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28 March 2002

I am now an expert on Bali.

I spent last night and most of this morning typing a 40 page booklet that Dr. G has written about things to do, see, buy, and eat in Bali. He owns a house there and rents it out to folks and as a tour guide to this country that he loves, he leaves Rick Steeves in the dust.

The book first tells all the quirks of the house, such as the workings of the pool:

There is a constant in and out flow of fresh water from the spring across the river and the pool remains quite clean....the pool will, however, begin to get a little green after a week to 10 days. This is only algae and is still very safe to swim in. When it does get a little "thick" the caretaker will drain the pool and clean it.

The local "wildlife":

This and every house in Bali is infested with termites (in the wood)...That is why you see little piles/areas of tiny tan "granules" (or feel them underfoot) here, there and everywhere. Don't worry; they're "sterile"... Just a sign of "transitioning."

and the electricity in the house:

Ostensibly, the house as 220 volts. However, the wires to Ubud are somewhat small and during times of peak usage (6 a.m. - 9 p.m.), there is probably only 180-190 volts truly coming through the wires. Also, although we supposedly have 6,000 watts total service during these peak hours, I'm sure we get considerably less. Why do I mention this?? Because it impacts those appliances (blender, air conditioner) which require a modicum of "oomph" (more watts) to start them up. So: If the blender doesn't want to start, turn off all the big lights to start it up, then turn the lights back on again. For the air conditioner, you may not be able to use it during these hours.

(swell--be sure not to use the air conditioner during the heat of the day!!)

But it then goes on to talk about places to go--he is intimately so familiar with shops, restaurants, beaches, and out of the way places, that he tells you which footpath to take, which mailbox comes before a hidden entry way, how to get away from tourist Bali and, where to find the best dance shows (including a timetable for them), etc., etc.

It was quite fascinating, I have to admit. Much more interesting than typing chart notes and I got through the project (including downloading Balinese graphics from the Internet to decorate the pages) so fast that he was amazed.

I came back to the US just in time to spend the day at the office and get myself hopelessly frustrated when I came home. I distinctly remember bringing home a container of work to do--a tape to be transcribed and several other things that had to get done and it is just...gone. I've torn the house apart and it is nowhere to be found. My only hope is that my memory is no good and that I actually left it sitting on the desk when I left--but I'm 99% sure that I did not.

But I put worry behind me and went off, first to Mexico and then to France. We were attending a film festival and had to get to the theatre early to beat the crowds. I wasn't going to work all day and then have to cook a rushed dinner so we could get downtown in time. Instead we went to a Mexican restaurant near the theatre (it was a tossup between Taco Bell and a taqueria. The taqueria won). Fortunately I'd been so busy all day that I'd eaten hardly anything and had lots and lots of points left over, so had a vegetarian burrito, thinking that it pretty much used up my points, but when I got home and calculated, I'm still under for the day--and I am still, several hours later, stuffed.

The movie was Amélie and is part of a town experiment. We have two multiplex theatres here and when the second one was built, the idea was that at least one of the screens would show "art films," the kind of non-mainstream films that you have to go to San Francisco or Sacramento to see. However, that never happened and both movie houses--all 12 screens--show mainstream movies.

But they've decided to experiment with a film festival showing lesser known films and judging from the fact that they had to run the same films in two theatres and still had packed houses should tell the powers that be that this town is ripe for having such movies regularly.

Amélie is a darling movie, somewhat Mr. Hulot in its feel, but a total delight, devoid of any violence, vulgarity, or negativity. Just a feel good movie that I recommend.

So in one day I've covered the US, Bali, Mexico, France and back to Davis again. And I didn't even have to bring a passport.

Now if I could only find that blasted work folder.....


Quote of the Day

Before the beginning of great brilliance and beauty there first must be a period of complete chaos.

- I-Ching


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