Monday, March 28, 2011


The mornings here in Biaung are pleasantly cool, a world of difference from Sanur. I wrap a sarong around my waist and sit at the table outside and feel perfectly comfortable--not cold, not hot, just perfect. As I begin to type, hundreds of the tiniest sort of ants emerge from beneath the keys and scurry in panic between all the letters of the alphabet. They had apparently imagined that the innards of my laptop might make a good, safe home. To some extent they are correct, for if I try to brush them away, I end up with gibberish, like this: rdtfygjklhfvsdcZ. There do seem to be more ants inside my laptop than people in China. Another community, as I noted while making coffee, had found the honey jar on the kitchen counter. Microscopic droplets must have been available just around the edge of the screw-on lid, and they were carrying these droplets away, in the thousands, in the millions, to God knows where. There are a lot of ants in Bali. In fact, there are a lot of critters of every sort in Bali. Mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, flies, bees, crickets, beetles both crawling and flying. There are lizards--the cicak, the tokek, the buaya. There are snakes, frogs, mice, rats, along with other nameless creatures. And there are dogs, both domestic and feral. Where we lived in Sanur, five dogs made permanent residence in our little housing complex, while scores of others came and went like visiting aunts and uncles and cousins. Here in Biaung, however, there are not many dogs, and most of the dogs that do live here have owners who lead them about on leashes--an arrangement which, I am sure, would be perfectly unacceptable to the free, unfettered lifestyle of the Sanur dogs. There is a cat, however, who appears to have set up home inside the roof of our house and had kittens there. When the mother is gone, out looking for food or new mates, the kittens can be heard meowing and roaming about behind the walls or above the ceiling. When they are old enough, I’m sure they will climb down as well and roam about the outdoors with their mother. I hope so, anyway.

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