Finally arrived. On the beach in the obscure of the night la o margine de sat. Trepte de piatra batute de valuri întinse, șnururi lungi de întuneric răbufnite in puzderie uniforma de sunete ce se răspândesc larg outreaching for my shoes, my dusty european edges. O astept pe Raluca V sa vina sa ma ia on her balimotor. “Are you travelling light?” she messaged me while I was still in a cab stuck in traffik from the airport in the middle of the Kuta crossing to Canggu. Well, single backpacked. Thought i’d get out of the airport in 30′ max with my first attempt of using Uber. But net connection was poor and the wait for car confirm was too long. Wasted 1.5h there trying to hook into the system. Finally abt 220k Rp (versus probably 70-80k by Uber) negotiated ad hoc amd off we go, paid a tad extra to 300k to change destination and take me to the edge of the beach: RV: “Jalan pantai pererenan. At the beach. Will come grab you on a scoot.”
Aeroport just a touch tidier and bigger than the one in Havana. Reminded me of that. The most recent similar experience afresh in a new country.
Bali taxi driver, 30 year old, seemed a bit dodgy at first sight, but apart from the charge he had a funny way of begging for more, of not accepting my final price. He’d effectively never said “yes, 220 ok”, but in the end after a 5′-10′ haggle grabbed my arm and said let’s go, gen “ne-ntelegem noi”. On the exit hallway hd been consistently approached by douzens of drivers to most of whom I directly responded to with a few “no, thank you”, as the guidebook advised on polite interaction. But they’d hear my no to the guy in front and immediately another thought he’d have a better chance asking the same question, trying to guess my destination, etc.
So picked this guy up from close to the parking lot, way after the first, second and third wave of hallway solicitations above. He looked even younger than 30, wife (not working) and two kids. Showed me a picture. His name was… “the second blablabla” gen “Vasilescu cel mijlociu”. Cu blablabla vorbea el.
RV showed up on two bikes with a muscly ozzy guy, short shirtless but well built, the middleaged surfer type I’d later come to encounter a bit more often. She zoomed me straight to the house party. Chilled out zone, lots of ppl around my age more or less. Laptop DJ-ed, few drinks around, a 6sqm pool and warmed me up into te dance zone. Had a lot of forethoughts about the group. Knew of Crina, Raluca and G, and met Elena here. All but G were at the party. R was bubbly, v welcoming, nice!, G was to arrive the next day. C, E insa a bit slomotional. Catre sad… tired maybe? I’d find out later there were a few relationships folding out at the time, others about to come to happen. But selectively. C&E pulled out. I kept socialising but staying away of any involvement. Expanding into that was not unlikely. Guitars, random chats, surfers, silly jokes, some couples. Carefree life, with people who come and go through your life, this is how Bali can be, esp among non-natives. So anything went. It’s the first in a looong string of holiday starts where I really feel disconnected from my other life from the very beginning. I was gladly aware of this detachment.
Wasn’t sure who R was flirting with, felt a bit like there may be something between her and Aa. But it was either at the very beginning or at the very end. Couldn’t explain her joy otherwise, either to see me, or to know herself on the verge of frail discovery. A splash of open-shy personality, a lot more expanssive here than I remembered her from Uk. Somehow I’d always kept a silent flirtatious memory of her, ever since I met her first. For the mix of child and woman, fresh. So meeting again here in the remote shiva eye of the world was enriching. Asked her the next day what was up with Aa. Turns out to be the former scenario.
Rolling out of this context the two of us a bit tipsy on the bike back home. A background of night sounds over the fence across the street, some night animals/birds. As if of pigulls – a cross of pigs and seagulls. That was the colour of that sound. Couldn’t really make out the species. She didn’t know what it was either. Then accelerating into the rest of the night, with thick layers of crickets and seccadas scooping streams of audible air in and around us. A sudden rain quickly starts and soon turns into a pour-out. Almost no lights, but maybe from across the houses. RV asks me if there was any daylight when I landed and if I’d seen any of it all. Nada! You’ll be really impressed by it tomorrow, can’t wait to see your reaction, she said when I pointed to the quick sheets of dark tender surfaces of rice fields, hill shelving into the night. Then the whole tropical rain filled my thoughts with en-warm-ity. Flooded, soul wise. Adventurous joy, R was dashing through soaked wet. I was pulling away her shirt from her belly, in a sort of defence instinct with reminsces of London rain and it’s coldcatchy effects when riding in similar conditions. But also feeling her night inner velocity and her guts, a touch of crazy naughtiness I’d notice only after a good dinner out semi-trying to put fwd her best – the next night when I joined Aa and watched her front aggressing traffic. Now there was just a more loose version of the same young and sincere terribilism. All full of joy. (otherwise she drives with a continuously changing flux of in-out nervosity and dare, scare and courage again. Her state of mind seems very explicit when on a bike,
compared to Crina let’s say who is just a steady driving energy, unwavering, a lean but lethal traffic cut in and onto the street flow).
