Thursday, April 2, 2020


I hear that a French national was found dead on the street in Kuta. Covid-19.

The maid tell me that a man suddenly dropped dead in a minimart near my old house in Renon. Coronavirus.

News travels here in the form of gossip, as we are for the most part stuck in our own abodes. Oh we can come out if we want, but there are not many places to go. Most are closed. We get our news online. We get our news through small talk with the neighbor. Outside, everyone is wearing a mask. It's difficult to talk through a mask. And they're not out there to talk anyway. They're out there on some necessary errand. Like getting groceries. Get what you need, and get back home.

Is Covid-19 stalkng the streets of Bali? Who knows? All we know is what is on YouTube. And how much chocolate one can eat in one day. And how often one can fall asleep. And how very tiring it can be to do nothing all day.

We can check the Line app to learn the statistics in Indonesia. 1790 confirmed positive. 170 dead.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ignorance and Bliss

Tempers seem to be flaring on the road out there. Pent up emotions from lockdown, I guess. It's ironic though, given that the traffic is so very light compared to the usual Bali gridlock. I turned out onto the road with plenty of time, really, but this guy was coming from behind so fast that he was soon bearing down on my ass and sounding his horn quite excessively. So I dutifully moved out of his way, albeit very excessively slowly. Do you think this made him angrier yet? Lol. 

Well, I guess people figure that if the coronavirus ain't gonna kill em, they'll find some other way to do it themselves. It was an odd occurrence, though, because traffic spats are actually very uncommon in Bali. Too hot maybe. Or maybe people in general are just too pleasant to bother with such foolishness. Really, one almost never hears about or sees road rage here.

Nor do they understand that an attitude such as that displayed by the motorist this morning would be likely enough to get him beaten at best and killed at worst on the roads of America. Ignorance can indeed be bliss.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Chance Meeting

Well here's an odd sort of coincidence. Or I don't know if it counts as coincidence, really … but on my brief trip to Starbucks this morning to pick up my latte (takeout only), I ran into my old buddy Hendra, whom I have not seen in perhaps a year. One would think this more likely to happen were there a lot of people in the mall, but in fact there were not. It was only me and Hendra. We chatted for a bit, tapped elbows in the new manner of greeting, and then headed back to our separate places of isolation. Other than this single trip, I am at home the rest of the day, chatting online, watching movies, reading, staring into space, napping, eating--y'all know the drill. Just this morning I have been watching a film biography of Jerry Lewis. It is interesting to see how highly valued he is by comedians such as Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Chevy Chase and so on, as well as film directors like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and others. I've always liked Lewis well enough (though I am aware that there are those who can't stand him), but this film documentary leaves me with the definite impression that I have generally underappreciated his multitudinous talents. Hey, now there's an idea for quarantine entertainment: Watch old Jerry Lewis movies!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Lock Down Bali Style

Seems that Bali is finally taking coronavirus seriously, even though there have been only 3 reported virus related deaths here, around 100 in all of Indonesia. Of course, the key word there may be 'reported'.

But western businesses in particular are closing down, or adjusting operating hours and conditions. Starbucks, for example, is now, and for the indefinite future, takeout only. I tried to get into the spirit of the thing this morning by ordering a delivery latte via Gojek, but it turns out that Gojek has also adjusted practices and is not serving any nearby Starbucks. Hardly any point in ordering it from faraway and having to pay that much more for delivery.

So I drove out myself to the Renon outlet (where I gathered this info in person), and brought my latte back home. This arrangement, as far as I can tell, will extend for the next month anyway on a see what happens then basis. Traffic is quite sparse, the mall quite deserted, except for the grocery store within.

All of the tourist attractions are, of course, closed till further notice. Western bars, clubs and restaurants closed. The major drawback of this short of shutdown in Bali is that the Mickey Mouse not-ready-for-prime-time internet services are pretty much worthless, unless one finds starting at the revolving circle of death entertaining.

In the meantime, for entertainment, despite the blistering and possibly as dangerous as coronavirus heat, I strolled over to the new building site, finding that the flooring is now complete and counters are being installed. The man on the site tells me that it will be one month more. I think one month at the very least. But it's okay. I'm in no hurry, and Louis, the owner, is stuck in Australia till God knows when.

