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.
Here's the cuke blog Saunters label where they've been going since this post below. Also can get there by clicking on What's New above.
1-17-15 - If you look at the world map from the Dallas Morning News article on 2014 being the hottest year recorded, you'll see that Bali was in one of the spots with the least temperature rise. Guess that means we don't have to worry about anything here. - check out Climate Change
1-16-15 - Executions in Bali this Sunday - BBC - Joko Widodo, the much heralded new president of Indonesia, said that he is in favor of capital punishment for drug smugglers and dealers because forty people die a day from drugs. So he hopes to save lives by killing people. But where does that figure come from and what approaches would actually reduce the harm and deaths? Who to kill and for which drugs? Read Drug Addiction in Indonesia - From Junkies to Jihad.- Laine Berman, Inside Indonesia (progressive quarterly), Collingwood, Australia, July-September 2003 - That's over 11 years ago but has anything changed?
1-15-15 - Wonder what the state of tooth filing is in Bali. Heard no mention of it in the last year like we did 22 years ago. When Kelly arrived here to join Elin and me, on the way from the (tiny then) airport to Ubud, we went to the home of our nanny (Clay was one) to witness her tooth filing ceremony which was a traditional coming of age ceremony. It had become almost entirely symbolic with what looked like a tiny bit of real and mainly pretend filing. I think they used to file them down to points. Ouch. - DC
Here's a brief bit on it There are some pretty extreme pictures on the Internet, not representative.
1-14-15 - Amrita Soon sings Clues - a YouTube video. Clues is the Title track of Clues EP which you can get on iTunes and Spotify. Most cool.
She's from Malaysia. Here's her website and here's her Facebook page.
Photo snagged from her mother's alternative school site - Learning Beyond Schooling. That's where Katrinka and I stay when we're in Kuala Lumpur. Her parents, Vidya and Wai, are engaged Buddhists we met through Alan Senauke. There are a number of entries over the past year in Saunters about them and being there where we've passed through on the way to Thailand and Japan and gone to get renewed visas for Indonesia.- dc
1-13-15 - Revisiting Margaret Mead’s Bayung Gede - another interesting article from the Bali Advertiser with a photo of her and Gregory Bateson at home working away. We're contemplating a visit there.
1-12-15 - Ibu Kat is the Pen name of a long time Bali resident from Canada I think who writes excellent articles for the Bali Advertiser. Ibu means mother and can be used for any woman like MS. My mate Katrinka also uses Kat here so she too is an Ibu Kat but not the one who wrote this piece on The Smallest Room. - thanks Katrinka - posted in Saunters
I don't think the wrong way from that instructional sign is necessarily wrong. I did that for years when I was a crazy young Zennie. - DC
1-11-15 - Friend wanted to send us something in Indonesia. I responded: Hey thanks for that but don't worry about sending us anything here. It costs more from there. Dr. friend from Boston just got some brownies from East Coast cost them $150 and he wasn't allowed to receive it unless he got a permit or something and couldn't get out of filling out forms to not accept it.
1-10-15 - Ben Hur made a big impression on me as a boy - the Charleston Heston version. And I read the book. The scene when he goes home and what was once palatial splendor has fallen to ruin made an impression, one of many early realizations that everything changes. That's a little bit how I see the hotel next door. Landlord David speaks nostalgically of the glory days of Hotel Bali Warma which he called an excellent two star hotel - filled with amiable Aussie guests, a bustling bar with music, a good place to go down the street for him and Widya for a beer in the evening. The rooms smelled fresh. The pool was clear and clean. Now the hollow halls echo from the emptiness and hint of mold, the bar is usually empty both of customers and staff. The unconcerned owner says it's too expensive to run the pool pump so that he's got he only pool I know of on the island that at times one can't see the bottom. David just threatened to withdraw his payment for his guests at neighboring Widya homestay to use the pool because it got so pea soupy only yours truly would enter. Now it's back to a clearer broth so that Katrinka felt okay about entering. I remarked that this is the perfect condition for pool and hotel - bad enough to keep bothersome guests away but good enough so we can enjoy it in dilapidated privacy.
1-09-15 - It's best not to kiss in public here in Bali. Nobody will do anything. It's not like India where it's illegal. But they don't do it. I'm including just a little peck. When Katrinka's son Seth spent the night climbing Mt. Agung, the guide asked a couple of questions about Westerners. One was, why do we kiss in public? Everything's so loose here it's easy to forget but we don't forget anymore.
