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"Everything counts a little more than we think..."

23 January 2006 Monday

at cabin in Bali

slated in moments at 2:36 am

{========== Sunday 22 Jan 2006 ======}

7:36pm~ at cabin in Bali. absolutely no wireless networks found in range here. that’s fine.

end of plane ride hurt much. dunno if i’ve mentioned before, but plane landings have always hurt my ears very much. it’s congestion.. it’s very painful.. over years of experience, i’ve found that taking Tylenol Cold & Sinus (maximum strength) approx 30-40 minutes before landing can sometimes make the pain nonexistent. without it, there’s basically nothing else i can do except sit and suffer for a while. takeoff and flight are no problem for me. it’s always the landing. i remember sitting quietly in my airplane seat with my fingers/hand pressed against my temples/ears when i was a child, eyes closed tight and tears streaming. the fact that i have this major cold/existing congestion (for the past several days) already, coupled with not realizing we were near landing time (i don’t live so well without a watch) made for pretty thorough discomfort and pain, and my ears remained clogged and a little bit throbbing for a while even on land.

all that aside, we made it to Bali well and wide-eyed.

Bali is a tourists’ country—but without any tourists. After the stupid terrorist bombing in 2002, and again in 2004 (Australians were targeted), the general occupancy in hotels is apparently 10% now.. though it’s looking to me to be more like 5% or less. It’s horrible for the people here. Driving through some of the streets, it is very very apparent that the area has grown up around tourists, and caters to them and exists for them. Then add the recent monstrous hike in gasoline prices. Our driver explained his own situation, while taking us from the airport to our hotel: He rents the car from his boss, who used to run 20 cars and now has only 5.. He used have jobs every day.. now he’s lucky to have a passenger once a week. And gasoline is more expensive, and the price of rice has gone up with the price of gas. This is very very sad.

Our hotel is breathtaking. Apparently it’s not actually a hotel.. but supposed to be an arts center, with accommodations to subsidize. It’s very very nice. Cabins on stilts with eating areas underneath.. Freshwater pool that spills off the hill, surrounded by papaya and coconut trees, overlooking rice paddies. The rooms are nice.. very romantic. good thing i get to share that king-sized bed with my brother. Mom and Dad have the room below—they have a bathtub and a balcony. Frengi Penny (no idea how to spell it) flowers everywhere. That’s happy.

My parents made arrangements today to have a traditional Balinese ceremony tomorrow, to renew their vows and commemorate their 25th anniversary. Should be really beautiful, and this setting will be very lovely.

I’ve been taking tons and tons of pictures. I know the whole thing about 3×5s, but.

This evening we went to see Balinese dancing: Kencak and fire dancing. It was outdoor, and toward the end of the Kucak dance, we started getting some rain… Dad and I toughed it out for a while, then looked at each other, knowing this type of rain gets much worse before it gets better. (We’re in rainy season in this corner of the world.) So we also joined Mom and Lor on the side under a bit of roofing… but very soon the rain became a serious downpour, and the wind was blowing it into us, and the dancers were getting soaked but still sitting and doing their thing… and then we made a run for it to the other side where there was a full area for us to sit and be safe from the rain and where the the next dance would take place.. then they had a pile of coconut husks together and they lit this on fire… then guy came out “on a horse” and eventually kicked the fire apart and danced around in it, which ultimately meant flaming coconut husk-bits and fire sparks being kicked in our direction, and tons of smoke everywhere… hard to see and breathe… covered eyes and nose… could see a bit through fingers… when that was done, we ran for car.. drive home was quite interesting… the 20 minutes of torrential rain was a flash flood, and our car was practically floating in water a lot of the time… at one point i thought the engine was going to give… miraculously, it didn’t. our hotel area is on higher ground, so was much dryer toward where we are, and our rooms are on stilts anyway.

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