March 22, 2001 Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Had a bad night last night. The constant boom, boom, boom, beat from a nearby disco drove me a bit crazy.
March 26, 2001
I hope I am learning something because it sure seems like this trip to Bali has been a waste so far. My first priority in coming here was to finish a small version of The Dance and get it cast into bronze. C had me convinced that Bali would be the place to do that because they do and sell so much art and crafts here including bronze statues. Well, it turns out that they do sell some bronzes here but they import them from other islands in Indonesia along with almost everything else they sell here. So the bronze foundry on Bali idea turns out to be a mirage. When C tells me that when I arrive on Bali I figure, OK, I'm here now so at least I can work on my maquette here, all I need is some modeling clay or sculptor's wax. Sounds simple enough, but it turns out that there are only two art supply stores on Bali and although they have a decent supply of painting supplies they don't have anything for doing sculpture. So it turns out that for me doing sculpture on Bali is another mirage. Bummer! Here I am on the "working" part of my trip and I can't work on my sculpture.
Bad Spirits on the Loose the night before Neypi Day
Then because of C I am here in Seminyak - Kuta which does nothing for me. There is a beach that is covered with plastic trash. When I try going for a swim in the surf there are so many plastic bags and wrappers floating around that I am constantly running into them, not very pleasant.
Last weekend was Nyepi Day,the Bali New Year Celebration, which shut the whole island down on Sunday. No one can go out onto the streets for 24 hours. You are not supposed to use electric lights or make noise. It is part of dealing with the evil spirits. It really does shut down the whole island. Even the International Airport is completely closed. We were virtual prisoners here in the hotel Sarinande. Not such a bad prison since it has swimming pool and courtyard and small restaurant, but we were confined never the less. In some ways it was sort of fun and last night a small group of us had a candlelight party drinking beer by the pool. I got out my guitar and played quiet songs ( so the noises of us having fun wouldn't reach out onto the street ).
Musicians Followed the Spirits Playing Strange Mesmerizing Music
Doing my art on Bali is out so it is decision time for me about where my trip goes from here. My second priority thing to do in Bali was to do some diving and get good video. On C's advice I stopped in Puket on the way here to try and find an underwater housing for my video camera. That was a bust and we should have known it after C had emailed the one big diver's supply store in Puket asking if they had a housing for my Sony PC100 camcorder and didn't even get a response. I am partly responsible for the wasted trip to Puket because I was being lazy and trying to let C figure out how to deal with these things here in Asia. That was the idea. He knew the territory, he was half Balinese and had spent a lot of time in Asia and Bali in particular. He would be "the guide".
Children Marched with Torches Lighting the Spirits' Way
The problem so far is that, other than arranging a cheap flight to Bali, everything that C has done for me on this Bali Adventure hasn't worked out. First the wasted trip to Puket looking for an underwater video housing. He was supposed to email me the phone number of a place to stay in Puket, but he didn't get around to sending it until it was too late. Then no bronze foundry or sculpture supplies on Bali ( the main reason I came to Bali). When I arrived here, C told me that we would have to go to an other Indonesian Island to find a foundry but he should have included that information when he emailed me about finding a house for us to stay in here in Semingyak. If I had know that there was no foundry I could have canceled my flight and gone directly to the foundry I know about in Thailand. Even the house thing hasn't worked out well. The first house was nice but had a fire station next door which made sleeping a problem for C who was in a bedroom upstairs. My bedroom downstairs was fine because of the walls of the courtyard kept the sound out for me. So we moved to a bungalow where the Boom, boom, boom of the Techno Beat ruined my sleeping. The place was pretty rundown and didn't have a nice feeling about it anyway. So we bagged the house idea and moved to the Sarinande Beach Inn which is OK but the towels have that sour smell, especially when they get wet.
Burning the Evil Spirits to Keep Them from Destroying the Peace and Harmony of Bali Life
So what do I do now?
I could do some diving with C here on Bali. That is something that he has done before and so he should be knowledgeable about that it could work out well. Maybe do hiking at one or more of the volcanoes here. Then head back to Thailand and go to the foundry there. The problem is that with all the stuff that has not worked out with this Bali Trip I'm not sure that it is working out having C as my "guide". The way it stands now I don't have a good feeling about it. I feel bad about that because we had some good times on Ko Phi Phi and I wanted it to work out. In retrospect I might have known better. I was asking C to do things that were outside his field of expertise. Easy to see in retrospect, but, then again, if there had been a good bronze foundry on Bali it would have worked out so who knows. I have to talk to C about it when he returns today from a nearby island where he went with some friends for Nyepi Day.
Later: Having lunch at the hotel. I would go out but it is cloudy and raining off and on. Also I'm hanging here waiting for C to show up. I've been talking to Gunter, a German living in Australia who is a trader here on business. We have gotten to know each other over the last six days. One more piece of information I heard from him is that the rain hurts the visibility for diving on the coral reefs. That was certainly true in Ko Phi Phi. It has been raining heavily every day here so that means that it is doubtful that the underwater visibility is going to be very good. Putting that together with everything else my decision about what I am going to do is becoming pretty clear.
Of course every story has at least two sides. I know I can be a difficult and demanding person, especially when pursuing a goal.
Unburned Evil Spirit by the Beach in Semingyak - Left Alive After Neypi Day to Posses People
The day after we had to stay in the hotel so the evil spirits would have time to go away I discovered they hadn't burned all the effigies like they are supposed to. Some of them were displayed along the beach road with "For Sale" signs. So much for the incorruptibility of the Balinese culture
.March 27, 2001 One week after I arrived I am back on the plane to Thailand.
With exposure to TV and Money the Spirit of Greed Can Corrupt any Culture
For greed they let some of the evil spirits live. And they were alive. Some of them had possessed my "friend" C. A bad news scene. Being Threatened when you are traveling alone in a foreign land is no fun.
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