Archive for the 'Indonesia' Category

The Return pt. 1

I’ve been back 9 days now, but was hit two days in by a SEVERE flu and have just come around enough to tell the tale. Definitely one of the weirdness illnesses I’ve ever felt, no nasal or digestive issues, but backache and headache – like I’d been hit by a truck. My head wrapped in cotton and underwater, except for the severe pain. It was in the paper, and this was something local, not picked up in transit. I wasn’t sure I’d make it for a while there, but of course did. But skipped Thanksgiving, not wanting to expose the young and older.

But leaving Bali: I had about two weeks after I quit the job. Irma was still visiting for the first week and we made the most of it. Then I had to mail a package back and try to get rid of some other stuff. Unfortunately I bought some stuff from another family moving back to the USA the very morning before I quit. SO I had to get rid of that stuff too. And without much time to sell, I ended up giving most of it to my buddy Randi who owns a restaurant, and some to Illuh in exchange for massage.
When I had the tooth pulled, I met Jim and tried to help him get his youtube footage up, did eventually, but he grew increasingly co-dependant and annoying. I was also trying to do some final visits around the island, including some rice terraces on the northern side of Ubud I hadn’t seen before.

Then it was departure day. I still hadn’t sorted selling my western helmet, which was too nice to just give away, but en route to the airport where I’d meet the son of the bike rental guy, Johnny himself was mysteriously behind me with his wife. They said they’d noticed the sticker in traffic. And his wife bought the helm for a decent price. So I had some $ to start myself off in the US, a ticket to KL, the departure tax, one night hotel there, and the big flight: KL-Guangzhuo-LA-ATL. I had a source for Valium on Bali, but ate up the rest before I left. It would have been nice for the long leg, but didn’t want to risk Malaysian and Chinese customs.
I also had another phone card the school had given me when I’d arrived. I tried to sell it to a few folks but had had no takers. Just as well, as in the airport, waiting to depart I realized the thing had expired. But luckily was able to get airport wifi to chat with Irma some more. Then on to KL, sleeping a tiny bit during the brief flight.

Bali’s graffiti seems to have gone up a notch

So I have inquiries out on this XU7 character, but I was digging their stencil work around Kuta and Seminyak. It’s FUX backward, so not sure they call themselves XU7, but as the F style looks like a 7 it works for me.

and ya gotta love the 3PO Buddha and Samuri Vader

I’m under the assumption this person is an Aussie, but there are some great (assumed) Indo talent too. For example, this bandit painter (who may be from Jogja, a known graf hotbed), and the animal skeletal painter…

HSK and the twisted bandit painter might be one in the same…

Also did two “infiltrations” while over there, though in Bali that essentially just means walking into abandoned, crumbling buildings. Not much risk of being “busted”, but the more natural dangers exist: falling, things falling on you, spitting cobras… ya know. Filmed most of the second one, and the light rain didn’t help any.

Lots more from Bali, and elsewhere in the world in my Urban Art Flickr album. Any other info on XU7 or anything else seen is always appreciated, just write me!

Balinese dance

I’m in LAX at the moment on a layover. I spent an evening in KL’s seedy Chinatown and had some adventures, wandered with a Spaniard (or Catalan he’d probably prefer I say…) over to see and shoot the Petronas Towers; had a few hours and beers in Gungzhou; and an amusing rural Chinese seatmate on the flight over. But those tales must wait. For now, taking advantage of Western Wifi, I’ll get up Balinese stuff I’ve backlogged. Wasn’t gonna go in to use wifi at the school after I quit…

So I believe this is actually’s Illuh’s niece, but sadly I never really got her name. After Illuh and I met online, her spa became my regular place. I always sort of felt like I was cheating on Ayu, who ran my previous standard weekly massage place in 2011 and the first few months after returning to Bali, but Illuh’s buddy rate couldn’t be beat. And this niece was pro and strong, though it was all just chaste, full nude, oil massage, Balinese standard, with no hanky panky. I’d been invited to a family wedding in Dec I’ll obviously miss, but sweety did some dance for me in the spa, as she knew I was excited about attending the authentic Hindu wedding and bummed I’d miss it, and the dance in which she was quite skilled and proud. The bozo coming in and off camera was some workman who thought he was a clown. But it doesn’t detract too much…

Converted motorbike

Met this 72 year old kook in the hospital the other day when I had my tooth pulled. He dodged the Vietnam war draft in ’68 and hasn’t been back since, racing bikes in Europe and South America, living in Thailand and Indonesia. He took me to lunch and wanted to pick my brain about life in the US,as he’s considering a move back after all of this time. He’s not gonna believe it, and I tried to steer him away from his plan of Florida… Nor is he ready for the tech changes. I went back to his place today to help make and upload youtube footage for R+D on his eco-friendly bike conversions. He claimed, and proved, net ignorance, and laid a bunch of passive aggressive buddhist bullshit on me, “you yanks, and all of your anger!”, while whining the entire time himself, but we worked it out in the end…

And he made lunch and paid me for my time. Best of luck to you Jim!

