Another long letter to Krista...I'll steam the envelope open and you can read it.
This morning I set out at 7am for a walk. Not much open so I kept walking. Remember the little street or big alley that goes left past Casa Luna resturaunt. We once walked down there lookng for a particular bungalow, but gave it up as it seemed too far removed? Well I walked down there this morning and kept on walking and it kept on going and going and going, turning into a rough dirt track surrounded by rice paddies. It was pretty cool. I was really out in the countryside.
I had already decided to move from the Gayatri. Remember how our last day or two we got stuck in a room we didn't like? Well I got stuck in the worst room in the place and it was still 100,000rp! It had termite shit falling from the ceiling! And lousy beds. Yuk, so anyway I found that guest house I'd been looking for with you last year and for the same 100,000 a gorgeous room with breakfast. Actually I decided to upgrade to 180,000 room (since it's just for one night) that has a loft with three walls just windows. Incredible views. And a really big unusual tub (no pool), big enough for two.
The only catch is that it's really only accessible by scooter (or car with a long walk) as it's set way back from Jl. Bisma and that's way the hell out of the way to begin with.
No problem. I had already decided to rent a scooter (automatic) and my driver's friend fixed me up. 24 hours for 70,000 (I could've found a much better deal but what the hell). So I left my big suitcases at Gayatri, packed up and zoomed off to the Hibiscus. The room is fantastic. Your folks would love it!! I unpacked, got back on my scooter, carefully negotiated the tiny walkways back to Jl Bisma, gunned it up the steep ramp onto the street, overshot and put it in a ditch. Shit.
All these Balinese folks came running out and helped pull it up and checked me for damage. I got a minor little cut on my leg somehow. Didn't even bleed. But I broke the fender off the bike! I drove all over Ubud to find the Yamaha dealer to see if I could get it fixed--I feel really bad about it, it's a new bike. No one there spoke english at all, but I was able to find out how much it would cost anyway. Are you sitting down? 80,000rp. a little over 8 dollars. No big deal except no part. So I'm hoping the rental guy doesn't try to ream me out of $100 US. At least I'm armed with the information.
In the meantime I decided to run up Tegallalang, that endlessly long road lined with endless wholesale shops. I stopped in to see "our" wood carver and bought a few little things. He gave you a gift, by the way. I recognized many of the same stores we'd gone to. It was weird. this is one area of Bali that's not really doing so bad. The wholesale business is still thriving. Or so I'm told.
I was going to go up the road and find that Buddha store, but finally realized that it's way the hell up the mountain side and gave up.
After the Yamaha dealer I ended up taking a wrong turn and going all the way to Mas! Jeezus. It really all looks the same when you're speeding by. I suppose eventually I'd get used to scooter driving, but I'm still too tense to enjoy it much. But I'm going to zip around a little more. There's a fancy spa on Hannoman, near the Kafe, called Bodyworks. They offer a 'sunburn treatment' with massage and I think I'm going to make an appointment. I'm a little tense and have a few nasty burns on my back, and the top of my head.
Last night I went to see a shadow puppet show--wayang kulit. It was fuckin' weird. Ocassionaly there'd be some english bit, and those parts were pretty funny. jokes about "transport? transport? how bout tomorrow?" I met this very nice English couple (sort of a couple I guess) and we had a nice chat before the show. She's from Edinburough (sp?) and is an unschooling mom!! Amazing.
I invited them back after the very weird show to skinny dip in the dark dark pool. They were very grateful. I was grateful to hear the mother tongue spoken by friendly folks. Travelling alone, I get tired of pidgin english.
Aside from the scooter crash, the worst thing today was seeing Made, our old driver. He'd come by when I was away and left his number and I called him. He came over to my room as I was getting ready to check out. He obviously recognized me but didn't really remember us. He said he didn't remember you guys. It was sad. I think he's had a hard year with his wife being ill. I think maybe a lot of Balinese women are getting fibroids or something. I'm not sure that's true. But if it is it might be from careless use of pesticides. Who knows. I gave him some gifts I'd brought, but since he clearly didn't remember us it was too weird.
It almost makes me think that all these Balinese folks who seem so very very friendly and interested, really aren't. But what I really believe is that they are--in the moment. Then the moment is gone. And a new 'friend' is there to be served. They really give of their hearts, but they don't hold on to much. And really, why should they?
I also think Made might not be so typical and I'll tell you why: did I already tell you about the frog chess piece? How the shopkeeper saved it and then gave instructions to the new shopgirl when she changed jobs? And how she still remembered my name (Mr. Rob)? She also remembered the girls. So I choose not to be cynical.
I'm pretty sure the scooter guy will remember me.
Well, it's my last day and I'd better go shopping.
When I get home I'll post some photos.