DC with Katrinka in Asia from October 2014
Saunters 1 - from late 2013 through September 2014
Keep up with us in Asia by friending Katrinka on FaceBook. She take photos - Tell her cuke sent you.
See dc-misc-4 for other recent posts
Arrived in Singapore December 5th, Bali the 11th. Since then Kuala Lumpur on March 12th, Thailand the 15th, Japan April 2nd. Thailand till July 2nd then back to Bali where we can better afford to live. Details below.
12-19-14 - Fight for New Indonesia- thanks Brian Victoria
12-17-14 - It's Galungan in Bali, a holiday of the victory of dharma over adharma or not-dharma. I hear it as the victory of good over evil. Things are quiet. Stores are closed. Katrinka sent Ketut home to be with his family which he was eager to do, said to skip cleaning etc here today. For more on Galungan go to this page on Wikipedia.
Click on the thumbnail to see the penjor lining a road - and notice that it' a well-maintained road.
12-16-14 - Creating edible yards
Permablitz Bali: Making Circles of Seeds and Friends - article in The Indonesian Expat
Permablitz Bali - on Facebook -
and a really nice YouTube video on Permablitz Bali - with a few of our friends in there. Good people - orang baik.
12-15-14 - Went to a birthday party for a Javanese friend today and after we sang my least favorite song, Happy Birthday to You, learned the beginning of what they sing in Indonesian. Could only remember the first line when I repeated it to Nyoman driver who sang it for me then stopped and said he forgot the rest. Here's a YouTube video of a rather elaborate group karaoke presentation of two Indonesian birthday songs (I found a third elsewhere). The first is the one they sang today - Selamat Ulang tahun - congratulations repeat year - that's the most common happy birthday greeting, the only one I've heard except in those two other songs.
12-14-14 - Coconut syrup is heavenly like maple syrup. Me must be strong.
12-13-14 - Was making my usual morning black tea with local fresh ginger and vanilla when I noticed that I'd picked up and started grating something that looked like ginger but wasn't. It was harder. I realized it was nutmeg. Put it back and got the ginger. That little bit of nutmeg added another subtle and pleasant flavor that I've been including since then.
That's vanilla in the photo. We get it without the flower and slice it finely at an angle to open it up to release the flavor.
On medical treatment here in Bali - a warning post on Lonely Planet from four years ago and our experience so far.
Have not gone to see the famous local medicine man in the photo. -dc
12-11-14 - Mailed our War on Xmas presents today to US Xpress with the postage being roughly twice the cost of the presents. Funky little post office with crappy art on walls for sale, map of the world, travel niche in front unmanned with broachers on the floor. A young woman helped me wrap everything or rather I helped her while a guy behind her watched TV the whole time laughing occasionally. Had to date the customs forms 11-12-14 rather than the US and don't know who else method of month-day-year. Ah - what a relief. Katrinka asked me what I'd like for Xmas and I responded as I always would have had I thought of it, "For it to be over." --- Just kidding darling.
12-10-14 - Got a couple of mango juices (manga) for Katrinka and me today to go with the bakso (meat and flour ball soup) at a stall by the beach. That was our lunch. About two dollars each. Didn't have to pay the juice lady because a month ago I'd given her a fifty thousand Rupia bill (about $4) - enough to cover a few drinks. She didn't have change so I said I'd take it in future drinks. Didn't worry about her forgetting. I assumed she doesn't read or write much - though I don't run into people who can't. But I assumed that. A Muslim woman I know who teaches school said that Indonesians in general only read and write for school or if they have to for work. Back in the fall of '66 when I was new to the ZC, been around a couple of months, Silas Hoadley came to visit my little basement apartment around the corner from Sokoji. I remember he was shocked when in the middle of our conversation someone came to the door and I sold them some LSD from my fridge. But what I remember from his visit that relates to this post came from something he said about memory. He was telling me that early Buddhism was an oral tradition and that the teachings were recited at great length and passed down that way. He said that people from pre literate cultures have better memories. So when I left the fifty with that juice lady a month ago, I thought of Silas and was pretty sure she wouldn't forget.
12-09-14 - Got acupuncture and some Chinese Herbs today from an Aussie tennis partner practitioner of Chinese medicine. In addition he grilled me for half an hour on my condition which is like some sort of low level bug tiredness and sporadic coughing for a couple of months. His conclusion from our talk and his observation of me on the tennis court is that I have no structural problem, just functional, no dangerous condition or disease, just a temporarily weakened immune system and a body that's fighting something that uses up a lot of energy. Said I'm basically healthy and will slowly get over it which is what seems to have been happening anyway. But I hope the acupuncture and herbs give a boost as he predicts. Oh yes - He approved of the meditation, yoga, and diet but was concerned when I'd told him I still work for many hours every day, what seems to Katrinka like all the time. Told him I vary postures but at least half is sitting cross-legged. I know the warnings of "the chair kills." He told me to get up from sitting every fifteen minutes or so and stretch and walk around. I think I'll use my phone as a timer to help out with that.
