Off to Indonesia again for a month. First stop Bali, Legian.
I use Legian and the Kumala Hotel as my base in Bali so I end up staying there a number of times. So some of the events below are out of order but it makes for easier writing.
The Kumala Hotel in Legian is an easy place to stay. It is cheap with good rooms, friendly staff, nice pools and well maintained gardens. In addition, it is close to facilities that I know – good hot stone massages, Indo food, Italian food, shops for some shopping, banks and the beach.
A frequent drinking hole there for me is the Cocoon. It is a very cool place with cool music and a pool that changes colour. Another drinking hole is the beach.
On the last afternoon, I was in a daze and wandered down and ordered a beer and sat down close to the water’s edge. I past a few guys sitting on deck chairs who were all very friendly and said hello. Nothing wrong with that but it did seem a bit odd to me. I had a few beers and wondered why I hadn’t been bothered on the beach except by a few very smiley guys. I walked back to pay my bill and all the chairs behind me were filled with guys being very affectionate with each other. Whatever floats your boat but I realised then why there was a lot of smiling guys.
Most afternoons, I spent my time on the beach looking at the sunset. I love the way it is different every time. Sometimes like a burning flare and other times like the flutter of an eyelid.
I ate a lot at the Warung Melati in jalan 66 which serves muslim food. It was so good and so cheap. The plate gets full to the brim and costs just a few dollars. I like eating with my hand (right of course) and this place is a natural for it.
At one stage, I stayed at the Bali Bliss. It had great rooms but was in the middle of nowhere! Not my type of place.
I asked my friend Nyoman where I should go out one night. He suggested a drag show at Seminyak. It took awhile to find it but I still end up being two hours early. The friendly staff held my hands and tried to lead me in and said ‘come in papa, you can sit with us papa.’ Papa had other plans then and told them I’ll be back later. Fortunately, I didn’t make it back but I had a great time at Kuta at the VIP, Expresso bar, and Sky Garden. The VIP had great bands on a number of nights. The expresso bar looks sleazy and probably is but the band plays music hard with fun songs. The Sky Gardens is a series of bars on various levels with enticing fun dancing and short shows by fire twirlers and go-go dancers.
I noticed that the quality of goods for sale seems to be getting better with more variety. The massage parlours have increased dramatically. I was walking past one near the Jayakarta Hotel and heard the catch cry ‘massage’ with an addition of ‘headjob’. I’ve walked past these places for years and this is the first time I’ve been offered additional services with a pricing schedule. Sure, I’ve heard it elsewhere but this is the first time in this area.
I did some shopping. I use to enjoy the bargaining but these days I state a fair price and walk on if they don’t accept. This method seems to save a lot of time.
I usually find Legian a place to stay for a short time and move on. This time I was feeling more relaxed and was understanding the place/people more better. I felt a sense of partial empathy for the lives of the shopkeepers, sellers, hawkers, lady boys, beggars and business women more than I have ever felt before. Maybe, I was listening more. My friend Nyoman says ‘I have to be aware as I have to listen out for the bullshit’. This probably true but mix this knowledge with the fact that everyone is a human being and it all seems to fall into place with positive outcomes for everyone.
Sitting on the beach at sunset/sunsrise, the words of an old song sway around and filter through my mind’s eye…
‘Day comes with its golden eye and warms me as I stumble to your shoreAt last I stop I wonder why, so many things about you I enjoy’