Big changes…again

So the day before Halloween, Irma flew over from Java. Things were understandably a bit awkward at that first meeting, as I was late due to the road changes…and the airport changes…and ending up at Intl instead of domestic. But I found her, a bit sweaty and worried. Then we had to make our way back to where ever I’d parked in my state of panic. I asked her if I smelled of pumpkin, as a class and I had carved one that day. She said no.

But once we got back to my place, all was obviously well. First kiss on the rooftop where I love to watch the sunset. And all we had promised and teased one another with went down in a most amicable way. After all, one never knows how much a girl is teasing to build the tension, and technically a Muslim girl at that… But it was all good, and it was important to me we were sober that first night, as I knew All Hallows Eve would be a wasted party of story telling etc. Saturday we went to the books swap at Dijon (the girl loves books like no other), massages, and a fancy dinner. Sunday up to Ubud and the spa at Tjampuhuan.

So I was generally as stress-free as I get. We had an amazing weekend! I blew a lot of money, but it was the only chance for fancy dinners, as I’d be working until 9 during the week while she read and watched Adventure Time back at my place. But on Monday, in the last period of the day, there was an incident: this class of older teen/adults are a bunch of jokers and refuse to take things seriously. It was the class I was officially “observed” teaching days before, and it all went well, though the one who irks me the most was absent that day. But he was there Monday, talking in Bahasa, joking around, disrupting class. I asked him to leave. I had to do it several times as he didn’t get it, and I was relatively calm, but pissed. So Irma had been down at the beach all day and I was going straight from work to pick her up. But the boss wanted to discuss what had happened – at 9 pm, when I was “off”. I told her, then told her to watch the footage from the cameras they’d recently installed in all the classrooms. When that instillation happened, teachers were freaking out: would excessive game playing be reported? Cell phone use? Was every class now an observation? I argued, at the time, that everyone is always being recorded in the modern era anyway, and it worked both ways, as our protection should a student make an untrue accusation. So that’s where I was now – no time to waste…watch the fucking tape and we’ll talk tomorrow. I didn’t use the F word, but it got heated. I was leaving right then and the boss was insisting I sit and discuss it. I demanded my $ and passport from the school safe, where I must keep them, as I’ve been working without the proper permits and can’t have a legal bank account. My boss is also an Aries and decided to pull a powertrip. When two Aries butt heads it’s bound to get ugly. After several demands I was given what was mine, was on the way out, and we’d discuss it tomorrow. I didn’t know if I’d just been fired, or quit. It sucked, as now Irma was more reason than ever I wanted to be in Indonesia.

So I had a shitty, sleepless, stressed out night. Next day I had a calm talk with the boss, asking if I myself could record the entire thing. She agreed. What choice did she really have? In the end, she said she understood why I’d sent him out but claimed I hadn’t given enough warning before taking action. I’ve been “warning” those assholes for weeks. They aren’t 6 years old. In the US, when you fail a class, that’s it, and no $ back. The real world, no coddling. And I wasn’t failing him, just sending him out for half a class for a good “think”. I was welcome to stay at the job but some things had to change. The boss and I agreed each saw the other as incredibly arrogant. I told her I’d decided to go. Somehow she was shocked when she realized I meant: that day. If I only had 2 weeks in Indo, and Irma for another week, I wasn’t gonna waste another hour in that shit school, where I was expected to work harder under worse conditions for less money than I did in 2011 (not the schools fault really the economy has devalued 30%) and without documents the contract said they must provide (again…in current political climate: can’t). So, I could understand if I owed them $ for the next two weeks of the visa extension they’d paid for. But psycho bosslady said she’d also see if I owed anything for the paperwork to obtain the document I hadn’t received. Which could mean I’d owe them several million IDR. Total bullshit.

“You’re gonna wanna make sure that’s a realistic number”, I said. “I’d hate to have to go to Immigration and tell them what’s going on around here with the illegal teachers…” And I meant it, as several were friends, I didn’t want to endanger.

“Are you threatening me?!”, she asked.
“No. Just be sure it’s a good number you can back up with paper work.”

So I waited 40 minutes, collecting my things and saying goodbye to other teachers. I was also pissed because one higher up had given me his word if anything happened with the govt., the school had my back. But this Aussie yesman made me this promise while knowing he himself was quitting. When I met his replacement, I asked if he’d back up the promises made, and of course he said he’d have to look into it. Meanwhile 2 weeks had passed and I’d heard nothing, having since lied to a govt. official that I was an “unpaid observer” and giving the fake address the school provided me with. This Bule had had enough bullshit. But sure enough, the boss came and said not only did I not owe them any $ (the threat, or would this have been the case anyway?), but they also paid me for the additional day I’d worked on the spot. I was almost ashamed. Almost. Laters, fools.

So I had to give Irma some bad news about our near future, but that we’d make the most of the immediate one. She’s quite a woman. Taught herself Japanese and English, much the same sick sense of humor as I. I’ll be a gentleman and not give boudoir detail beyond saying she’s “delightfully experimental”.