1-08-15 - Katrinka and I both spent years living on the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco and now we've lived near the Indian Ocean in Bali for over a year (except a few months out) and one thing we've noticed so far is how mild and short the rains are here compared to there and no storms yet as we're used to there. No hurricanes or cyclones. There are hard rains but not for so long. I remember days of hard rains in California, high winds, fierce storms. But we have thunder and lightning more in Bali.
1-07-15 - This morning I had this weird feeling I get sometimes when I wake up. I lay there feeling slightly light-headed which is normal these days but with it this morning came the vibrating. Not unpleasant. So I lay with it for awhile. It's pretty subtle and total, like mind and body almost buzzing. Then I heard Katrinka exclaim from the living room as she was opening the front door. It was the biawak, the monitor lizard. I thought it was still here. The front wall has a glass door between two large plate glass windows that run wall to wall. Curtains run the entire length, dividing at the door. When Katrinka moved the curtain back the biawak was up on top of the frame and came zipping down the curtain, onto the satee arm, to a chair, to the floor, and sped to the other side of the room to go back behind the sink. We decided to call it Waki.
1-06-15 - Medical update - I had a few normal days around Xmas-time and thought it was all over then got worse. Something different, not the coughing and sneezing, more like a flue. Not debilitating but didn't play tennis, missed some yoga and walking and the hadn't missed any of that up to then. Now I'm almost feeling normal again. Bali young (to me) sports doc with a nearby office, not his main one. I never took him seriously cause he'd call out to me when I was walking by like the shop keepers. But he saw our cookbook friend Suzanne at her villa and she liked him and he only charged her 100,000 - like eight bucks. So I saw him and he was great. Called him one afternoon and he said he was on his way there. Met him at 3pm, we talked for a while. Asked where I lived - knew where it was. Told me he'd come at 7 to give blood test. I said I'd walk back to office. He was sitting outside (and the inside is almost like outside) in running shorts and shoes. Muslim woman took some blood while he and I talked and he said he'd come over at nine and I said I'd walk. I'd assumed he meant in the morning but he knocked on our door at nine fifteen at night with results and checked my heart and lungs and said everything is perfect - white blood cell count, liver, salmonella and more, said maybe my problem is psychological or maybe physical but it's not bad and it'll go away. He prescribed nothing. The blood test was a million two hundred thousand, 100 bucks and for him, 200,000 - sixteen. Nurse practitioner Kim went over it all and said it was a very thorough blood test and that was a normal price for it. She said there are no more tests I should do. She sort of intimated that this sort of thing is sometimes part of living here and it will pass.
I told her was I inclined to look at things like pricy Aussie acupuncturist friend that my immune system needed to be strengthened and toward that goal earlier Nyoman had driven me to to the old funky shopping district where there are some Chinese herb and drug stores Bali Bill had mentioned. I'd gone over the language to be used. The first place put some bottle of vitamins and don't know what else in it on the counter for me - not Chinese medicine. Asked a few more questions, wasn't satisfied, went to the place next door. It felt better. Lot of old wooden and glass cabinets with bottles and whatnot. Busy. Hard to tell who's an employee and who's a customer. There was a lot going on peripherally. Everyone seemed Chinese. Like the other place there were young women behind the counter and one or more people on the floor to direct. One walked up to me. I told her I'd had low energy for three months, wanted to make my immune system stronger, and asked if there was someone who read pulses. That's what I was really interested in finding. She kept asking for clarification and I said pulses and pressed on my pulses and finally she took me to an old man sitting in the back. He looked in his eighties, overweight, slouching, seemed half awake. Someone else put a chair in front of him. She spoke into his ear. He barely acknowledged me, took my right hand and pressed his thumb and fingers in a few places for a short while. Then he started pressing on my finger joints palm side up and asking "Pain?" and every time I indicated no - didn't feel good but not pain. He spoke something I couldn't hear into her ear and I stood and bowed and thanked him and I guess there was a response from him. They gave me a bottle of little Chinese herb pills with Indonesian too on the bottle and a box of ginseng in royal jelly. I picked up two nifty contactable back scratchers. Total bill 88,000 - a little over seven bucks. Got up early. Raining. Cautiously optimistic.
