Friday, July 17th
For some unknown reason my internal clock and compass have made their own adjustments to life in Bali. I wake at 4 a.m., ready to start my day. That would be three in the afternoon at home. I have no idea why this works. I need a nap in the afternoon for an hour, and then fall asleep around ten or 10:30 pm. My personal compass is an even poorer quality mechanism. Because I am on the side of the river gorge in the middle of a forest, I don’t see much sky from my kitchen, where I have set up my computer on the table. It is also very hazy in the morning so the sun is obscured. My compass keeps telling me north is south, and the sun isn’t helping me out. Maybe it is because I am living on the other side of the equator, plus my head is facing south instead of north in my bed. It has me slightly disoriented. I hope my needle swings in the correct direction soon!
Since Bali is situated so close to the equator, day and night are of equal length. The sun goes down at seven and comes up at seven. I am used to long summer days, so this too is bewildering. I took a walk this morning around the prawn ponds, along the river, and through Dawn’s garden. She is working at being self sufficient for her family’s vegetables. For breakfast we had an omelet stuffed with Thai basil, garlic, shallots, Indonesian spinach, and feta. I am sure I reek, exuding Thai basil and garlic from every pore.
After breakfast we drove to the city of Klungkung, which was once the centre of Bali’s most important kingdom. I knew what direction we were going because the sun was out! We were headed to a family compound that sells cloth, to purchase some fabric for clothing. One of Dawn’s housekeepers, Ketute, is also a seamstress, and she is going to make some jackets for me! I purchased three different pieces of batik that were still stiff with wax, which we will have to boil out before Ketute can begin sewing on them. They are gorgeous, and it is difficult to believe they were hand woven and dyed by Balinese women, instead of being made on huge machines. We visited two different rooms in the compound – in one room were rainbow stacks of lightweight cotton in solid colors, and the other room contained prints: batiks, stripes, and ikat patterns, also in cotton.
Next we stopped in the city market, which consisted of a number of sprawling buildings stuffed with stalls that sold everything imaginable. Our goal was the fabric sellers tucked deep in the warrens of a large, central building. I procured a stunning, diaphanous shawl with a paisley print in turquoise and rust. After that purchase, we drove to another shop that sold the hand-formed frog closures for the soon-to-be jackets, as well as matching thread. And then home. It takes a long time to go just a few miles here, because of the traffic, road conditions, and the geography of the country. Because the rivers run north and south, so do the highways. Very few roads cross east and west, so roundabouts and backtracking are necessary to get from point a to point b. A five mile “as the crow flies” trip might end up being fifteen or twenty miles. Add in two thousand mopeds and a road that is fifteen feet wide, and you have quite an adventure that might be an hour in duration!
Freeway, Bali style
We were both ready for a nap when we got home. After our lie-down, Dawn made mint juleps (sans alcohol) from mint in the garden, fresh limejuice, and palm sugar, for a treat. There was pad thai for dinner. It was delicious, and just a touch warm in deference to my weak, northern latitudes palate. I blissfully fell asleep at 10:30, after my attempt to read failed.