And I lucked out and got a good price ticket out of KL Malaysia to ATL. I’ll spend a day there as I’ve never been to Malaysia. I have to leave in just over a week, get a tooth pulled and deal with moving, selling, shipping before then. But I’ll be back in the US for the holidays and am back at square one. Only now with strong feelings for a girl on the other side of the world. But generally feeling good, inspired, and with the ability to mold the future to be as I want it. Maybe more teaching in my future, maybe not. But done with Bali for now…

Halloween 2014 on Bali

I often have these grandiose plans for Halloween costumes than often don’t ever come together. If you don’t have an awesome party to go to, what’s the point? And for too many years I got lazy, threw on one of my Chinese jackets, did some makeup and was some variation of Shoalin Zombie. But this year I had the time, the audience, and the proper motivation. I hand sewed a Patrick Star costume. The choice become more obvious when you understand that certain things have an unexplained cult stauts in Indonesia. The Scorpions, as in the German band, are one (I mean does even the most die hard fan left in Germany still give a shit about the Scorpions?), and SpongeBob Squarepants is another. Everyone in Indo knows SB. Adults laugh at it like comedy has never reached such heights. I can’t explain it. I can only exploit the fact.

The costume had some faults. I’d cut the face hole too large and didn’t have enough material to make another hood. Even though I put elastic in the green felt shorts, they were slipping off all day. Not so great is a school full of kids… but of course I had other shorts underneath. And my week long hot date from Java, Irma, was visiting. But she was OK with me shaving my head, so it didn’t look quite so absurd poking too far out of the hood.
So I really thought my costume would blow the other teacher’s away, but everyone really “brought it” and there were some impressive ones, esp from the local staff. In all a great Halloween, the kids loved it, and I got to have a proper hedonistic Samhain celebration when I got home…

Take care of your teeth, kids

I didn’t. In childhood, I had regular dental. In my uninsured adult life, it’s lapsed. Basically a quarter century with only a few cleanings and some Chinese fillings. So some serious tooth pain started up over the weekend. Went to dentist today, things are better. First of all, it’s a very clean, modern, legit mini-hospital. Dr. Veeca is a former student at the school and friend of another teacher. Turns out the tooth I had filled in China back in ’09 had an abscess and was filling with fluid. At first it freaked me out when she said cyst, but this just means pocket of fluid as opposed to cancer cells I was picturing. So she removed the filling, painlessly, gave me some anti-biotics, and if it looks good on Monday, they’ll pull it, as the thing is dead. She knew, based on lack of sensitivity to hot/cold, but I doubted this as there was so much general pain, as the tiny pocket filled and the pressure just built back up the nerve line into my jaw. But when I could see her on the camera sticking the little pick way up into the hole in the center of the tooth, “OK, ya, it’s dead”.

If the pulling goes well (Dr. mentioned chance of complications that would send me to a specialist) I’ll get a falsey in time, like a one tooth denture. I asked about a silver one, just for effect, but the doc nixed this, maybe mis-translating or thinking I was nuts. But I can always get one later. As scared as I was before I went in this morning, pain since Sunday increasing hourly, pain meds doing less each dose, not sleeping well night before last as I had to go to immigration with the lies the school has prepped for me (for now), I realize now I’m sort of lucky it happened here instead of the US. The consultation, removing the filling, x ray(!) and anti-biotics were $50 total! Pulling the tooth, if it goes well, is supposed to only be around $30. So it’s actually all much cheaper to go through here. And I appear to be in good hands. Schools insurance doesn’t cover dental (whose does anymore?) but at these prices, I’ll live.

Kevin Seconds has a later era song about his “punk rock teeth”. But the song sort of sucks and there’s nothing amusing about the situation. But I will recommend dental tourism, common sense applied.

Revisit Ubud and trying to kick start Indo dating

So I joined a free singles site. So far I’ve gotten mail from a few ladies on Java (one of whom I’m becoming more smitten with all the time and might be reading this, so won’t say too much), but as I’m on Bali, would prefer hearing from those here. Enter Iluh (ee loo, “I” pronounced as in the capital of Peru). We met on the fly, she calling and saying meet me here and I’m bringing a female friend. OK fair enough, safety first… And then we hung out again over the weekend, I saw the spa she owns and we went to the beach very near there with some other friends. But as she’s divorced with an 8 year old son, she’s looking for a serious dude/husband, not mental stimulation and possible jiggy jiggy, like me. So we’re more buddies. But I do hope I don’t have to go to Singapore on a visa run in Dec during the time of her sister’s wedding. It would be awesome to go to a Hindu “village” wedding, and have been invited.

But the day before I’d gone up to Ubud, hoping to hobnob a bit with the writer’s festival. It’s quite expensive and I wasn’t too impressed with the line up this (VS Naipaul had been the big name this year, before he cancelled…). But had Nick Cave been there, like he was in 2012, I would have gotten all groupy and paid big $. Anyway, not much evidence of the fest, mostly just the standard tourists in town. But I did meet a captivating German/Thai beauty, who of course has a dude in the States and was a bit too young to be age appropriate, but we still spent a pleasant few hours. Later I wandered out into the great fields near Sari Organic and saw these awesome wind machines, made in another village, but think I’ll need to get one. Also met a guy who gives two day carving courses for a great price. I have some amateur exp dabbling in wood and will take a class at some point.

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