1-04-15 - Katrinka said she heard the biawak, monitor lizard, this morning behind the sink. Around noon I was sitting on the setee (featured two days ago) reading a Shunryu Suzuki lecture and noticed there it was in front of me on the floor carefully walking toward the wide opening, three feet from freedom. But it must have caught some movement from me and froze. I used the opportunity to estimate its size better. I'd say two feet long with the tail which is pretty long. It continued to freeze. I figured since it had run in when I scared it, run straight ahead, that it would run out now as it was facing the very close exit. I slowly moved my hand to grab a cushion and it turned around and ran back I threw the cushion in it's path to try to scare it back toward the exit but it just went to the side and skedaddled into our bedroom. I got up, closed the doors to the bathroom and other bedroom which is like my closet and storage, went around front and found Wayan cleaning one of the studios, told him what was up and we made a date. Walked back and sat in the same place till he came with Ketut. Katrinka was back. She stood by with her iPhone ready to film. We looked everywhere in the bedroom then everywhere everywhere else. Maybe it left when I went around to talk to Wayan but I think it's likely still here somewhere. No matter. They're not dangerous (if you don't try to grab them and I see Animal planet has a bit on a man who was killed by his monitor lizard). We're worried about it more than us. Katrinka put water on the floor for it. The gekkos here seem to get by on the bugs which aren't that many. Wonder what will happen next if anything.
1-02-15 - I like what Katrinka calls our setee, like a sofa with a wooden back and arms - long enough to lie down on and deep enough to sit cross-legged and work, laptop on top of a cushion. Like the photo but bigger, with a soft thin mattress and thick rounded arms. I was sitting there the other day when a small biawak, monitor lizard, walked in. Maybe sixteen inches long. I yelled at it to go out but that just scared it to run straight ahead. I guess it's still here. Katrinka says she hears it behind the kitchen sink cabinet. Ketut, Wayan and I are going to try to shoo it out on Sunday when they're both working here. They aren't dangerous - the biawak. See Saunters post of 12-08-14.
1-01-15 - Blew it again. Katrinka and I were heading off to New Year's Eve dinner, a short walk, when she had to go back to put on other shoes as she was getting a blister, having walked a few miles back home earlier. Thank gosh she did cause as soon as we got back, it started pouring rain. We got our little fold up umbrellas and walked to the public street a hundred yards away, getting pretty wet. Even though there was just a little over a block to go we stopped a taxi which would be about six thousand (fifty cents), got in, told him where we wanted to go and he turned and said, "Fifty thousand." That made me mad. He was trying to take advantage of us. I got out in a second in a huff and Katrinka had to follow. I told her I was thinking of giving him fifty as a New Years tip but not after he said that. Turns out the rain subsided then and we got no wetter walking. Later that night with visiting Malay friend Li Mun on the beach there was a mob of people, lots of foreigners but many more Indonesians and locals. And there were fireworks going off up and down the beach - no one in charge, multitudes shooting bright lights way up that exploded like burning flowers. Shortly before midnight we were back home and went out on the street with pregnant Bali Rini neighbor to watch beyond the field the sky lit up not only from above the beach but to the sides and behind and lots of booms. Terrific. So how did I blow it? We had walked Li Moon to the street from the beach to send her to her hotel in a taxi. She inquired how much and he said "fifty thousand." Turned out that there's a New Year's tradition at least around here, that all taxi rides start at fifty thousand. I felt bad.
12-31-14 - Poor Nyoman. I did something inappropriate. He's our nice old driver, drives a beat up old bemo as they call them, like a Volkswagon van with a sliding door on the side that's open when he's working, driving up and down the street giving rides for 5000 (for locals) or 10,000 rupies (about 40 or 80 cents) - like a bus though he'll go out of his way for someone for more. He drove us to the immigration office today to get new photos and fingerprints of all ten fingers. We pay 700,000 each for an agent to extend our visas and that has to be done every month now. That's about $60, a little less right these days cause the dollar's high - but we don't think in terms of dollars anymore. Our landlady Widya is our agent now and she sent us to Ibu Siri, like Mrs. Siri at the Immigration Office. Unlike many places in the world, the vibes in this immigration office were pleasant, informal. One local or at least not Westerner on our side of the counter was yelling jokes at some office workers who were laughing. When we were through I talked to Ibu Siri outside and asked her if she'd help me next month so we wouldn't have to go through an agent. She was most agreeable and told me what to bring. I think it will cost 250,000 each that way and will be an interesting and educational experience - and I'm home working too much. People say don't try it, that they make you come back up to five times, that agents are worth it. Nyoman scoffs at that. He says that's what agents want you to think, that lots of bule (foreigners) do it for themselves. Also, I've found it to be beneficial to have a good connection with immigration in other countries. So we'll see how this works out. And oh yes - how I was bad to Nyoman. Later he picked me up walking back from a friend's a few kilometers from home. I said that since it's a hari raya, holiday, let me treat us to drinks at Starbucks on the way. They know me there cause once a month or so I go work there for a few hours for a change of venue. He didn't want anything, said it was too expensive. I said no, it's gratis (they use that here too). He said it was too hot for coffee and I said they have ice coffee. Usually he stays outside but I urged him to come in with me. I got a super large (venti) tea and a small ice coffee for him, both with milk, him a little sugar. As the cashier rang it up I realized something and told Nyoman to avert his eyes. But it was too late. He saw 63,000 come up. "Mahal!" he exclaimed in horror - expensive. The cashier and I looked at each other. We knew what he usually paid for coffee. "Mahal!" Nyoman said after he'd driven me home and we were standing outside saying goodbye. I said, well it's a treat for a special occasion and good quality. He said it's no better than what he pays 2000 for every day across the street from where I live. He likes us and appreciates our business but I bet he'll always see us as extravagant and wasteful. Not something I should drag him into.