But come to think of it, there were mixed motives.
You know that feeling of not knowing where ethics stay in the use of your hands when first time on the backseat of a bike. When there’s just friendship and you donno what else. Plus she did really make me feel very welcomed, smoothing things a lot.
so this mix of gratitude and kind familiarity. Freeriding into the night. Waiting for the next unknown to pronounce itself, reveal some sort of nuance at least one which would allow me to unwrap the story further into this new world.
Our stay: A tall modern vila, simple and neatly arranged. Tall ceilings, the similar 6sqm pool you get at this type if villas, alush with palms and reed rugs to protect from rain.
Parked up in RV’s at around 1:30 AM. She quickly showered the rain off and dastardly back to her new prospect.
Got Sorin on a Xmas phone call and then tried to wash back to proper standards.
RV returned way too soon, like about just 1h later. I’d thought she wdn’t return. I wdn’t have in her place. She fell asleep dressed up stretched on the bed waiting for me to finish washing my hair. Warned her she’d be in for a long wait. Like a log! No move for hours. Slipped out on the porch and waved my hair to dry in the air, danced a bit, brisk shines on the wooden and cream slabs of silence. Tried to listen to the globular layers of quiet openness out there. Some house tops eeking brown curvy woody edges into the shades. Thought I heard some roosters at some point very far away. But some night chirps as well. An occasional dystonic gekko. Or the finches perched on the line behind the corners.
R did some funny digging into the sheets when I went to bed, briefly stirred o to senses, for the donno what, aircon remote (?) as if reaching for an inner pocket behind her back. But after a few seconds struggle she froze back to another few hours when I accidentally woke to find her unmoved.
Transgresiuni oniric erotice se imbulzeau pe la colturile noptii. The night ride, the smell and sensuality of barely seen mostly felt smelt and tasted new “this-balisland” reality were pushing the boundaries between subconscious and manifestation. Kept everything at bay and let it all diffuse back into alter realities, slept on it. I needed to appropriate all these energies and make them work to a more reach experience the following days.
Late nearly midday rush to b’fast with Crina next day. Full on at a hipster locally run bar fashioned for the western abundant flow of culturally more or less versatile travelers. Met all girls plus Aa. Then got to know Crina’s ride mastering the road to a club type of beach place – Potato Head – an expat type of place with pool and services catered for the more up tide type of bali-spender. Loved the music vibe, a DJ chillouting the laid back crowd. I got onto the beach as well, but was asked mot to bathe, probably to keep the pool clean of impurities should I return to the exclusive area.
Our girls lined out in beauty lines. I noticed E was reading “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”
and I logged into John Campbell myself. surprised to stumble onto the myth ideas and its functions into the hands of someone I could tell not much about. She was the one that had kept silent most of the time till then. So I tried to find out more. And felt my enthusiasm rushing into my voice as I recounted some basic elements that drove me around since well… high school?, or before that. Leaving a constant trace of scope in my drives in life. One of the main reasons why I chose Bali: my notes on Andrei Serban’s life from A Biography
where Bali was an important pinpoint on the map of esoteric spiritual dance. And theatre.
And now reading about John Campbell’s work on this patch of grass sheltered from the spirits felt I needed to open up again. “You gotta go to Ubud!” she said then.
Later on that night I finished the wiki article on JC, and jumping from George Lucas to his application of transformative myth stumbled onto American Graffiti. In my face, need to see what was all about. Part of that “Easy Rider” films you MUST see to understand what was going on and pretty much how you ended up going on about a good part of your life. Being as a consequence of or a rode after the absolute ride of those years. Well, turned out this was just early 60s in the rock and roll America. Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford a d others at a very young age. Watched it, read then about it a bit more, tried to understand that type of mythology now inbuilt in the grains of our later pop myth makers, the seeders pf Star Wars, the forefounding times of Steve Jobs and the gurus that were to shape our present. Seemed all that cruising and r&r time was of a precocious superficial teenagehood that to me lacked the dramatism I’d seen in Rebel Without a Cause
That had been to me a much more interesting anguish of the age well placed into the context of time. This other one was interesting but less engaging. Even frustrating at times with the smothering of options done in a cuddly familial way in the end by a couple in the film. But good to have seen what legacy and what myth is to USA.