06.08.2008 - 12.08.2008 29 °C
One evening in Saigon:
From a distance I saw a cart rolling down the middle of the street – I thought it was the Ice Cream Man. It had a little light over the top and some things hanging from hooks on either side of the light, which I thought were wrappers of some kind or napkins, perhaps. As it got closer, I saw that the things hanging looked like 1/2-sized IV bags…it was the Dried-Squid Cart!
Tonguester, Larry, Gordon, Franz and Annoying Bastard…new friends. Tonguester is a dog we’ve “adopted” in Bali. She lives at the end of our street, and has her tongue hanging out of her mouth all the time. It may be an injury or a birth defect, whatever the cause, it’s really cute. She doesn’t seem to mind it, and when the time comes, she can pull it back into her mouth if she wants to. A couple days ago, I found out that her real name is “Fifi”…I still prefer Tonguester. Larry is the lizard we keep seeing as we walk from our hotel to the street that leads down to the beach. He’s really quick, and a man of few words. I’ve actually never heard him talk. Then there’s Gordon, the gecko on our wall outside our room – he’s been trying to sell us insurance for 2 months now – tenacious little guy. He joined me for yoga on the patio the other day, and he’s got a great upward facing dog posture! Franz is the fly who always tickles me at the beach by crawling on my legs, and last but not least is Annoying Bastard, the rooster. He’s been following us since we left the US. I hear that I shouldn’t be upset about it because roosters are good luck. Whoever told me that must not live next door to a rooster.
Cat oven: literally, paint oven. We have seen these signs all over Bali and were like “What the hell? Who bakes cats?” Everyone knows they’re best sautéed. These signs are seen at auto body shops.
We were on TV! In Bali, anyway…during the Sanur Village Festival (Aug 6 – 10) we were interviewed by a camera crew doing a piece on tourism in Bali. We were on the beach, just setting our kites up. They filmed a short interview with Mike and I, then filmed me pumping up my kite – always a flattering thing to be doing on film.
On Gili Meno:
Sitting on the porch of our hut I heard the tinkling sounds of an ice cream truck. I immediately looked around for the squid truck, but saw none. I did, however, see a guy on a bicycle with a cooler bungee-strapped to the back. It really WAS the ice cream man!
Skype is fantastic! Use you computer’s internet connection to make phone calls – especially internationally. It’s cheap and very easy to set up/use. Go here for more information:
Some books I’ve read while on the trip:
Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Quantum, A Guide for the Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (THIS IS A MUST READ)
And now on to:
The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani.
I would recommend all of them.
I’ve been meaning to write about all of this, and now that I’m sitting in front of the computer screen, I can’t think of the other 20 things. Figures.
Anyway, we’re getting ready to get on a plane to Thailand tomorrow evening (Aug 13th). I feel lucky to have been here during the Sanur Village Festival last week. There were so many people around and things going on. The people here are lovely. Even with the language barrier, we’ve made a lot of friends. Some people are easier to understand than others, but mostly it’s been a little difficult to have full conversations. Folks have really wanted to talk to us, and vice versa, but it’s hard to know if we were having the same conversation. Every day when we walk past our favorite watering hole, Picadilly’s, one of the bartenders will ask “Where are you going?!” In fact, I’d have to say that’s the most common question/statement I’ve heard here. In Balinese it’s a form of greeting to ask someone where they’re going, so a lot of times when we’re leaving the hotel, the front desk person will say “Where are you going?” instead of saying hello. (It was the same in Saigon, too.) Sometimes it catches me off daydreaming, and I realize I don’t have any idea where I’m going, and I have to stand there for a minute staring at the sky trying to think of a place I may be going that day.
Another thing that’s been eye-opening is people’s knowledge of politics here. When I say I’m American, several people have said “Oh, Obama!” I on the other hand have no idea who the politicians in Bali are…. Yes, Bali is smaller than the US, but people here - in general - seem to be more attentive to what’s happening in the world at large rather than just what’s happening at home.
I'm sad to say goodbye to Bali, but looking forward to meeting more new friends in Thailand.