12-30-14 - Go to YouTube and check out Sasha Stevenson on How to Act Indonesian - many great skits.
12-29-14 - The shamanic origins of Christmas - was posted on a young Bali friend's FaceBook page. I think they're making psychedelic mushrooms here illegal starting in January. I remember them being sold in shakes to tourists twenty-two years ago and I hear that still goes on. But no more. Bad law. Harmful law. Religious persecution law. Not one that applies to me though. - dc - posted in Saunters
12-28-14 - To follow up on yesterday's Saunters post, Some photos from our trip to the Jimbaran fish market taken last February. Our landlords, David and Widya, drove Katrinka and me and two others who were staying in studios here - Lenli (sp?) and Grahame who took the photos. Katrinka's got some too. I got one off the web yesterday because Grahame's didn't show the scale of the place. Katrinka has some deep in her photo files that show that maybe which if so will add later. This is one of the things to do we recommend to visitors. - dc
12-27-14 - First piece of advice learned from visiting Malaysian woman friend. When you go to the open markets, don't buy meat or fish with no flies as it could mean that they've been doused with formaldehyde.
12-26-14 - On Xmas we joined others for some dragon fruit smoothies and more sips and nibbles at a lovely villa Suzanne Wilder was staying as a guest. Check out her website and cookbooks at Wilder by the Dozen. - posted in Saunters
12-25-14 - Please choose appropriate celebratory greeting from the list below.
Merry War on Christmas
Selamat Hari Natal
That next to last one Indonesian. Above photo an Indonesian church. Christmas is a national holiday in inclusive Indonesia. The beach was crowded with locals in the water on the sand, shopping, coming, going, motorbikes parked in packed rows. Searched for an image to show that but only came up with those with Europeans or near empty ideal beach scenes reminiscent of car ads with only one car on the road, even if it's in a city.
Time to wrap presents.
12-23-14 - Feelin good these days. The low energy coughing thing has mostly disappeared since acupuncture and Chinese medicine (see Saunters 12-09-14). I do not know if that's why or it was gonna go away anyway. I did appreciate my Aussie friend's treatment. He said exactly what I thought - that if I go to a hospital they'll just give me antibiotics which won't do anything but increase my resistance to them. So that was good but pricey. I knew I had to find a cheap local source for next time. Bali Bill drew me a map to where there are a number of Chinese herb shops. He said it always works for him. Walks in, says "hati" for liver or whatever and a short eighty year old woman gives him a mix of herbs that costs a few bucks.
12-22-14 - The heavy hand of religious police in Aceh (The furthest NW province of Indonesia, quite far from Bali - 3600 Kilometers/ 2200 miles) - Aljazeera
12-21-14 - Incidentally, about yesterday's post on horrific trash on the beach here in Bali, that's not where we are in Sanur, that's over on the west side of the southern peninsula. Not sure how far the trash extends west. There were little tiny white specs in the ocean water here recently and I wondered if they were plastic or from flowers or what and Katrinka went in (we go separately to have someone with our stuff) and she concluded after closer inspection than I did that they were fish eggs. She snorkled and said there were also lots of tiny new fishies in the water.
12-20-14 - Once again --- The Wretched Refuse of Your Teeming Shores
Mountains of Trash Wash Ashore in Kuta in Seasonal Blight on Bali’s Shores
- thanks Katrinka
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