Things to get used to again:
Strange currency, counting in the thousands again
Everyone ushering you into their store or offering services
Everybody saying you’re beautiful, great hair, nice tattoo, good body
No smoking inside? Why no smoking inside?? And what is inside anyway?
“Hallo miss, where you go?”
Don’t make an offer if you don’t intend buying. Once you start the haggling game the only way out for the salesman is with a profit turned over a now happy customer.
The townwide powerdrop, especially at night when everything goes dark
Things I forgot:
The kites they presumably put up as scarecrows.
To buy water so I have something to drink in the morning.
To bring a cap. When I checked it off my packlist, I thought I’d suffice with just a scarf to cover my head. On day one of course I got sunburned (it was quite cloudy so I slacked on applying sunblock) and now I don’t have anything to keep my face in the shade.
And the list grows by the day. Until they’re all normalities again.
That first day back here in my sweet Padangbai where the air is a mix of insence, petrol, gambalan and prayers and always someone somewhere playing a guitar, I woke a few times, threw off or pulled up my blanket and turned over. The so-maniest time I check it’s 8 am. Must mean it’s okay for me to get up and be done with the jetlag. The crowing of the roosters or the sun thrying to burn my curtains away was no measure; they start before 6am.
I still don’t feel like I’m on a holiday, or in an exotic place in far far away, so I’ll start with some housekeeping. I plan to spend some time here anyway.
After I’ve enjoyed the banana pancake Ibu baked me it’s time to see what’s become of Bias Tugel.
First things first: a dive. The water is still just perfect, cool, but not too cold, with gentle waves to play in.
As I dry off Nyoman comes running up to me, “My friend finally coming back!” At warung Pari I grab a cold coke, and again get a warm welcome back.
When I stroll down the boulevard, one of the Kinkyboys calls out to me “Hey! You remember me?”
Really? Wasn’t that my line? Don’t you have millions of blonde tourist girls traveling through your town every month? I know we were all on a very friendly foot one and a half year ago, but I’m very surprised they all do remember me.
About a week later I find out what it is: still most people stay for only one or a few nights tops. So whomever overstays a week makes an impression. In the mean time countless locals have started talking to me “I think I see you before. You was here maybe 2 year ago? Ya I remember.”
Slowly I’m finding my footing again, and though I still have a lot of contact with back home, I’m beginning to feel all too much at home here again. Like last time, I have plans to go to the Gilies and Lombok and see more or Bali. But the thought of leaving Padangbai doesn’t sit right just yet, even after two weeks.
So what do you do all day, wasting time in paradise? (As I planned to get all this writing and posting done and we all know that’s not progressing much.)
It’s pretty simple.
The waves at the beach keep me mesmerised during daytime.
At the beach I try to do a little reading, but before I finish a page I find myself in conversation with a fellow-traveler or local. Or I just get distracted by the little local kids letting themselves be thrown around in the whitewash. Or I let myself be tempted to another lesson at riding the waves on a boogie-bord by one of the boys. Or I indulge in a game of boss with the Paries. And of course I have to enjoy their exquisite cooking and freshly grilled fish at some point of the day.
At night it’s the boys playing hits like Another Brick In The Wall and I Want To Hold Your Hand and of course a lot of reggae, sharing Bintangs or arak balinese style; filling the same glass and passing it around the bar.
One night I find myself in Moonlight, one of the three bars around the central parking lot, who take turns so there’s live-music somewhere every night. The name and owner of this bar have changed in the mean time, but aside from that everything is much the same. Mario, the town fool, still bangs the tambourine, the same band still jams, and chain-smokes even while playing. Bob Marley is still favourite.
I’m sorry I haven’t found anything inspiring to write about yet. Sometimes change is good, but I guess sometimes same old is just better.
And it looks like things are going to be quite different from what I planned. Or well, it all remains to be seen. In the end, the only plan you can make is not to make any plans. Which is what I initially said I’d do.