Tuesday, February 23, 2010


On this street, Jalan Tamblingan--the tourist market street in Sanur--taxi cabs roam up and down all the day long. Hundreds of taxis. The same drivers roll by again and again, honking the horn at every bule (white person) they see. They get, I think, very few fares--just like the sunglasses sellers up in Ubud. How many pairs of sunglasses will a tourist need on an average vacation. Surely not fifty or sixty.

Ah, but these cab drivers are a persistent lot. Each one must have tendinitis in his thumb from honking the horn. Where you going? What you want Mister. What you need boss? I take you very cheap.

How long is this street of shops? Ten blocks maybe, maybe twelve? Are there really people who are so lazy that they must have a cab to travel 1/8th of a mile?

It could be. I suppose it could.

The other day while Sasha and I were on the beach we played a game which we called “Man Or Woman.” This game centers around watching the fat cats at the Bali Hyatt, the men with the pendulous breasts and sagging bellies, the women with tans so deeply creased that it looks like they spent their lives herding cattle out on the range. We decide what the true gender is. This one looks something like a bulging loaf of white bread stuffed into bikini bottoms. Man or woman? This other one is so brown and shapeless that the question arises as to whether it is a person at all or actually a duffel bag.

How about that one? Topless woman? How about that one? Pregnant woman or obese man?

Natives here are not very watchful when it comes to the time. I am for instance presently waiting for the café in which I am sitting to actually open and begin to serve. I was told--personally, face to face--that they open at 9 a.m. However, it is 9:15 and I am still here and they are still not serving.

One thing that consumes time, making other things late, is the preparation of food and the lighting of incense for the gods. The food, which looks not very appetizing, is set out on small, square paper plates, and a stick of incense is lit alongside. In the morning in Bali all the air smells of sweet perfume from these hundreds, these thousands of little blazes. It is pleasant--better than the smell of many other things here.

Ah! My coffee at last. Signing off.

No comments: