Padangbai Weekly

sunset padi
(One week ago) At the first day of the fifth week I take a day off.
I’ve taken plenty days off already, or however you call it when you’re still in the holiday-phase of your indefinite travel, so basically my honeymoon with me. However, most of those were due to hangover. Or it was a day off from writing to spend the entire day at the beach, playing in the waves, playing cards, guitar; generally kicking it in an active manner.
I made a new friend who’s taken it upon himself to improve my surf skills. So all I really suffer today is the muscle aches from my first day on the board in over a year.
All in all, a good moment to reward myself by taking the time to finish The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared -a hilarious read!- with a fresh pressed mango in the comfort of my fan, on my bed; as I’m starting to notice the lack of sofa again.

Careful what you wish for

I was telling my friend the bar owner/big boss about the idea that was gathering in my mind about my leg-sleeve. I know he’s always promoting his cousin who is tattooer, so should have known better than to bring it up. I mentioned before that once you ask for a price, you open negotiations and there is no way back. Apparently it can happen even sooner.
“Ok ya we can see abouts that tomorrow, I call my cousin to come here.”
“Oh, but I’m really not sure yet! I’ve only just started toying with the idea…”
“Ya no problem, he make the design first, then you can see if you like. If not is no problem. You have reference you like? Just prints it out and then we see.”
Calling the cousin. And though it’s been a month now that I’ve heard mainly Bahasa Bali, and I’m doing my best to learn, it’s such a quicksilver tongue, I never catch what they’re saying really.
“Ok already he comes. Tomorrow afternoon.”
“Oh, eh, okay. But no decisions yet, right. So can you give me a price estimate?”
“No that depends. First he make the design, then we decide.”

When I see my buddy the next day I tell him again I’m not sure. And I’m just getting such good friends with the surfboard; I don’t want to leave it for a week while the tattoo heals.
“No, four days is fine! My cousin already on his way now.”

A few hours later I’m explaining what I want to Wayan, the tattooer who drove all the way from Kuta. His english isn’t very good so my friend acts as interpreter. Wayan sees the lifelike image I found and says he can do that. The work I’ve seen of him implies he could, even though that’s on dark skin in black shades instead of full colour.
The price discussion comes up again, and it’s much more than I expected, but I feel bad about the guy driving all this way for nothing. After some discussion it drops one-third, and for european standards it’s still many cheap.
But halfway it shows he has no experience with light skin, there’s no shading and it’s obvious it’s going to be nothing like what I wanted. Too far in now, so I’m just lying back – on my own bed; my room’s been turned into a studio for the evening.
I’ll just have to find a qualified artist to fix it up.

Second of the clichés I had to go through just to find out, in the name of journalism of course.

The other was loaning a (local; all my friends are locals really) friend money, because his sister had had an accident and needed to pay for the damage and would otherwise have gone to jail.
You hear these stories of westerners being ripped off loaning money to help out family members, so I was cautious.
But I want to help out a friend where I can, and I want to believe in the good of people. So against better judgement I decided to gamble the 3 million rupiah.
I know you would have all called me crazy for doing so, so I didn’t go public with this until I had it all back.
But this one went all right!

(This week) I finally find the time to finish this post, sitting in the fast-boat shop of my friend’s uncle, where I get wifi from the next-door restaurant while the boys are playing football on a PS2, shouting at the screen in their adorable accent, trying to impress me with their english. More and more am I blending in with local life, sharing some arak and a pack of kretek cigarettes.
After this we’re grilling the fish a friend just caught, at another fiends grandpa’s place.
Good times ahead.
I was going to leave this town finally today, but the friend I was going to take this trip with couldn’t go today because his cousin is in the hospital. Instead I got a place to stay with a friend for a few days, before I go hop some of the neighbouring islands with another friend.
Good times ahead!
And last night another girl who’d gotten stuck in Padangbai had to leave for home. A sad thought, I feel for her. And I’m very happy with the visa extension I got to spend another month in this country (read: this town) As much as I am curious to see what comes of another friends invite to start a restaurant here together.
Again I say: good times ahead!

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Surf, ink and Kuta clubs

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Day LVIII – MAI 15

Another early morning at the surf. Today we learn more about the conditions out there: on-, off- and sideshore, gutters, banks, the rip and the lull, the eskimo etc.
We stay out much longer and go back in after an early lunch at Warung Garung; amazing good food by the way!
The waves and current are a lot stronger today and it’s gotten pretty crowded, so I didn’t get a lot more action than yesterday. But I’m finding my groove, and I’m learning to steer.
When we get back to the villa I feel my legs and shoulders object.

The Bahase Scandinavia is still all around, so I finally started that Bahasa Indonesia podcast I downloaded back home. Another week to learn, before I set out on my own again.

I thought I should get a job to get me by, the 150€ budget I have left isn’t going to do. So when we’re at tattoo Tuesday in Deus Ex Machina where one of the girls is getting some of that free ink done I ask the owner if he’s hiring. He tells me he can’t though. He’s an American, so the government is already watching his every move, and I don’t have a working visa, so that’s that.
I’m thinking of having ink as well, but decide against a spur of the moment thing for now.

Tonight we go out, to Kuta. A cab is ordered and picks us up at 9pm. Just 20 minutes later we’re downtown. And that includes the one-for-the-road pitstop we made at Circle Mart.
It’s early but the streets are already crowded, as is the club we first enter: Bounty.
Camille [Denmark] and I hide from it while sipping some needed cocktails in order to get us in the mood for this crazy crazy party party. Some boys find our hide-out and we’re forced to go back to our group and hide amongst them.
The place is packed with big muscly, drunken Aussies behaving like bavoons. And when one of the locals does a dance-off with one of our girls that’s loving the attention, security comes over to tell him off. What’s that about?!*

We decide to try a different place, the famous Skygarden, but loose part of the group on the way so end up going back and forth and getting a little drunk ourselves.

In the end I share a cab with just James at 3am, or I think it was. The rest is still out there, somewhere, or might have gone home, who knows…
Our driver says he knows the way but stops, according to our (poor) counting 7 times to ask.
Finally I recognise things and tell him how to get there. Successfully somehow; we end up by the right pool. I feel very much like a swim, but it’s probably rude: the house rules state no more using the pool after 11pm. So we crash.

* So it’s normal for the (local) security to take sides with those obscene tourists who bring in the money, instead of standing with their mainly innocent brothers…