On a boat ride I saw a really huge lizard crawl from under a house and slide into a canal in Bangkok and I was shocked at how big it was. I didn't know such an animal existed. As soon as we got back to the hotel I found online it was a monitor lizard and that they are all over Southeast Asia and Indonesia and that they get really large - like up to ten feet long. And they're related to the Komodo Dragon but unlike the Komodo Dragon they're not dangerous. I found a video on Youtube of a guy who had one as a pet, filmed it swimming in his pool and sitting in his lap. Kim from yesterday's cobra stories and I talked about monitor lizards. Oh yes she gets them in her yard. They sort of intimidate her but she knows they aren't supposed to be dangerous. Once long ago when she was pretty new to Bali she said she was stopped at a police checkpoint and was talking to the policeman when a huge monitor lizard came out from behind a bush behind him. She tried to tell him to look behind him but was stammering or something and he didn't understand at first and when he finally did look back the lizard had just gone back behind the bush and he just thought she was crazy. Wikipedia on monitor lizard
That photo from this page.
12-07-14 - At Warung Annapurna (restaurant) ("pay as you feel") last night showed nurse practitioner Kim my red bump described yesterday and she agreed yes maybe a spider. We got to talking about things that bite etc. Well, she has a house further inland with a yard and more fields around and her main concern is cobras in the garden, on the porch, where the car gets parked, and, yes, in the house. Once she got out of the car and found herself trapped by a small cobra. She tried to push it away with some folded newspaper and it didn't like that and just came right back. She was frozen not knowing what to do when her son Kris came out of the house, saw her predicament, and told her to be still which she said there was no problem obeying since she was too afraid to move. He told her to jump over a hedge that she didn't think she could clear but she did. Snake disappeared. Kris built a bamboo trellis up to her bedroom balcony for the bougainvillea. She told him to take it down right away. To her it was a ladder for cobras, especially when it's wet as they like to find dry places - like her balcony and bedroom. She took two little dachshunds in and how they liked to hunt critters in her yard. After a few close calls with cobras that came to no harm, they both got hold of one at each end and pulled it in two. She grabbed the dog that had the head in its mouth, called the other as an afterthought, and drove to a vet. The one that had been bitten in the mouth received immediate treatment while the other ran around the office chasing cats and being mischievous and then started frothing at the mouth. They got it up on the vets table, it looked at her, took a short breath, and died. It had obviously been bitten too. The other dog lived.
12-06-14 - Something bit me on the inside of the left elbow. Got an inch and a half long red bump. Spider I guess. That's what I'd think in the US when some unexplained and larger than usual reddish sometimes itchy bump appeared like in John Tarrants' barn where we lived for nine years - thanks John! Also, Tassajara I bet has more spiders and as many scorpions and Japan surely has more centipedes. We don't have black widows here and I used to find them everywhere I've lived in the US. Flys don't bother me but mosquitoes - I tell them - stay away or risk capital punishment. Katrinka saw a sea snake snorkling the other day - one of the most poisonous animals there is. Didn't scare her. It's almost impossible for them to bite you with their little tiny mouths.
12-05-14 - Walking down a dark street toward the beach the other night as it's not much longer to go that way home, ritzy area with high walls on both sides. Katrinka almost tripped on something. Oh - a black snake about two and a half feet long. It was dead. Maybe a car ran over it. Later she looked it up, said it was a non poisonous garden snake. Remember? "If it was a snake it would have bit you!" Well it was a snake and it didn't bite her. So there.
12-04-14 - It's been a year in Asia now. Hmm. Wonder how much longer we'll be here. Don't really feel like going anywhere - even around here.
12-03-14 - From what I gather reading emails from SF Bay area, they and Sanur have similar weather now - cool and rainy though what's considered cool here and there aren't the same.
12-02-14 - We both took some worm medicine - two big pills - didn't notice anything - cause nurse practitioner Kim said it's good to do now and then in the tropics and she said worms could be at the bottom of my lingering malaise (which isn't stopping me from working or doing yoga or playing tennis but is sort of like feeling like I just woke up and am not getting out so much except got to now cause Internet is down around here and want to upload so you can read this.
12-01-14 - There's a restaurant we eat at once a month or so at the beach that hangs Coleman Lanterns on poles stuck in the sand as it's getting dark, the same type that we put out at Tassajara with the same faint odor of kerosene smoke reminding me of why I've lobbied for dim, downward shining electric lights to replace them at Tassajara.
11-29-14 - An English language usage common here in Bali and elsewhere in Asia, not everywhere, is the word mister used before the first or given name and miss in a woman's case - less. So now and then I'm Mr. David. This isn't something to correct people on. It's widespread accepted usage including with people who grow up with English as in India. I heard it a little from Southerners further east than Fort Worth and from older black people when I was a kid. Here's a discussion saying it's still done in the South of the US.
11-28-14 - Back on 1-16-14 in Saunters 1 I wrote that back in 1992 no one would call one year old Clay Clay. They tended to say clack or clang. I had always said it must be because they had a word for "fight" that sounded like that. But I wrote then that I couldn't find such a word and maybe I remembered wrong. But now I've found it. Kelahi means to fight, quarrel. And that sounds a lot like "Clay." Just wanted to clear this important point up.
11-27-14 - Thanks! And happy Thanksgiving. Regardless of any controversy over the origins of this day's celebration, it ranks at the top of the cuke pantheon of holidays. The turkeys are thankful that they're hard to eat here in Bali today due to Bird Flu scare I guess. We hear they're not letting them be imported at present - the type that are ready to put in the oven. We heard of some available for about 150 bucks. No thanks.
11-26-14 - Talking to a friendly Muslim woman with hijab at the beach yesterday watching the Sunrise. She was here for a three day conference on computer information something. She on the faculty of what she called the top technical school in Indonesia. At some point I mentioned that I had not been a supporter of US military policies but had concentrated more on anti-nuclear weapons activity. "Cinta damai," she said - Love, peace.
11-25-14 - Speaking of birds, there are wonderful birds here in Bali, especially the ones who sing in the morning, giving a pleasant treble to the background roosters' crowing. I've been a bit coughy and coldy and sleeping irregularly. Woke at three and by four ended corpsus meditation to sit on the porch and listen to the early birds and course in the wisdom gone beyond. Then walked to the beach before dawn and they serenaded me from the tree tops. I don't see a lot of pretty birds like some places - Perth was amazing with lovely colorful parrots I guess and those dominant ravens and back swans. But the singing of these guys is sweet and sufficient.
11-22-14 - Sneezing and coughing, reading and writing. Been a little like this for over a month. Katrinka finally made me take some cough medicine and antibiotics which she got without prescription. I said it won't help but I know a doctor in the US would say good to knock out opportunistic bacteria. Upload and nap.
11-21-14 - There's supposed to be some rain tomorrow morning and chances every day for over a week. Hope so. The island needs it. I think it rains less here in the most densely populated south. If so I bet that would be due to all the cement and asphalt creating a sort of heat shield that the clouds with rain tend to go around. I remember hearing that had happened to the Fort Worth Dallas area where I come from. I love rain, love sitting on the porch reading and working while it comes down around me. Hope it doesn't tease and depart.
11-20-14 - Earth Dance - Bali as seen through the lives of four generations of Bali women. This book made me realize how little I see and know about what goes on around here. I had seen Bali Hindu caste system as Margaret Mead had as "caste light." Reminds me of asking driver friend Ketut if there were really four different levels of politeness in Balinese language. We speak Indonesian which doesn't have that, at least not what we speak. He said yes there are different levels for people with different caste staetus. I asked him if he used all those levels in his Balinese, "Tentu saja (of course)," he replied. He only speaks about Hinduism to me in terms of obligations ceremonial and financial. But they do hold together as a culture and a people. You don't hear people talking about wanting to get out, go to America, Australia, etc like elsewhere. I asked a Java friend if he was considered a bule (foreigner) like me. "Yes yes," he said laughing.
11-19-14 - Had some Jackfruit in KL that was sumptuous. Wai Leng said you've got to get it at just the right stage. Want to look for it here. But an interesting note for those afar is that of all the fruit available here, when it comes to juice, we often opt for good old watermelon.
11-18-14 - Somewhere deep in crowded Denpasar, got Katrinka and me a humble 24" flat screen TV for her birthday in addition to other offerings. Also got an HDMI cable so we could connect our computers. My PC has an HDMI out, but naturally the superior Mac needs an expensive adaptor. Nyoman drove on us past so many more big buildings, shops, signs, on streets small and large, past the shiny new mixed with the old, past statues and rubble to park in a lot on a busy street opposite a Mac store. I'd been there before to get that creature out of her Macbook Pro (stuck DVD disc). Katrinka looked at the two way flood of vehicles and decided to wait with Nyoman for me to cross the busy undivided street. On returning with the expensive adaptor which she said was a third of what it would have cost in the US, remarked on how cooperative the drivers of the cars, trucks, busses, and many motorbikes were. I was an accepted part of that mess. No one was honking or angry, they slowed to let me dash past. Thanks people.
11-17-14 - Happy birthday Katrinka McKay, my love! - DC - More here
If the dioxins don't get you then the microbes will. Chatting with Dr. Gene today at the beach about this and that, naturally hit on trash and pollution in the water which he said must be the principal cause of all the cancer and genealogical and other medical problems they have here. I mentioned how I've had a low level bug, virus, cough for over a month. He said, "Well Bali is paradise, paradise for microbes.
11-16-14 - Just came back with Katrinka from an evening at the Community Learning Center. Went a long way past lots of metro south Bali with Ben from Anapurna who catered and his Belgian mate Doani who's spent a lot of her life here. Reuben Rosenberg from Italy who has also been here a long time debated the Center's founder on whether religion was harmful or helpful. Reuben took the former and French/Balinese David took the helpful, It was a science vs religion spirit argument between friends. We'd not have gone if it were in San Rafael but this sort of thing is a rarity here, it's neat to get out and meet people, and we had a good thought-provoking time and loved the food.
11-15-14 - Sari Hati School for children and adults with mental disabilities fundraiser in Ubud on November 28th. Sari is essence and hati is heart. If you're in Indonesia, drop by. Click on image to read poster.
11-14-14 - Thirty years ago when Aussie Kim was newly married to her Bali husband, the women in her house had her fold her sarong in the wrong direction so that other women at the temple would laugh and point at her. Outsider. They can be equally hard on a woman who has married out of caste either up or down. Kim says they won't let anyone starve but don't like them to get too high either.
11-13-14 - Ibu Kat is the pen name of a woman who writes a weekly column in the Bali Advertiser. Here's last year's article on water. Ibu means mother and is used for any woman and Katrinka also uses Kat here.
Bali Governor Orders Water Utility (PDAM) to Remedy Severe Water Shortage in South Bali
Baliís governor Made Mangku Pastika has called on the management of the Public Water Board (PDAM) in Denpasar and the Badung Regency to quickly overcome a severe shortage of piped drinking water in South Bali.
As reported by the State News Agency Antara, Pastika blamed the water crisis on the lack of water supply from PDAM.
The Governor called on PDAM to quickly complete the installation of piping connecting Denpasar and Badung regency with the water supply at Petanu in Gianyar.
Three water pumps at Petanu are intended to deliver water to Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar.
Each of the three pumps has the potential to provide a water source of 100 liters per second. At the present time, however, only 90-100 liters per second is being channeled through the Petanu facility.
Pastika told the press that the Central Government and the Province of Bali contributed Rp. 70 billion (US$6.1 million) and Rp. 125 billion (US$10.9 million), respectively, to establish the Petanu pumping facility.
Due to a protracted and drier-than-normal dry season, South Bali is suffering a severe shortage of water. In some parts of South Bali local residents are compelled to purchase fresh water from roving trucks to meet their daily household water needs.
Water supplies to hotels in South Bali, howver, remain largely unaffected and no water rationing programs are in operation at this time.
Tourism industry responsible for water crisis in Bali: Expert (That's no secret - DC)
11-11-14 - Before Katrinka got hooked up with Aussie Kim nurse practitioner, local Bali doctor told her they don't normally prescribe blood pressure medicine for people over sixty, but since she's a foreigner he'll make an exception. She just wanted more of the same mild dose she's been taking for years. Not the first time we've heard about people of such age being thought of us as too old to worry about. An old man going blind got his eyes fixed by a European eye doc with a team doing a lot of quick operations on people here. The old man's son wasn't doing anything about it, thought that's what happens to old people.
11-10-14 - The Farmer's Yard Permaculture Hostel in Canggu, Bali (YouTube Video)- An excellent homemade video of some really good stuff happening in Bali got from bud Kris's Facebook page - he's involved. At the end his brother Ben gives a quick plug for our favorite and nearby restaurant, Anapurna. They are both born and raised here by Bali father (excellent guitarist) and Aussie mom (Katrinka's nurse practitioner). We are fortunate to know these folks and their friends. DC
11-09-14 - Here's an article link which sent by Wai Leng in KL to Katrinka via Facebook by a Catholic priest about Japan's us and them mindset and how they're somewhat doomed to fall behind the world of growth and progress because their birth rate is negative and they are not open to immigration. My view on this is the opposite. We can't continue to have a world economy based on non stop growth - and survive or have any good quality of life. Unrestricted development in Bali is sure not pretty. Is it anywhere? Short term profit rules over long term goals. I say cheer the Japanese on and join them in zero population growth and let's figure out how to live on this earth in more of a steady state way or some way that is sustainable. Many knowledgeable observers think that's impossible and that we're doomed. Just look at almost everything said by any politician or economist or pundit on TV and it's growth good, no growth bad, more growth better. To me that's insane. I think we're basically a psycho planet, and that's the dangerous type of homicidal psycho. But I love us and I am grateful to have had this visit. - dc - also posted in Engaged Buddhism/Current Events
11-07-14 - Interview with Kartika Soekarno [Sukarno], daughter of the founder of the modern Indonesian state. Here's the site for the Kartika Soekarno Foundation, mainly involved with children's issues. She's also concerned with trash. Her foundation has sponsored the film or maybe just showings of the film, Trashed, narrated by Jeremy Irons who got quite involved in the issue. Here's the film's Facebook page. Here's the film's web page. One can find images of horrific Bali trash on beaches on the Internet and we've seen that happen when the currents bring it in from Java and Sumatra in January, but the photos above are more representative.
As Soekarno mentions in her interview, trash is a big deal in Indonesia but they're framing it as a global problem which they think will be more effective and which is true. It seems to me that locals here mostly don't see it. We live on a private street with nice homes with beautiful landscaping inside the walls and trash mixed with the scenery outside. Where we come from in the States, people would be just as concerned about the appearance beyond their property. I don't think that in Bali or Indonesia there's either good governance or education about trash, litter, pollution. The Sanur festival in the field across the way left a big mess over a wide area. They got the big stuff but left it much messier than it was before. If that happened where I come from we'd complain to the city, to the police, to local media, sue them, demonstrate, collect a bunch and dump it in their office. The way I deal with it here is to try my best to be like them, to accept it as part of the environment, not to bother them with my views - but I can only go so far - it can't be something I couldn't care less about.
11-06-14 - Love my morning tea which stretches into the afternoon, the first cups made with dashes of local ginger and vanilla. A large wasp hovers in front of the open door and I send it a message to please not enter as it might get stuck and I'll have to get up to help it out.
