Saturday, August 7, 2010

Apa Yang Lain ....

What else?

I can say without qualification that I DO NOT miss rain. Rain type rain, I mean. It does of course rain here in Bali, occasionally, but this rain is warm and brief. It is a happy sort of rain that makes you laugh--like taking a quick shower with your clothes on, a la The Three Stooges, and then drying off within minutes when the sun returns. The rain in Oregon, on the other hand, is cold and constant and gray and depressing, and it drove us indoors for days at a time.

Living in Bali is a bit like camping. One spends the lion's share of his time outdoors. One cooks outdoors, eats outdoors, reads and writes outdoors, relaxes outdoors.

There is a flavor of the rustic in so many of our daily pursuits. One does not take water from the faucet for instance (unless one wants to contract some sort of bacterial illness). Rather, one gets his water from a five gallon jug, and when the jug is empty he refills it at the water warung down the street.

Laundry is hung from lines on the back patio after being washed and rinsed with soap and water on a board. We are cavemen here--cavemen from the 1950s--reliving the childhood of postwar America.

We buy gas in bottles, and the amazing thing is not so much that we buy it that way, but that they sell it so. The whole structure of the place is ready to explode and collapse, but it never does. Day by day people walk to the store or the market and carry home their purchases on the tops of their heads. At the market you buy not only your fresh chicken but your flies as well, and bring both home to be divided and properly dealt with before cooking.

We do not have ovens in Bali. Or at least most of us don't. We have bunson burners, hot plates, with propane tanks. We do not roast or bake, we fry or steam. Two or three ovens fired up at one and the same time might well cause a complete collapse of the power grid here (such as it is).

We have no cakes, no pies, except those that are bought in the grocery store (having been shipped from the bakery).

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