One Saturday in early Jan …London… in and out of bed all day… slipping out of lecherous dream episodes, then back to reading Hemingway short stories. One of which was a particularly lugubrious but intense account of death on the war field. Moving from a false compendium of manifestations of death and the idea that humans die like animals in such conditions, twisting into a strong fragment of a story towards the end. One about moral-technical decisions. That didn’t wash the waft left from the first pages of “A Natural History of the Dead”, but strangely reinforced it with more meaning. It was the story I reread afterwards, “The Sea Change” that took me away from the dread. Turning to a memory of “Carol” (the film). Not the most impressive of his stories. But ok.
Sifted through the “Medium Cool” by Haskell Wexler. Recommended by Polina. “Nightcrawler” would be a spin of the former one. But in a different tone. Went through Jerika’s naiveties with little compassion (http://www.thepeoplemap.com). More out of curiosity. I met her on this next day:… Then a brief browse through the photos of the 1st-2nd Jan. What stands out are the rice paddies on the way out and the way back to the vila, some paintings and statues in the two galleries (ARMA and another one) and the Pura Tintha Empul garden of miracles.
All this to mount me back into writing mood.
Back to Bali:
A New Year’s Eve not unlike others. Loved some bits of it, was mildly wondrous about other bits, danced a lot and felt the joy of moving, small improvisations add-ons. Tasted the flexibility. Crowd browsing.
Out of gas:
Left the villa at full speed scootering fast back to the girls’ house. No helmet on braving the traffic and the night bugs. Squinting eyes into an asian version of myself. Exuding that night smell which I poured onto pores with bursting pleasure. That Afghan Noir smell. Felt like a million bucks rushing into the night. All packed on three motors then Creen and Eli ahead, and me back-skirting Rv’s + G’s bike, barely keeping off taking em over. They got left out of gas on the main street. So I dashed away and grabbed the first shopkeeper with a funnel and one bottle of ABSOLUT
In case you wondered what gas all madmen (and women) ride on in Bali. There’s strong evidence all around. It is one that makes you drunk with riding enthusiasm. And it must be of Russian import. Bottle-packed in hoards of Vodka bottles everywhere you go. One litre is 8-10k Rph (50-65 euro CENTS!). Of course there are proper gas station as well, but rare. The small shops scattered all around villages/towns pack these litre wonders that keep you going. Have another shot! 🙂 The guy woudn’t trust me to bring him back the funnel and the bottle probably, or maybe didn’t think I’d be able to ride with one hand .. I donno. Rode 1km back and forth with him. He was giggling and joking around when he saw the girls all fancy party dressed both headon typing into their phones un-consoled on the side of the road.
Got to the venue – a decently good place in Seminyak. Three dance floors, lots of young adults, a lot of 20ish , some 30ish, a few older. I quickly settled in front of the DJ facing the 5-6 early dancers that braved the scene, on the techno-house underground floor awaiting for the girls to warm up. G explained the ‘proper’ way to test the scene. Go to the bar, drink some, wait and see who’s who and where’s the buzz and then chose how you dive in. But I didn’t have the patience for bar politics and just wanted to feel good! We were all soon in a growing mass of dancers and dynamics, with spirits flirting more and more into the night. Went onto the outside dance floor for more hip-hop grooves and dance offs into a blasting heat for midnight hugs. Felt good to hold cuz on the turn of the year. Felt like we have been and will be going through this challenge of destinies in the modern world in a similar way. Probably all the talk of the previous days had built into that feeling. The night kept on going. Felt the growing pattern of widening tanned smiles flashing into dance and flirtations more and more into a “random” night as G put it later. While I couldn’t shake the image of another pattern: that of western boys clinging onto asian girls, or the other way around. As it seemed an easy way to have fun. I couldn’t veer into that modus vivendi, so in a way I remained just a spectator. But still attached to a warm dynamic of bodies. Felt a couple of very warm hugs in the end from RvElis when we – me and G – left. Their heat of the heart, their applicable bodies. Loved that. G had a different mix of funny experiences with them, and some additional conquers in the night. Saw her easily throwing a paste of joyous buzz onto strangers – girls and guys. She and I had seen this over and over – fascinating semi/drunk ladies, accompanied or not. While she innocuously shed words like paint onto the most exotic ones. And funny enough they’d react to her and share a very wide and broad smile or hug or so. It is the way she mingles.
She’s fascinated with how other people write and feels that she wouldn’t be versatile that way; only through her painting she could express the same. But I find she can be very fluid, no sophistication of words but rather of how she puts it, the whole language of body-lips-smiles emotions. She shouldn’t worry. As long as she loses stereotypes.
(Am at The Place now, staring at a girl in the lobby. Spotted her folded jeans just at the crux and kept looking slowly up. She was just in front of me, skimming through the phone. Her hair must be curly, all tied up, a last pin to fix it now. Eyes a bit roundout of orbits, just slightly, while the long figure and straight nose gave a Greek composure. We’d just seen a dance piece where there was a long sequence of drum’n’base, the two dancers jumping rhythmically increasing in frenzy, like in a club. Going overboard even. How can you act out of regular patterns, when I couldn’t really see any variation at all to the original music bas?! Had a similar feel on the dance floor in Seminyak. Only there I’d had some seminal grind to entwine my movingself onto.)