11-05-14 - Kids and babies do so many things the same though they're from very different cultures - especially notice the sounds - laughing, crying, complaining, urging, enjoying and think, 'That could be a kid anywhere.' And same with adults but less. Essentially we're all the same it seems. Mooji says that all beings have the same basic thought: I am. That's ancient wisdom and like the perennial core wisdom from the ancients to us, it's not derived from speculation, rumination, cogitation, or objective observation, but from alonely empirical inquiry deep into the root of being and non being. Also - can't be proven except by tapping that core. Can't prove that either. - dc
Only that which involves what isn't fundamentally real can be proven by the scientific method. - Kabumpkan
- also posted in dc misc 4
11-04-14 - Cheng Hoon Teng Buddhist temple in Melaka (Malacca). Amazing how many people walk around with smart phones talking, listening, taking pictures, doing selfies. Walking into this longest running Buddhist temple in Malaysia, not large, with some fine artwork and interesting design. was struck by how few people were actually looking at it directly. Most were looking at their phones. And the selfies with those extension poles are everywhere happening. On a boat ride a man with family kept lining up shots behind himself, sometimes sticking the phone on extender in front of us. Something new. We didn't complain. We played with his kid and he joined in.
11-03-14 - Katrinka memory from Kuala Lumpur outdoor market - At a poultry stall a woman chooses a live chicken that's taken to the back. Later passing by, the woman receives the chicken dressed and ready to cook.
DC mall moment of discovery - Buying new glasses, readers, as had right earpiece break on two pair, learn that the stronger they are, the closer one has to hold reading material. I'd thought that the ones I had were too weak. Nope, too strong. Man told me to stick with the 2.75s.
11-02-14 - On Progress East and West and Why and What - Jeff Broadbent comments quite intelligently on DC's speculations posted 10-30 on Saunters - but now am posting this response on Comments and linking from here, What's New and Engaged Buddhism and on Jeff's cuke page.
Back at what we think of as home and now next door to the two bedroom apartment we had to vacate for three months because sad, sweet drunken blind Phillip and his pregnant Bali wife Rini had dibs. Over the phone from London he begged landlady Widya to let Rini stay as the place she was going fell through but Widya held true. Good old Nyoman picked up Katrinka and me at friend Alice's where we spent the night after landing. He took us to get some essentials for the larder, helped us reload the new place with our stuff. We walked to the beach, rows of parked motorbikes, bought a loaf of excellent whole wheat and a mango tart at Luhtus, went to eat at Sand on sand. The sun had descended, Mount Agung floated in pint light above a cloud bank. The high tide water and shore were full of locals, more than most Sundays. Before my mix juice arrived I stripped to underwear, joined them. The water was slightly warm. The moon up top waxing gibbous. Later in shorts and shirt at the table, a high huge black kite danced beneath clouds illuminated by the hidden moon.
11-01-14 - Flew back to Denpasar today after a most interesting nine days in Malaysia. Our hosts there, as I've mentioned, are Malay Chinese, engaged Buddhists whom we met through Alan Senauke of the Berkeley Zen Center and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. I've mentioned the mix of people and how friendly and easy to be with they are, and how neat the dress of the Muslem and Hindu women is - like having paintings floating around. Haven't mentioned before the growing conservatism of the Muslim government. The original people there, the Malay, are mostly Muslim. Others experience some discrimination such as in job opportunity in the public sector and education costs and placement for scholarships at home and in foreign universities. We read articles about women and their employers being fined if the women aren't wearing the hijab over their heads and girls in school are under pressure to do so. The name Allah was recently declared only to be used by Muslims. If you're born Muslim here, you can't quit and you're expected to pray five times a day - and people are watching. These sort of restrictions and rules were not followed so strictly decades ago, hijabs were optional. One Malay friend told me that even though Indonesia has a much higher percentage of Muslims, that it's more open and tolerant there. She said that the saddest thing is the high degree of support for obligatory religious practices that she's heard from well-educated Muslims. We've experienced none of this, nothing but good vibes from Muslims in Malaysia and anywhere we've been in Asia. These are things we've heard from others and read in the papers. I wonder how strictly enforced the various rules are and if they'll keep getting stricter. Some people fear a gradual slide into a dark age. But I doubt it could become like less diverse Mid East countries. Remember meeting an Iranian woman in Kerala who talked about how much she loved Iran and how she'd love to go back. "But I can't because I don't want to be a Muslim anymore and they'd kill me."
10-31-14 - The Malaysian flag has a moon, sun or star, and red and white stripes, the latter resembling the flag of the US which makes me do occasional double-takes and then go oh yeah. Must look that up. A rickshaw driver who drove us around an area of Melaka (Malacca) - small enough for us to have walked but still we enjoyed his guidance and banter - took us to a Melaka (sp?) tree that he said the city and state was/were named after. He said that Malaysia comes from Malay and Asia. Took a boat ride on the river in the center of town and saw a small crocodile. At our small hotel in the historic district, a hundred years ago a Chinese home, the receptionist showed us a map of where to go in the area. The first thing he circled was the Hard Rock Cafe. I said that that is the last place we'd want to go. Actually it was. We had great salads there so big we just ate the leftovers for lunch on the train on the way back to KL And the to-go containers are so good we're bringing them back to Bali. Taking the commuter train at the KL station had to make sure not to board a pink car - for women only.
