Do you want my job?

In the van I told Carla and Peter that only once before had I been this moved by the presence of human beauty in the world: Italy – Tuscany, Verona and the hot Southern towns near Ostuni and Taranto. That’s not to say there weren’t difficulties in this week of wonders. The jungle’s advance infantry, air-force, and artillery love the sweltering heat of the rainy season, and the rain loves the rainy season, too. By the end of the week, despite the breathtaking cuisine and caring help at the joglos, the ants were living in the fridge and freezer (don’t ask me how they did it, but I often would have enjoyed living in the freezer, too), several more in the open-air bathroom thanked me for the free accommodation in my toothbrush (that’ll teach me to rinse it out better), my left ankle had 19 bites on it, and a couple of roaches were giving lessons to lesser bugs on the kitchen floor. Days without rain nonetheless featured rotating wetness schemes: shower-bug lotion-water-sunblock-bug lotion-steam-sweat-beer-water-swim-beer-bug lotion-steam-sweat-beer-shower-beer and so on. Today began just like that, but substituting “pack” for “swim”, and “tea” for “beer” so it was far less fun. After dropping Carla, Peter, and Kate at the airport, wonder-driver Dewa and I filled the hours between our two flights with a trip through the nearby tourism capital of Bali, called Kota (hideous hideous seedy tourism) and its surroundings along the white sand beaches of the south, culminating in a near sunset visit to the 1700 year-old coastal temple of Tanoh Lot. While the temple, built 1700 years ago by local villagers to sanctify the spot where a visiting shaman meditated for months in order to cure the villages of a plague infestation, is remarkably tastefully marketed and sold to tourists, the rest of the area I never need to see again. Not since college had I gone a whole week anywhere in the world without seeing a McDonald’s or Starbucks… and the streak was resoundingly broken today, near a beach awash in little plastic kethup containers.


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