I had the pleasure over the last three days, during which time my girlfriend and her sister visited, of taking longer excursions around south Bali than I am accustomed to doing. The observant reader will have noticed that I've placed the word pleasure in italics. This is not to say that their company was not a pleasure. It was. It was the excursions themselves that were less than pleasurable.
The first was to the Kuta area, where we visited a mall, went to the beach, returned to the mall, and then walked through the driving storm of traffic and crowds and drunkards and blaring music to finally arrive at the monument to the 2002 Bali bombing, lit up in bright flashing lights just like the streetside bars. For some reason.
Of course, I've seen all this before--but the thing is, I was younger then, seemingly fifty years younger, yet somehow only ten at most. In short, these boots are no longer made for walking. They are made for sitting peacefully in a corner. My ability to walk has deteriorated greatly, and I did not realize just how greatly until called on to do much more of it than usual. At one point, as we stumbled (or rather as I stumbled) past a mini market, Eveline ushered me to a chair outside the door (by ushered, I mean that she acted as a human crutch to convey me to the table and lower me into the chair). At this point, a man in the bar next door, leering over his pint of beer, said "Look at the old man. Ha-ha, that's right honey, you take care of the poor old fella."
The poor fella would have loved to throw the man's beer in his face and then break the glass over his head, but that would have required the strength and energy to rise from his seat. Instead, he merely became silent and sullen, which did not hurt the man in the bar at all.
On the next day, we took a Grab Car to Bali Safari, out somewhere in the neighborhood of Kingdom Come. Now Bali Safari offers its own exhausting walking experience, and I found my skills unenhanced from the day before, although my right foot managed to display a superb talent for finding and tripping over the slightest cracks in the safari pavement.
I found this zoo--for it is essentially a zoo, and an incomparably inferior one at that--equally as depressing as any other zoo. The animals lay listlessly in the dust, bored by this miniature world where they had so unnaturally found themselves. Poor old fellas.
And that was that. A very short visit but a very active one. (I almost said exhausting again, but I don't want to be redundant). They have returned now to Java, and I have returned to writing, which, if nothing else, is less exh-, umm taxing than walking.