet Linda below, my snorkeling guide for a day. Drove me up to Amed in her boss’ car, to a popular diving area. $50 for the day – $20 to her boss, $20 for petrol, $10 for Linda. A wonderful person with the most positive attitude. Works 2 jobs to make ends meet, earning $200 a month. She has 2 kids, the eldest is 20. She told me how she took small gifts such as colouring pencils to the kids living around Amed. She brought gifts for 6/7 the 1st time. The next time she went up, there were 12/14 kids waiting, the next time 24/28 kids. Linda soon realized she couldn’t go on – she had to stop. She told me she cried and cried.
One of many Balinese Hindu temples (can’t find its name). Notice how complex its design/construction is. Well, all 4 sides seem to be the same, although it would take years of study to confirm/prove this. There were ‘greeters’ (like the guy below) at each of the 4 gateways. The greeters were different and each had some sort of secret hand sign. “Who wants to know this?”, you say.
“Hey mister, want a massage”?
Look at this building site. Do the 2 click. The men work in jandals/thongs (not that kind of thong) without hard hats! I walked by here at night and they were still working in the dark. This is earthquake territory – building standards? Vlad swore he saw workers using crazy glue on one site.
Well … the contrasts.
I walked down the street on a pub crawl, just strolling, people watching and stopping here and there for a Bintang. It was early, around 8PM. At what was the last bar/restaurant along the way before I’d walk into the Indian Ocean, I heard the coolest guitar music floating out to the sidewalk. I wondered in, found a table and sat back to enjoy. The place was almost empty and these 2 guys were playing their guitars and having the best time together. I sat at an outdoor patio table, under a couple of tall palm trees, with big fluffy Bali clouds slipping across the dark sky – soaking up the music from the 2 amigos.
Across the way, there was a multi-story building under construction. Men were working up there while we sat below enjoying our drinks and dinners. You can see a welder at work – bright light centre right. The night I was there (returned to take this photo another night) a guy was smoking, squatted on the precipice at the upper right. He was silhouetted against a background spotlight with a cloud of dust blowing past him – looked like blowing snow in the night (I miss that sight, blowing snow I mean).
Later on, around the front of the building, I found the workmen waiting to be taken home. About 100 of them squatted on the roadside. Tired and dirty, some smoked, smiled and joked, while others just gazed into the open air restaurant across the street. The restaurant had its tourists enjoying the music, drinking their drinks and eating their dinners, costing more than any of these guys could earn in 2 or 3 months.
Trucks arrived to take them home. Mostly short guys, they stood shoulder to shoulder in their trucks, with only their faces showing over the sides, like match sticks on end. In the darkness, their tired faces were lit by the lights from the restaurant … didn’t have my camera.
Well Bali, good-bye, au revoir.
Terima kasih, terima kasih Vlad, Eka (auntie & uncle & brother), Linda, Emma, Putu, Roy, Ante, Yoyok, Sriati, Mary, Billy, beautiful Wayan, Lisa and all the rest! Aku sedih untuk meninggalkan Bali.