10-30-14 - Talking with Wai Leng, our hostess in KL of Chinese ancestry, she agreed with my layman's take on the progress in SE Asia coming mainly from the Chinese due to their Confusion culture and that's why Japan excels as well. The emphasis on education, merit, progress, manners. There were other conservative forces holding them back until the West ignited the spark in the 2nd half of he 1800s. I suppose in the West it was some chemistry of the Abrahamic tradition (Judism/Christian/Islam) and the Greco-Roman getting things going till we had all these labor saving devices and so forth leading to the massive transfer of carbon in the ground to carbon in the air and our possible demise after untold millennium of stability. It's sure been fun though feeling so superior and getting to drive and fly around. Bet I can get some more educated comments from some of our buds. I'll try. - DC
10-29-14 - Kuala Lumpur such a mix of people. A Philippine served us dinner at a Japanese stall last night, a guy from Nepal rang us out at the grocery store, a Mexican gave us directions near the Indonesian Embassy where we met two Swedish women. Locals 61 % Muslim - the women in hijab and soft material, colors blending differently than the rainbow Indian Tamil sari both flowing to the floor, Chinese in tee shirts and pants randomly selected - vibes closest to us slob Americans.
10-28-14 - Couldn't get into the Indonesian Embassy today because I had shorts on. Two European women with shorts on got in last time. Maybe the sign wasn't up. A cab driver had baggy pants in his trunk he tried to sell me for 20 ringgits. No way. Anyway, also no problem. Katrinka got both our passports with the visas we wanted so we don't have to leave Bali for six months which means I'll be able to plug away on all this nonsense with fewer interruptions. Meanwhile, four more nights in Malaysia, two of them in historic Malacca. Tonight spent some time with two little girls feeding live crickets to the schools sugar glider.
10-27-14 - There seems to be an endless variety of Chinese food here in Malaysia. Dinner tonight several firsts in a neighborhood place we walked to. Must get Katrinka to describe it. Wai says that in America she gets them to give her real Chinese food, not what they serve most people. She says that two menu approach is common abroad. I was sort of out of it from a cold treated with capsules of Chinese herbs from Wai's mom's garden and the drive back on the toll road through verdant rain forest and thought maybe couldn't eat much but ate a lot and drank many little cups of smoky Bole (sp?) tea. And like the old jokes about how you're hungry an hour later, I never feel too full or heavy after a Chinese meal here. And the price was good - about seven bucks each.
10-26-14 - Rode with Wai and kids a couple of hours north of KL to Ipoh, Malaysia, where her mom lives and which she says is one of the top ten cities in the world for US expats. All the way a divided four lane freeway that goes from Singapore into Thailand - through lush greenery and approaching Ipoh beautiful mountains jutting up with sheer cliffs and caves. At lunch Wai said there's the best tofu in the world here - it's the water - and her young son taught me thank you in Cantonese. Just say, "Door chair" he advised, and drop the Rs. Now at another mall - chair by outside glass wall, storm approaching, matcha latte, high winds. Love monsoon season.
10-25-14 - Dim Sum lunch at a fairly funky old place - so many varied yummy - before venturing to the new mall here way on the outskirts of massive KL. Got some reading glasses and am sitting at a Starbucks doing vital cuke work and waiting for Katrinka. The only ATM in the mall is out of order and the Starbucks couldn't read my cards the woman said because there's no smart chip on them. I said that's okay I'll just sit here and work and wait for my wife. A moment later I was brought the orange juice I couldn't buy and was told that the person in line behind me had bought it for me - young Chinese local. People here are so nice. I noticed it with the staff at the Dim Sum place - not officially, formally friendly and obsequious as staff in some Asian countries I won't mention that lost WWII but really friendly and nice. Yesterday a woman on the train went so out of her way to help us find the Indonesian Embassy making phone calls, walking with us, asking people on the street. I had to tell her she could go on and we'd find it from there, really it's okay. And then a man I asked did a Google Maps search and said we were looking for the wrong address, that they've got two addresses on their site, and he stopped a cab and told him where to take us. Come to think of it Japanese will do that too, they can be very out of their way helpful. My first experience in Kyoto in 88 was a guy buying my bus ticket and riding with me thirty minutes all the way to where I was going and then heading back to where we'd come from. Memories too many to mention or even count are coming up. And come to think of it even more, whenever I've told people in Japan or elsewhere how helpful and generous people there are, they tell me how helpful and generous Americans or Europeans were to them and then I hear good things about Africans and Mid-easterners as in Saudi Arabia and I remember Trungpa's talking about people's basic goodness and I know that holds true in the big picture even for the guy on a motorbike in Seminyak that months ago snatched the handbag of the woman I was talking to at the embassy yesterday and the suicide bomber who killed dozens in Baghdad.
