1 - And So It Began...

Non Sequiter... Maybe that word sums me up. Maybe it sums up the whole shit show. Maybe our lives are nothing more than a string of ‘em held together by the cosmic glue left over from the bang that lead to all the other banging. So bang me. Bang me. They ought and take a rope and hang me. A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement. Sapiens. That’s us. And me…

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2 - 'Why?' and 'Where to?'

Bali, I thought. Indonesia? Volcanoes? Dragons? Yoda? Seemed like as good a place as any to begin my exile. If I didn’t like it, I could always move on. East to Pacific island nations, northwest to Asia, south to New Zealand. So, like that I bought a Lonely Planet, made a reservation, and prepared for my escape. I’m gonna eat, pray, and go fuck myself, I thought…One dickhead’s search for anything…

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3 - What Hath I Wrought?

Nothing like being haunted by the ghosts of decisions past. I’m now living in the “much later”. So, what would I do differently? Mmmm, tough to say even with hindsight goggles. A better contingency plan? Probably. I thought painting myself into a corner would force a reckoning. Maybe it did, just not the one I was hoping for. I thought I might find an answer, a calling somewhere out there. The thing is, somewhere…

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4 - Indonesia Timeline

1670-1900 - Dutch colonists bring the whole of Indonesia under one government as the Dutch East Indies. 

1928 - A youth conference pledges to work for "one nation, one language, one people" for Indonesia.

1942 - Japan invades Dutch East Indies.

1945 - The Japanese help independence leader Sukarno return…

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5 - Bali Bali Oxen Free (Bali, Indonesia)

I wasn’t prepared for women in tank tops and asschunk-bursting Daisy Dukes. And all the males at varying stages of mullethood? Didn’t see that in the brochure. Gold chains, wily chest hair, and man boobs were the norm. I’d like to tell you there was irony involved. I can’t. It felt like the whole trailer park won an all-inclusive vacation. Jet lag did not aid my analysis…

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10 - People Across The Lake (Trunyan, Bali, Indonesia)

The residents are reputed to be descendants of the Bali Aga, the island’s original inhabitants who predate Hinduism. They’re well known for, among other things, unique “burial” methods. The dearly departed are placed on the ground, not in it. Bamboo enclosures serve as temporary mausoleums in an isolated cemetery accessible only by boat. And there they lay to decay the old-fashioned way. Have a nice stay…

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11 - Lake With Two Names & Pura Puncak Mengu (Danau Beratan, Bali, Indonesia)

Temple in the morning. Temple in the afternoon. I thought I would take an easy hike up the small mountain (Mengu) running north/south alongside the lake’s east edge. Lonely Planet implied the ease, but it was a somewhat grueling slog. Rain added to the gruel as did the faded path. Wet and slippery. That’s how I like my mountain trails…

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12 - Pura Sebatu & Kecak (Bali, Indonesia)

And then there was the airport run. Singapore was my destination of choice for renewing my Indonesian visa. Pop in for a few days, get an extendable two-month visa from the embassy, fly back to Bali. I had a problem with the airline’s website, so it was either buy a ticket from an agency in Ubud or skip the middleman. I went with the latter. Not sure it was worth the trouble as it required a drive…

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13 - Eat, Pray, & Love Ketut Liyer (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

From my second post, you may recall my reasons for choosing Bali as a launch pad. I couldn’t decide where to start my sojourn. A copy of Eat, Pray, Love fell into my lap. I read it and thought, Indonesia might be legit. I was too lazy to choose, so I let a middle-aged white woman’s memoir be my divining rod. The book didn’t cradle my soul, but it did peak my interest in…

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14 - Under The Red Umbrella (Singapore)

Ever heard of Doctor fish therapy? You have now. Basically, it’s a fish pedicure. You stick your feet in a tank and let hundreds of Garra ruffa suck the dry skin off your feet. The American I met at the hostel shared his experience at a nearby mall. Ten dollars for ten minutes? Count me in. It’s like a hundred tiny mouths tickling your toes. I bet it’d work wonders for a chapped ass. Next time.

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15 - Cremate This (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

I saw things. Mildly unsettling things. Bali is tropical. Balmy. People get warm. Children swim. A group of kids went for a dip in an irrigation/drainage ditch along the road next to a rice field. Didn’t see a cremation, but I did witness nude boys splash around in, what I can only assume, was exceedingly filthy water. Highlights? Well, one kid took a prolonged aqua squat which could only mean one thing: Poopy time…

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I - Be Yourself Unless

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all. Just be yourself, there is no one better.

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16 - Rotating With Cyrus Copeland (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

This meeting, held at a Ubud restaurant, was brimming with odd right from the git-go. Cyrus and I are tall fellows, and on this night, both happened to be wearing black t-shirts. That was sufficient for repeated instances of mistaken identity, me for him…and two for tea.

Cyrus’ Rotary Club liaison, the woman who organized the presentation…

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17 - Phantom of the Honda (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

Nothing aids neuroticism like fear of the unknown. Pretend time was fun, but I was no mechanic. I figured I should have a real one do a service check (Honda dealership in Denpasar). And then I had another service check (small Ubud shop) to check out the first service check. Check? The dealership missed brake pads worn to the metal and an aged master cylinder. This is odd. Did they not miss an opportunity to bilk a gringo? Or did they switch out newer parts for bad? 

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18 - Sand In The Hourglass (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

Goddamn social butterfly. That was me. I spent more time with Cyrus, whiling away an evening or two with stimulating conversation and spectacular sunset vistas. He was renting a place smack dab in the rice fields. You might say the only thing missing was artificially colored baby chickens, but you’d be wrong. We had those. They’re sold on the street and are popular during festival time, which means all the time because there’s a festival for everything. PETA members would not…

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19 - Underbelly Bali (Black Magic, Indonesia)

After the aide recovered a couple hours later (no memory of the incident), she claimed to know who had done this to her. No question about it. An adversary orchestrated her possession, and she knew the responsible party. Payback time. Duuum-duh-dum-duuum…duuuuuuummm! I was told if I questioned any expatriate living long-term in Bali as to whether they believed in magic, the answer would be unanimous: As sure as god made little green apples. The Pope does shit in the Vatican.

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