Dead Bee

"Was you ever bit by a dead bee? You know, you got to be careful of dead bees if you're goin' around barefooted, 'cause if you step on them they can sting you just as bad as if they was alive, especially if they was kind of mad when they got killed."

So said Walter Brennan, playing Eddie in the 1944 Howard Hawks film loosely based on the Hemingway novel To Have and Have Not--a line not in the novel itself, but added by William Faulkner during his brief unhappy stint as a Hollywood screenwriter.

Never thought much about it, till last night, when I was stung by a dead bee. A wasp, actually. Worse than any old common bee. I had seen the thing earlier, lying there on the floor, but paid little attention to it. Something to be swept up in due time. But on the way to bed, barefoot, I stepped on the critter and Yup, I'll be damned if it didn't sting me (or bite me, as Walter put it). And damn did it hurt! Ever been bit by a wasp before? If not, don't bother. Not a happy experience at all.

There is a wasp hive just nearby in the parking bay, quite near my door, and I have noticed them buzzing around in considerable numbers for the last couple weeks, often enough floating through the open door. They are much smaller than western style wasps and they had not heretofore interfered with me. I do note that the dog was stung several times, but that's 'cause he was trying to eat them. A lot of lip smacking and tongue lapping when this happened, but he still didn't seem to mind all that much. For me, though, it felt like someone had stuck a steel pin right into the bottom of my foot. And the pain lasted perhaps 15 minutes.

Quite a lot has been written about that line. It may be the most interesting thing about the film, not to mention the novel. Although I'm not sure why. Was you ever bit by a dead bee? It is somehow a thoughtworthy question, metaphorically anyway. And now I know how it feels in fact as well!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Gummy Me

Had an enormous nail in my back tire this morning, likely inflicted somewhere between the pharmacy and my apartment. For a time, I couldn't find the problem. All I knew is that the bike was making a rather loud tok-tok-tok sound, like something was caught in the wheel. Stopped the bike, but couldn't find anything in either wheel.  So I tok-tok-toked down to the nearest bengkel, luckily not far away, and finally found the nail, that being the cause of the sound, after I pulled in there. Got it fixed for Rupiah 25.000. Not bad, I guess. About 2 dollars USD.

Getting some coffee now, and doing some more grocery shopping later. Yesterday I managed to come home from the shopping trip somehow with mostly cake and chocolate bars. Need to get some actual food. The trouble is, I still have no bottom teeth, so it's a bit difficult to find gum-able foods that will be nutritious. I can eat bananas, mashed potatoes, soups. Otherwise?

I also need to call the dentist today and set up an appointment so that we can continue with the implantation of some new teeth. The coronavirus, however, is shutting down so many businesses that I fear the dentist appointment may be problematic.

Having said the above, I just received a message from the dentist saying that the lab will be closed for indefinite period of time. For it looks like I will be gumming into the indefinite future. You know, Louis warned me that this was a bad time to have teeth pulled. Turns out she was right. As usual.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Impending Move

Soon I will be moving out of my little place into another little place--albeit not as soon as initially planned due to problems with the builders, the delay due to the Nyepi holiday, and now the delay due to the coronavirus measures.

When I came here to Kampung Kumpul last year at about this time, I didn't like it at first. I was used to living in a house, for one thing. And I was also very sick last year at this time (and remained so for months). Not surprising that one wouldn't like anything, including his living quarters. Having felt relatively well, however, since August or so, I've come to like the place and the people who live here (for the most part). I've settled in, as I always do anywhere, and I suppose I will settle in to the new place as well. Nonetheless, I was appreciating this secluded little neighborhood during the Nyepi day silence--the unpaved rocky road, the fields all along the verge, the little family of cows living in the field, the silence, not only on Nyepi but throughout the year, in this out of the way little cul-de-sac. The new neighborhood, once the dwellings are finished, will be much more densely populated. Moreover, my new place is not within an enclosed setting, as is Villa Kampung Kumpul. But on the other hand, it is a little bigger, it is brand new, and everything (one expects) will function properly. And it is less expensive (given that the owner is my dear ex-wife).