10-24-14 - Went to the Indonesian Embassy in KL this morning and applied for six month visas. Then walked to the Petronas Twin Towers and hung around that area till late, getting back to the school where we stay twelve hours after we left. Walked in the park in front, had tea and food, visited the aquarium with a tunnel surrounded by ocean life - mantra rays and sharks overhead and to the sides. Saw a movie - multiplex just like the states and everything at least that clean. Light show with the fountains in the pond at night, locals crowded around to enjoy it. An interesting mix of Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Daoists, and Christians and a colorful mix of women's wear. The scene reminded me of a 2/3 scale of Dubai at night in front of the Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world. The Twin Towers were that until 2004. I walked around them that year and things are much more built up, modernized, malled and towered and posh now - the old neighborhood is gone. In fact, a great deal of what we experience in KL is extensive malls with everything American, European, Chinese, Japanese, Malay - anything to buy eat one could want including great cheap local food. A little different from Lembongan, the island we just came from, where I couldn't buy a pair of reading glasses to replace either of the two pair that happened to break there. Motorbikes for taxis and not that many of them. One extreme to the other.
10-23-14 - Katrinka got a DVD stuck in her Mac which made it sound all the time like a little animal was trying to get out. We were on that island and couldn't do anything about it but returned yesterday, went to the Mac shop a long way across busy Denpasar and they got the little animal out and I guess kept it as a pet. Then we flew to Kuala Lumpur to get new visas for Indonesia. Tomorrow morning to the embassy which will be closed in the afternoon I'm led to understand as it's Friday and that's a Muslim holy day. And we're tired. Nighty-night.
10-22-14 - Ran into a fellow Texan today in Lembongan when Katrinka and I were packing to leave. He has lived on the tiny island of Ceningan that's between Lembongan and Nusa Penida. There's a little bridge that goes over there that's so narrow that when motorbikes come by one has to press against the side and pray. Anyway, he co-founded the Aquatic Alliance - check it out. And here's an article on him and and his co-founder Helen Mitchell and it in the Indonesian Expat called Aquatic Alliance: Research & Conservation of Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan - but they're concerned with a wider sphere than just Manta Rays. He mentioned that the shark population is way down and listed some types he used to see more when diving - I forget the names but I remember he said they weren't the type that bite. - posted in - Engaged Buddhism/Current Events as well
10-21-14 - Fixed the bad link to the Memorial Page - try to check all the links when post but connection on this island so poor can barely upload to begin with at times - at others it's fine. Yesterday Katrinka and I walked to the village on the narrow, sandy, bumpy road past thatch shanties, people carrying goods in baskets at the end of poles balanced on their shoulders. Often looks like Baja California with cactus. It's fairly dry here. Went forty minutes all the way to Warung 99 (Warung is restaurant) where many of the boats from the big island of Bali come in. Barefoot men and women wading through the water unloading boats. The big stuff is tackled by groups of women - took eight to bring the large coils of cable up the cement steps to load on the back of a truck. Tried the one ATM and it was broken.
10-20-14 - Prof. John Nelson of USF report and photos of a major cremation in Bali around this time last year.
and posted on John Nelson's cuke page created today.
10-18-14 - We went by fast boat with two outboard motors at 8am this morning to snorkel with really big Manta Rays off the coast of Nusa Penida, the big island next to Lembongan. I read they get up to 22 ft. across but these looked more like six to ten. Water was a little rough but surfer Adi whose family runs the place we're staying led the way pointing at dark figures approaching. They ride near the top, big mouths open for plankton. One brushed gently by me. Awesome. Recalled Jake Fishman telling me once south of Acapulco having one unexpectedly swoop right over him. Then to Crystal Bay with colorful fish and huge colorful coral varied coral clusters. A reverent sense of the vast majesty of life and the nameless wonder it reflects.
Starting Saunters 2 today and moving posts previous to this month to Saunters 1. The file got too big.
10-17-14 - Went out this morning at six in the kayak for floating zazen. Hours at the Zenbook. Now later afternoon. Ocean breeze, kelapa muda - young coconut - as is - drinking with straws from the severed top. Just tried it with a bit of lemon first time. Good. Dogs here are nice, playful, romp in the tidepools, sit at our feet - nothing to protect, no walls, almost no doors. Local color - the staff, five, all family, watch Indonesian TV - outnumbering the guests now just Katrinka and me as the day guests have left to catch their boats. Little rat that lives under the deck just grabbed a paper napkin and darted back in.
10-16-14 - Had to get a motorbike ride into the village to upload. I guess this is a village. Welcome to Bali Edo Deli. Didn't realize at first that we've got the only guest cabin at LOA. Their main business is people who come around to the mangrove area of Lembongan for a look, to have a drink or a meal. That's how we came the first time. Our boat arrived at ten in the morning and before it left at 3pm, we had a driver take us around on the bumpy roads to see the seaweed farms and views. We stopped here in the Mangroves for lunch, walked around, and found this place - the only place here to stay we know of other than a homestay down a ways across the road. Yesterday and today a group of about twenty Japanese followed a guide down the beach to somewhere. Way off in the distance we can see Bali's highest Mt. Agung beyond the snorkel boats and deep blue water.