Beach after midnight:
4 hours into the new year and a few drinks more, albeit sweated out in the ring, felt the need for a bit of fresh perspective, to break the party race. So I motored down to the beach some 2-3 km away. Just mildly wobbly but aware enough to keep a steady hand. Drove into the night. The Ocean! Some lights on the sky rotating in quick patterns from beach clubs. Walked the dark-light patches rimmed by the incoming wide spread waves. A good ocean rhythmic swell each time widening out on a 50 m stretch onto the sand to a thinner and thinner sheet of water that would vanish at my feet. Had time for clearing my mind a bit. So I watched the people and the chemistry of the sand parties a bit, roaming from one to another. Hundreds of scooters on the street and walkways. Almost as many as I would find two days later on the beach full of Sunday locals in Mertasari. At least here they kept off the sand. Most Balinese were offering taxi services with every eye contact. Most of the rest were drunk or very drunk. In places, bodies lying on the sand dressed up sleeping randomly into each other. I thought they were drunken party-goers. But they were Indonesians, half in between partying and waiting for the night ravers to need a ride home.
Open air clubs, every 100 m. Dancing erratically in the sand between DJ stands and empty bottles. Some broken – men, women or glass. Music of the current western patterns. Old+new-ies. A figure would catch the eye here and there. Like that guy, the skinny type of mid-later 30s looking a familiar lost-to-modernity but not entirely given-to-nature kind of hippie. Still preferably in control of some value to better off the common Indonesian, perfectly in comfort here in Bali in between two worlds.
He was shattered, but typically proffering a british/westerner expectation to be able to pick an asian girl even in this state. Didn’t really work for him at this stage though. Filmed him a bit. Just 2-3 metres away. I’d met him at breakfast on Batu Bolong when he stopped to speak to Creen a couple of days before. The girls knew him better. Half an hour later he was just as stunned on a taxi-bike holding an unstable position, his pelvis accidentally pushed forward too much into the driver’s back that the fellow carrying him out could barely find and edge to sit on. Blasted away by the traffic density. No one knew anything of anything.
Then I shifted to a 25-30 wavery white dressed Robin Wright look alike. She was curiously dancing, and that’s what got my attention, just next to me, with a bunch of hoboes. Thought she was american, (by visual association with RW), or maybe french? maybe I wanted her to be french. Spanish in the end.
Not beautiful at this stage, but thin and very interesting, dancing in disarray, wide steps and lurches, very free-form. She was obviously with a bunch of surfers. A sudden shift of posture to the sides at some point with one of them. A bit of intense talking. An older guy, either on the cusp or early forties. Sturdy fella, same height as me. Only rustier. Authentic surfer, a breaking the code kind of guy. Just the allure and ruggedness showed who he was. Didn’t seem to give a damn about the proper surfer-way to look. Were arguing. I wasn’t even sure he was her guy. Not enough intimacy. Also pretty drunk. And as he was getting out to the bikes he kept pushing her away. She resisted, stubbornly. Even pushed him back a few times while he was holding off force to a proper balance of gravity not to harm her. This unexpected living “dance” was the beauty of it. A night scene with traces of dirt on feet, clothes, faces. The tan pushing generously in warm contrasts at the edges of blonde hair (her) and pale grey dark face lines (his). Going at each other’s desire and loneliness, something driving them to collide. She caring for his safety, not letting go. Him for his measure of independence. Of self control. I came closer. Tried to catch some snaps. Or video. But it was dark. Crowded, bikes everywhere. She was frantically at him now. But he still pushed forward. Till she gave up. He jumped onto the scoot, unsteadily backing onto the road. I thought the surfboard rack to the side would crash into others. But it didn’t. Then gained his composure. A man at the helm type of surehanded-ness. She climbed on the back. On a you-go-I-go, you kill yourself-I join you kinda attitude. Stuck now in the mix of dozens of bikes. I manage to come right next to them unobserved. She looked broken. Her face in tears. Over nothing. This is a kind of life. It goes in waves. Loved the exhausted sadness, and the vibrating pulse in her throat, a sort of eagerness in the midst. Wanted to join them, see more of this passion. Walked along 10-20 m till they found a break in the flow and scootered out.
The prospect of Robin Wright. I came across this same face two days later at Ecstatic Dance. In that similar hippie leisure. A pattern rooting back to my 18s when I’d seen RW in Forest Gump. The films of the moment were this one and Reine Margot. I was fast falling then. And while Forest had a light of hope in it, Reine Margot was blasting blood into my nostrils and I could taste the red in the air, blushing into my nose, my tongue, chocking with love. Sunny days, full of her smell. Suffocating in want. That’s where it’s from.
Spent a little more on the sand after. Apart from the breaking waves all felt a little grotesque. A guy nearly strangling a white-yellow anaconda while tossing it from neck to neck, a woman shuddering with dread at the touch, the music, the ravers. I wanted to dance. A bit more. Focus on genuine. But the night was muddying it all. Save for the sea.
Rode back to the club.
“Are you sure?, r’you ok?” Yes. I’m fine. Can’t you see, I’m sobered up.
One hour later we took off. The girls had no intention to leave. Couldn’t find Creen.
“Haven’t had a random NYE like this in a looong while.” she was singing in my ear. Morning wind shivers.
Home at about 6:00 AM amusing on the sofa, G was whtsup-tease-tasing a macho. Then we stopped all, breathing thoughts about the night, the girls. How and what they were. What was all this about. Pointing some things out. We pretty much agreed, like painting a frame of the moment together. She chose the colours, I drew the lines. 30′ later Rv and Eli show up. One on her fours, the other with sexy dirty feet. Well, G was fumbling around with them, throwing words, some indirectly winking back to our discussion just minutes before. The way Rv kissed – she gave her a peck, the impression Eli’s feet gave etc.
Creen had to jump the 3m high gate later when she came. The price for morning flirts.