Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Evening in Renon

The first interesting thing seen on my evening walk is the cows at the end of the street. I'm not a country boy. I'm a city boy. So cows are interesting. They will often stand at the edge of their field as I walk by, watching my progress with inscrutable gaze which almost, but not quite, approaches interest. There are calves in their company now, standing side-by-side with their mothers, munching on grass at the edge of the road, seeming a little quicker, in movement and in wit, than the parent. There is one cow among all these cows -- and I'm sure it's the same cow - who will sometimes venture to the other side of the road. Like the proverbial chicken, I suppose. Why? Well, because there's a big world out there. I once found her meandering along the next busy roadway, some five blocks distant from the field.

What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did  you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments?  

But anyway ... one meets people on the way, too. A man is washing his car, and he stops to ask where I'm going. We chat for a bit. It's a good street for exercise, he says. Good for your health. And it is. I think. 

Children flash by on bicycles. "Hey, Mister," they shout. "Hello!"

Well, hello!

And from behind one fence, older sister and younger brother peer shyly over the top. "Hi." And they giggle. And they call their mother. And the mother shakes her head and smiles. "Pak," she says, nodding. "Selamat sore. Mau ke mana?"

Two old men are painting a wooden part of something, and they stop, and smile, and have perhaps fewer teeth than I. Which I find reassuring. Who needs teeth anyway? Or what smile is as pleasant as the toothless one? 

"Mau kemana?" they say in chorus. 

On Jalan Badung, I pass lots of tiny warungs -- Ikan Bakar, Babi Guling, Nasi Gandul, Kelapa Segar, Gorengan -- empty, waiting, hoping.

At the South Korean Embassy, or whatever it is, the two guards who are always there, always standing in the very same spot, greet me in the very same way, and ask the very same question: "Jalan-jalan?" Walking? Yes. As always. "Nanti mau ngopi, ya." Yes, I will stop for coffee soon. They know this. We've discussed it. But it never gets old, because having coffee never gets old. 

At a certain point, where the shoulder of the road is narrow, I walk to a tune of horns -- not French Horns or tubas or bugles, but car horns, motorbike horns, warning, quite politely, that I'm about to be run over if I make a false move. I walk slowly at that point, because I'm given to making false moves. Or my feet are, at least. 

I pass the chicken place, with the 5 dollar chickens, and the "super" market, where I pop in to buy cigarettes, and come at last to Limamike's. Ngopi. 

There, the two girls wave to me from within the windowed structure and give the "Ok" sign. Double cappuccino. Of course, they know. 

And so I rest. And though walking, I've been resting all along. 

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