Friday, March 19, 2010

Paradise Lost

I was going to start today's blog by complaining about the people who have recently moved into the abandoned hut across the river. My beautiful quiet has been disturbed by their squawking child, rowdy boys and recently acquired rooster! All this I have managed to let go of in a live and let live kind of way, until today they started chopping down the bamboo that has at least allowed me to maintain my visual anonymity. And of course when I saw one of them going down to the creek,sludgy litter ridden affair that it is, for a shit, I was less than impressed.So,as I said, I was going to complain but something still stops me from having an all out whinge. Who cares what my neighbours are doing anyway and why bother complaining here? This is supposed to be something that puts my writing out for people to see and gathers interest in my book. But sometimes it seems that even paradise has its limitations. I did manage to put out 4 short stories today despite my visual invasion I suppose,and regardless of my intentions to the contrary it seems I have just complained about the neighbours

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Politics of Evil

Do you think it's Ok to have a favorite demon? There were 30 of them gathered at the football field in the middle of Ubud on Monday night and I have seen as many again in the streets of various Bajung around the area, but when this one was lifted into the night sky with it's eyes flashing and hair flowing out behind it somehow spoke to me.
Don't get me wrong there were magnificent creations all around. The community spirit and creativity of the young men who have been working for weeks on these masterpieces has been a joy to behold. But, this is the monster that spoke to me. The one that captured my sense of all that is bad, if I was going to be a demon, I would be this one. If for one brief night I could rant and roam the streets of Ubud before being taken to the cemetery and burned I would do it as him. And if there is a demon in my psyche that needs exorcising, or integrating then I bet it is this one. Next time I am writhing in the torment of my mind I will remember how I watched him burn!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It's Balinese New Year and given the way my year started on the Australian calendar I am pretty happy to have another crack at it.
For the last few weeks public spaces in all the villages have been crawling with the boys and young men who construct the Ogoh-Ogoh monsters. The nightmare manifestations of imaginations fuelled by centuries of Hindu mysticism, have produced a ghoulish array the two story high, big breasted, long penised, bulging arses of mohawk wearing, claw fingered and hairy demons soon to be set ablaze in cemeteries and sacred places across Bali.I have watched as small boys clamber up dodgy scaffolding to rub the tits and slap the arses of their creations and had carloads of tourists almost cause accidents as they come to an oblivious halt in the middle of the road in order to take a photograph. As the monsters reach completion everyone prepares for a day of silence inside their homes. No lights are to be used and movement in the streets is limited to those who have emergencies only. As all the demon images are destroyed tonight, the inhabitants of Bali lay low tomorrow to stop them returning to an apparently empty island. Lets hope I can put a few of my own demons out as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On Feet

I’ve never really been one for feet. In fact, most of my life, the size of mine have caused me considerable embarrassment. In my younger days, before they started making a few shoes in larger sizes, I was regularly subjected to the downward stare of disapproving shoe sellers. Centuries of foot binders past echoed in their derisive,
“ I’m terribly sorry Madame but we don’t cater for those sizes.”
Or later, once the manufacturers twigged and started issuing one pair of sizes nine, ten and occasionally eleven to a few stores.
“Oh I’m terribly sorry madam but we sell out of those sizes at the beginning of the season.” Like the only way for hefty feet to be shod is if they line up on opening day and trample all the other ample footers for the limited edition concessions to their deformity.

Not that I am foot phobic like some people I know. Baby’s feet are cute; especially the way they do that little rabbit pawing thing at your belly when they are on the breast. And I do like rubbing feet with my lover when we are wrapped up close in each other, to connect from lip to toe. But mostly, feet and I have never really had much to say to each other.

Until moving to Bali that is. Until the only way for me to get around is on the back of a motorbike in this madness they call traffic. Lately my feet have a whole lot to say! Apart from insisting that I wear my heaviest sandals before I walk out the door, they have developed a knack of sucking all the blood away from my ankles for the duration of any ride. To be fair, I guess they have been indoctrinated by the boots and leather safety set back home, but I left all those trappings behind, knowing how ridiculously hot it would be over here. And I suppose there are rabid dogs, pot holes and maniac drivers around every bend, so I can’t discount their convulsions as completely irrational. But no amount of pointing out sarong wearing, side saddled, thong flapping pillions would convince my feet to either release the blood back into my ankles ( a particularly uncomfortable sensation I have to say ) or to uncurl their toes from the foetal positions they had taken up at the end of my sandals. What to do?

As with many things, time has managed to minimise the trauma to an occasional, "only when under direct threat" affair, and to be honest, the rest of my body is similarly contorted at those times. So we have come to a bit of a truce on the whole motor biking thing. And, the other day, now that they have been lulled out their hyper vigilant, red alert rigidity, I actually managed to sneak out the door in my thongs, and get on the bike before they noticed.