Feb 4. People, Lazy Days and Squirrels

Jon’s words-

Yesterday we met some more interesting people all at the Elephant Cafe attached to Taman Indrakila where we are staying. I love the way we both can make contact with strangers.  For me it is being open like all Aussies are, direct and friendly or maybe it is just Queensland!

One was a young man from Dalby who has been around a lot and is working on some new energy Aether-energy technology here.  The South Koreans are also interested in this process as are the Yanks but the apparently Aussies have zero interest. He definitely felt Oz lacks the will to embrace.

Later in the afternoon while drinking our latte, a true mark of a labour supporter and greenies everywhere, we met three young folks, one from Russia married to a Ukrainian woman travelling with a mate from Belarus.  The lad from the Ukraine had excellent English having working in Sweden, Estonia, Portugal and other places where English is the medium.  The future and the planet is indeed theirs, neither looking particularly good.  Wonderful to meet people from countries like this!

Back to Bonney- I couldn’t take my eyes off the young Russian man, so beautiful was he, with dark hair in a man- bun, olive complexion a beautiful profile and startlingly alive large hazel eyes. I absolutely thought he was Southern European. He and his wife  are staying in Canggu, (the so- called digital nomad capital of Bali) in the large house of a friend where they come each year for a couple of months to re- charge or did he say re-load?

Such an intelligent and lovely person, a vegan whose politic and social conscience matched ours. Interestingly, he is so disillusioned by world politics that he wants to absent himself totally.

This conversation followed on the heels of another with one of the guys, Wayan, working behind the bar here, again smart, treading lightly on the planet in his beliefs, with impressive English given he is self- taught, like our ‘daughter Wayan’, probably having had little education.

A lazy day today, we’ve really done nothing but eat, sleep (Jonny of course), swim (Bonney of course) and write. Early in the morning we have a clear view of Kintamani, one of Bali’s big volcanic mountains which blew some years ago coming very close to ‘our’Wayan’s parents land. Soon it disappears even in the absence of obvious cloud. It’s really too hot for me to do much so we take breakfast and light lunch here at Elephant. It is a wonderful place to sit with expansive views over the old rambling gardens, gully & ridge and we know and have fun with the wait-staff of whom we have favourites remembered from last visit. I envisaged that this time away would be a time for writing for me, both journal and poetry so am perfectly content to proceed with both.

Looking from the Elephant down to the old pool below and vice versa to the Elephant above,this is what most captivates me:

Greenery shudders in the still air,
my eyes and brain seek explanation
until I spot a furry thing streaking
down a banana leaf, tiny against 
the velvet expanse, tail delivering 
its semaphore message.

It leaps, confident in its momentum,
from rippled edge to frangipani, 
scurries across limbs gnarled as an 
old man, a diminutive speed-freak in 
its private playground.

I concentrate to keep apace.
Before my eyes, a virtuosic display of
aerial sportsmanship, a flying machine
airborne time and again as it scales 
the treetop heights then dashes down 
a sturdy yellow bamboo and out of sight.

Overhead, all shimmers 
to stillness.

On our morning walk yesterday I saw a poster advertising jazz at a venue in our immediate area. Turns out it is part of Bridges restaurant of ‘casual fine dining set on seven levels overlooking the gently flowing Wos River, one of Ubud’s culinary destinations ideal for memorable dining’. We decided to indulge, knowing we would not spend the money for the equivalent at home. What a lovely evening. A fifteen-minute, still hot  walk down the steep main road, motorbikes whizzing by, to the Campuan Gorge bridge. We enter thru various staircases into several levels of white painted plantation-style-meets-Bali architecture overlooking exotic trees and plants far below and looking up to the bridge that crosses the gorge, really unusual. Impeccable and gracious service, gorgeous food after which we were escorted still further down into the jazz venue with the same densely tropical overlook with comfortable couches and chairs, a bar and first class modern Balinese jazz quartet led by a woman. In the small audience, was a blond Ozzie woman who could not stop talking for a minute and too loudly at that. Jon felt irritated enough to move and after another few minutes I followed suit. He leant over to a couple sitting next to him saying ‘don’t you hate dumb blondes’ which amuses them both. As soon as the silly couple left we charged back to the comfortable couch! In all quite a treat!

Feb. 5, To Market To Market,No Fat Pig But Other Observations

It’s hot,32C with only 67% humidity but, as they say, feels like 38!

The old boy spends most of his time, between feeds, lying reading on the bed in our air conditioned room but with the expansive view through plate glass, the outside is brought inside so he can pretend he is indeed there! The view is what we most love about this place. It’s an older establishment and ,like us, not slick and glitzy and the environment, likewise. It has a slightly overgrown wild feel about it and is just glorious. The place is full of Russians and young yoga maidens in their slightly inappropriate gear and plenty of, mostly artistic, tatts! Amusing, and takes me back to living in Rome aged twenty-two, wearing undoubtedly equally inappropriate clothes- mini-skirts/ dresses and wondering why the Italian men were hot for me!

Went into town after breakfast this morning to beat the heat, a seven-minute/$4 taxi ride, perused the large market,made a few small useful purchases, visited the one really good bookshop buying a Nobel prize winning  Ishiguro and the NYTimes. Depressed myself reading how the Far Right in Europe is now considered the New Normal, as opposed to twenty years ago when it first re-emerged amidst much protest. Not having TV is great, a break from the over- exposure to coronavirus and bushfire news, neither good.


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