10-15-14 - Son Kelly's mom Daya Goldschlag used to kayak around the SF Bay all the time. Katrinka's son Seth left us the inflatable kayak he brought and today for the first time kayaked. Went out to where the boats bring folks to snorkle and scuba and a skipper of one little rig, Maxi, suggested we trade for a while. Climbed into his boat and he into mine. A nice interlude talking with a Spaniard and a Jakartan who loaned me his mask and snorkle so I could inspect the brightly colored fish below. Paddling back came upon a snorkler the back of whose head, posterior, and heels reminded me of Katrinka. It was she. Had wadded and swum out. Tried to tow her back in but it was too hard so had to leave her out there with the coral and starfish.
10-14-14 - Rode over in an outboard powered catamaran with boxes of tile and a few other fureigners taking twice as long as the fast boats. The Bay of Bali was fairly calm but after a wave of dizzy hit when I wrote a note, put the pad away and stared at the sea ahead. Lembongan, an island that's part of the Province of Bali. We're staying at Loa Beach House Mangroves - owned by Japanese which right now is all can get on that site - look at the photos. The Internet here is okay. This is more like the image one gets thinking of Bali - especially if can get a break from the Indonesian soaps coming from the TV in the Kitchen next door. Walked out a couple hundred yards in shallow warm sea in aqua shoes careful not to step on any coral or starfish.
10-13-14 - Got everything packed up today for our landlords to store down the street at the home while we're away for 18 days. Nice old Nyoman was to come at five to truck it down but he arrived four hours early with more boxes and was a great help getting everything ready - fitted stuff in containers, taped boxes and wrote our names on them, and a lot more. Tomorrow morning he'll drive us and other stuff to the 10am boat for Lembongan. Have to wade into the water to get on it. I've watched people boarding the early one when I've walked down there in the morning to have tea at a little stand on the beach. Katrinka gave Nyoman some cheese and homemade sambul which is what they call their salsa - but this is her Mexicanish version.
Got a bunch of Suzuki lecture early edits to get together before going to sleep - 85 or so of them the only edited versions we've got. Now there are only the verbatim versions of these posted on shunryusuzuki.com. Soon the early edits will be there as well. And will feature them one by one here on cuke when the Wind Bell lecture series is finished in a couple of months.
Oh yes - the Internet might not be so good where we're going for the next eight days. Hope I can upload. - dc - posted in Saunters
10-12-14 - Bule, or foreigners, sometimes warn that you can't trust locals in biz deals but Widya, our landlady has twice returned a goodly sum of loot that she said we'd overpaid for rent. She and her hubby David are very responsive as in having ceiling fans installed when we asked and storing all our stuff in an interim while we're gone for 18 days before returning with social and cultural visas and moving back in next door. Then for six months we won't have to leave. I promised Katrinka while we're gone I wouldn't work over eight hours in a day. I think she's got an exaggerated idea about that.
10-11-14 - Gasoline here in Indonesia is subsidized and is about half that in the US which is half that in Europe and in Indonesia it went up by 44% last year and is getting ready to go up by at least that much again early next year. Taxis are pretty cheap now but transport and food prices will rise. People will not be happy about that. Maybe mass transit will improve and the plethora of vehicles will diminish, their sizes shrink. Sunset time - outside it's glowing pink.
10-10-14 - Katrinka has found that hanging some charred bamboo helps with the smell of things as it absorbs odors caused by dampness or making bathrooms without the proper traps to create a barrier to noxious odors which are common here in Asia including Japan.
10-09-14 - Earliest example of human art found in Indonesia - I guess the word "human" is extra but it sounds better to me with it - dc- posted in Saunters because it's what's happening in these parts.
10-08-14 - Just getting ready to watch the rising of a full moon in full eclipse. Here's a page for it for Denpasar. Lots of ceremonies going on. Fantastic music and processions on the beach, one with a row of at least 100 women dressed in beautiful traditional garb balancing tall baskets of offerings on their heads followed by men in white playing dreamy gamelan music. They came down the street to the beach onto the sand then down it the back up to some temple.
Here's a photo got from this page (which has many more great such photos) that looks pretty much like that procession just described.
10-07-14 - Some drizzles this morning. First precipitation in a couple of months as I recall.
10-05-14 - A Gamelan medley
10-04-14 - For the 2nd day in a row, there was several hours of traditional Indonesian gamelan music coming from the school next door. Here's a few minutes of simple gamelan music with explanatory notes. What was coming from the school was more complicated and varied with occasional vocals.
10-10-03-14 - Photo of folks at The Lighthouse Bali, a substance abuse program center Katrinka has been involved with. Photo by Scott who's on top middle. Alice to the right is the founding director.
10-02-14 - USF John Nelson eight month Far West Passage Blog - Bali page.
And be sure to see the post with other links about his new book, Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan, at 9-29-14 on the What's New page.
10-01-14 - Some Bali observations
Humming kites, humming and whistling bamboo poles stuck in rocks or sand at the windy beach.
Admiring a thatch roof. A bird lands and takes a piece of straw for its nest.
Watching ants on a path stopping to greet each one that comes from the other direction. One is screwed up wandering in circles.
Waiter sleeping on a bench near where we are eating lunch.
The Asian, not just here, use of "too" to mean very as in, "Good day for business. Too many people."
Sometimes the whole island seems to have run out of ink - trying to make out the figures on a receipt from a machine that badly needs a ribbon change.