I know so many people who think they can do it alone / They isolate their heads and stay in their saftey zones

  • The man who took my car bat­tery last night said, in Indone­sian, that the bat­tery will be ready in the morn­ing and that I should bring the car in to have it fit­ted. It took a cou­ple of slow expla­na­tions (it may have been my frac­tured Indone­sian of course) to point out that the 20km to his benkel might prove too far to push the hulk­ing beast. A friend on Face­book said some­thing about it all being very zen.
    This morn­ing, as if to under­line that, he turned up with a brand new top of the range bat­tery to replace the old­er one we’d bought a year or so ago – free of charge. It wasn’t inside the war­ran­ty peri­od but it seemed they thought it was the right thing to do, and at their cost. How often does that hap­pen?
  • I’d for­got­ten that teenagers sleep so much. Did I? I guess I did. But I’m think­ing that Isabel­la has my night-owl genes as she sleeps half to day, only to rise around noon to stag­ger to the com­put­er to com­mu­ni­cate (rarely with us for an hour or two unless it’s in snarls, it improves after food is admin­is­tered). Myself, I think I used to crawl out and place head­phones on at that stage, while mum point­ed angri­ly at the fes­ter­ing pile that was my bed­room.
  • The mad­ness con­tin­ues … Indone­sia, in its usu­al per­plex­ing­ly irra­tional way, has tight­ened up the impor­ta­tion of alco­hol to a frankly insane lev­el. The argu­ment from the lads in Jakar­ta is that there was so much untaxed stuff being smug­gled in that some­thing had to be done, so the license to import booze was all giv­en to one com­pa­ny (just, fun­ni­ly enough, coin­ci­dent­ly like every oth­er state defined monop­oly, owned by one of the good old boys) in Jakar­ta, and the duty was raised to amongst the high­est in the world. How to kill the high­er spend­ing end of the tourist mar­ket – while Malaysia and Thai­land are pulling in tens of mil­lions of tourists a year, Indone­sia, even with Bali as it’s jew­el, stag­gers towards 5 or 6 million.The end result, aside from bot­tles of AUD$7 Aus­tralian and Chilean paint strip­per retail­ing for US$50 each is that we, in the past two weeks, have been to a Bel­gian Beer Bar that has no Bel­gian beers, and a Japan­ese restau­rant that had no bloody Sake. Oh, and the smug­glers, with the help of the rather inevitable lit­tle cus­toms lubri­ca­tion, are back at it with a very thirsty mar­ket. I’m rather over it and would do just about any­thing for a well-stocked wine shop (or restau­rant) at rea­son­able prices. Or even a bloody Stel­la Artois….
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  • We’re mov­ing – or rather have been forced out. The folks around us, the locals, have decid­ed to build right to the bound­aries – three of the four – a selec­tion of grue­some con­crete block mon­strosi­ties, all com­plete­ly ille­gal of course but that’s nei­ther here nor there in the gild­ed isle where the law will hap­pi­ly bend as far as your wal­let will open.

Oh, and for good mea­sure, a bunch of young guys have, joy, opened a motor­cy­cle repair busi­ness – the sort where they take the muf­flers off and rev loud­ly to show the watch­ing young girls just how well append­ed they are – out the front. The seren­i­ty and peace of Bali. It’s time to move to Semi­nyak – at least I can stag­ger off to a beach­front bar to hide from it all. Once you step out­side the tourist myths the con­crete block and bad­ly tuned motor­bike are increas­ing­ly as close as you get to the real Bali.

  • I think I need a hol­i­day

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