Beirut or Bali?

Welcome 2012!  

(And still…no jet packs in sight)…

Seeing in the New Year in Bali was quite the experience. We ventured down to Legian Beach and dined among the stars (maybe not stars exactly, but equally as glittery). We dined in the company of a gaggle of Lady Boys (or maybe it’s a “gargle”, not sure what the collective noun is, for a group of “spangly-danglies”).

The boardwalk along the beach was chock full of motorbikes and flashing/glowing headwear. And inside the Blue Ocean restaurant, we had our own spectacle to observe, which was just as unusual and surprising to us, as it was for the staff who nervously giggled and whispered among themselves. There was a birthday celebration behind us, but whether it was “for he’s a jolly good fellow…or…she’s a jolly good fellow”, was anybody’s guess?

But still, they had a wonderful time, and it certainly kept us all entertained.

But that’s not the amazing part. I think the entire economic budget of Indonesia, must have been invested in fireworks! And although they may not have the spectacular quality of fireworks that we’re accustomed to at home, what they lack in quality, they more than make up for in…QUANTITY!!

About 6hrs worth!!

No kidding! The fireworks started about 8-8:30pm and continued non-stop til about 2-3am! It was like we were living in Beirut instead of Bali. The entire horizon was continually lit up with flares and sparkling explosions, like we were in the middle of a war zoneFOR HOURS! The haze of smoke crept across the island like a doona spreads across the bed.

We left the beach a couple hours before midnight, but we were still watching them from our balcony at home 3 hours later, and they continued for hours after we went to bed. I think it could take NASA 10 years to gather enough gunpowder to relaunch another rocket, after what was used up last night.

Just incredible. And just another reason to marvel at the incredible life and beauty that this island has to offer.

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Our Crazy Bali Xmas

Christmas morning in Bali. The stockings were full…and so was, John (full of Scotch). Stephie bummed a smoke off John in the morning which he misconstrued as on open invitation to stagger into our villa and hang out for a while. Lucky for all of us that Steph didn’t light up in front of him, or his breath could have blown us all to kingdom come! I think he spent the remainder of the day hibernating…poor John 😦

Gusti joined us for lunch at the Mal Bali Galleria and we booked in for Christmas Dinner at Pavone, in Legian. A huge 5 course meal with welcome drinks, bruschetta starter, seafood entree, roast beef and turkey main meal with vegetables, christmas pudding dessert with sherbet sorbet and tea/coffee with mince tart and gingerbread.

They also had a Bali Santa who gave Candice a gift (a packet of plastic zoo animals – score!), and they played Christmas carols on the baby grand piano while we ate. The staff, Yudha and Dedy, were absolutely top notch and Mark, the owner, even greeted us and thanked us as we left (something we didn’t see him do to any of the other customers). But then again, nobody else was sporting such festive headwear…

Only the cool kids 🙂

The funniest part of the night that almost called for ringing the ambulance to administer oxygen to Irene and Stephie, was when Irene ordered her coffee “white.”

“Sorry, mama. We don’t have white coffee, only black. But we can give you black coffee…with milk?”

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Space Invaders

I’ve been living alone in this huge two story villa for 4 weeks now and finally the love of my life has returned (with some family members in tow), to brighten my life and prevent me from going “Island Crazy” without them. A welcome invasion of this huge empty space, if ever there was.

So, Fiona and “bubindabelly”, arrived about 2pm in the arvo and I picked them up “quick-az” on the scooter in an absolute flash. I was in and out the airport quicker than a teenage boy in a brothel.

And speaking of space invaders, Fiona’s arrival at the villa must have been like being visited by aliens from another planet, when she walked in the door, right into the waiting open arms of…

A 60 year old American man…in his underpants!

My next door neighbour, John. He’s a nice guy with a big heart but, an even bigger pair of y-fronts. His heart is definitely in the right place, but his underpants are usually not (up around his neck).

So we talked, swam…and looked away every time he climbed in and out the pool.

About 11pm that evening, I picked up Fiona’s Entourage (mother Irene, sister Stephanie and niece, Candy). Only this time, I was in a cab with our Bali Taxi driver friend, Gede, so we were in and out the airport slower than a 40 yr old Bigfoot enthusiast losing his virginity.

So, ’tis the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring except...the hacking cough and moonlight twinkling of a sixty-year old man bobbing for Xanax.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Final Destination

Ever had a déjà Vu moment? Where you think or feel like you’ve done this before?

Today marks the 4th and last time I have to extend my visa in order to stay on this beautiful island…

Sure, that’s repetitive, but not the kind of déjà Vu I’m talking about. I actually mean, the Final Destination type of déjà Vu. The kind where you notice a string of seemingly unrelated incidents that cause a path of destruction that kills everyone before any of it actually happens!

That’s the kind of déjà Vu moment I had in the traffic this morning. Now don’t send in the Coast Guard or call 911, nothing actually happened and just to be clear…NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED! (Was that déjà Vu?)

I had the moment where I’m riding along and suddenly become aware of the guy weaving on the scooter in front of me on his mobile phone, then looked next to me at the uncovered ute with a pile of sharp aluminium table legs shifting in the back. All coming to a stop at the traffic lights behind the Elpigi tanker and the other guy on another scooter who lights up a cigarette!

But thanks to my black ops training from watching 5 Final Destination movies…I did what any hero would do…

I got my ass outta there!!

Unlike the Final Destination movies and fortunately for me, nothing happened and nobody died, which means “Death” won’t be looking me up in the Karmic phone book anytime soon.

And such is the start to yet, another crazy day in this beautiful crazy paradise 🙂

Mangku Magic

If you’ve seen the movie Eat Pray Love, then you’ll no doubt be familiar with Julia Robert’s spiritual advisor or Mangku (Hindu Priest), Ketut, from whom she seeks spiritual guidance. I too, sought out my own Mangku (I Made Winaya), and had my own experience.

The first thing that struck me about him, was how much he resembled my grandfather, who passed away over 10 years ago. Same body shape and manner, only instead of looking like a barrely little German man, he looked more like Colonel Sanders but with a much longer beard.

He didn’t tell me my future so much, but assured me everything will be fine and that I should maybe meditate a little more, just a few minutes every day, to reconnect me with “whomever or whatever may/may not be out there”. As he put it…

“Nobody knows if God exists, but…maybe?” 🙂

I’m not sure I’m convinced. But he did say he liked me very much, because I have a quiet face. Clearly, he hasn’t heard my mouth. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m not really one for offensive language, but I do tend to talk a lot…about…stuff. Mostly…weird, but hey, what else would you expect from the mind of a genius?

He also pretty much insisted that I bring Fiona to meet him and he will bless her stomach for good luck with the baby, so we’ll probably schedule that in, once she’s back.

All in all, it was quite an interesting encounter. I was a little disappointed he didn’t have a long staff and float on a pink cloud, but then, I may have confused a Mangku, with Monkey Magic. The nature of either one is still…irrepressible!