Day 107 - We made it!

And we made it!
July 23rd, 2015

Ever been on one of those rides where the cart is on hydraulics, moving to and making you feel like you're in the movie? I pretend that the cab is one of those rides because I have just as much control in the outcome. For me, part of learning to relax is letting go when holding on changes nothing. I've come to terms with the idea that there's a chance of an unpredictable, violent death. It's part of the trade-off for quick transportation. The upside with flying is it will probably be instantaneous.

On a less morbid note, I'm amazed this guy's car has so few dings on it. He almost took off a side mirror or three on the ride to the hotel. Maybe that's just the way they drive over here because the lanes are clearly suggestions more than rules.

The more countries I go to, the more it seems like they all share certain sights in common. The odd semi-crumbling brick structure, grain Mills, garden centers, convenience stores, and advertisements. Yet these shared elements don't tie it together like some "one world" kind of way, but rather feel more akin to anachronism. The decorations of Bali at first blush feels like what I imagine Aztec or Inca art to be like, mixed with an Asian and Hindu flavor. The people that rolled their eyes at comparing Fremantle to New Orleans will probably facepalm to the center of the earth at that comparison, so let me hedge it by saying I'm not very well travelled, geography and history were my worst subjects, and I'm writing this in a sleep deprived delirium.

Art Gallery, complete with.. throne?
The flight made it up at 4am and had a little girl who would not stop screaming the entire way. Either she was laughing, or screaming, but rarely silent. 
You'd think she was falling out of the plane, if only there was a bit more terror.

Once again, I am reduced to being an energy vampire. Whenever traveling, I keep making the mistake of using technology as time sink, which makes me more dependent on battery life for.. Well, nearly everything.

As great as this trip appears on paper, I'm a constantly scared. And I mean this in a general sense. I'm scared I won't be able to learn mandarin, scared of what might happen here, of being robbed, of flying, of the ocean (the things in it, riptide, etc). I've had people argue that I shouldn't torture myself by putting myself through facing them. Questions have been asked as to why I would do these things to myself, and I can see where they're coming from when I realize that true compassion begins with the self before you can extend it to others. On the other hand, what am I going to do? Roll myself in bubble wrap and lock myself in the closet?

The reasons I've had this blog have changed. First it was a way of journaling, and keeping family in touch. It evolved as a sort of other form of fear facing. I hate having my ideas out there, and have always had this perpetual fear of being that idiot on the bus. You know who I'm talking about, the guy that's unleashing the torrent of utter bullshit, coupled with solid conviction. The other side to posting online is that I can see the evolution of my own ideas, and practice my writing skills while I do it. I hope that I will look back and shake my head at what an idiot I currently am. It's been happening for years, which is great because that means it's been a successful year. Occasionally I'll even relearn something I had forgotten.

Zee Dance
It might be surprising that I'm writing more while in Bali, especially since we haven't got the converters for the power sockets. It seems driving around takes a while here, so it affords me the time. What else will I do while the three of them speak mandarin, and the driver's English makes it a difficult?

After a (too) brief nap, we visited a temple (closed), art gallery, and this traditional dance. It was strange, but cool. A little boring at times, but ended with a great fire dance. Shimou and I had bought some drinks. I had spent 60,000 rupiah, breaking my 100,000 bill. Relax, 10,000 rupiah is 1 AUD. On the way out, a woman came trying to sell a traditional headband sort of thing. I was curious, so I asked the price. 100k. Nah, too much. As we walk away, Shimou said I shouldn't have asked because she'll continue to bother me. Then it hits me: oh yeah! I can barter!

Joy and Lee waiting for Dirty Duck
I turn back and the price has already halved. Thinking quickly, I don't pull out my wallet (too much money, too many people), grabbing the change I had from the drinks instead. Unfold, and slowly count to 4, then say I don't have 5. Sealed deal. Yessss...

While driving around Ubud, you'll notice heaps of dogs, most of which don't wear collars. The dogs kind of act like people, hanging out on porches, watching you from doorways, crossing the street in the same haphazard way people do. I laughed at one point when an uncollared dog crossed the street, and made it in time for the driver to let out a little beep. These beeps seem more to do with letting people know you're coming than annoyance. Works pretty well. Driving quickly around a sharp bank along a stone wall? Let out a little honk to let people know you're coming.

These things were all over
We stopped at a grocery store, which was blaring dramatic music out the front in a language I couldn't place. I assume it was Indonesian, the only word of which I know is "terima kasih", thank you. They sell beer, electronics, tons of candy, and clothes in this store the size of a large pharmacy. I grab an assortment of sweets I'd never had before, and a handful of beers (each only 1.50 AUD).
After getting the universal outlet converter, we meet back up with Nick, our driver for the day, who is driving us to get "dirty duck." I ask why it's called that, which he chalks up to a language difference - lost in translation. I assume it's like jerk chicken: they're not actually assholes.

Wow. I mean, holy crap, this place was nice. Very large, very long, with covered areas, and tables the size of large doors, triple as thick, and finely varnished. The four of us sat around the tables, telling jokes and enjoying the different duck dishes. My god, was it spicy. Joy didn't think so, but she's from a province in China known for their spice tolerance. We ordered one entree each, were still famished, and ordered another one each. We each got a drink, two of them were alcoholic, and 4 bottles of mineral water. How much did it come to? 1,270,000 rupiah - or 32 AUD each. I may be poor some places, but I learned the solution to feeling rich: go somewhere that stretches your dollar a lot further.

The Supermarket
Notice the Styles, and the Elephant God just in the Doorway
Nick was waiting out front, ready to ferry us back to the hotel. The plan was to take a dip in that front pool, as this is our only chance to do so. The other three spoke in mandarin the way home. Some of you might be wondering what it's like to have them constantly speak other languages. Well, if you accept that they might say bad things and not be bothered by it, it can be pretty nice. I don't have to be social if I don't want, since they'll entertain themselves, and I have a legitimate "out" of not understanding. If I want to talk, I can put in some effort. Plus the added bonus of being able to write while riding places, and subconsciously picking up the language. Hopefully.

Relaxing on the rooftop

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