25 September 2011

Ear Worms

Hi bloggers, Do you get phrases, lyrics and snippts of conversation stuck in your brain going round and round like a record while you process your actual experiences? I do. Here's some - all from memory and playing the CD so apologies for any misquoting.

Now the world can be an unfair place at times
But your lows will have their complement of highs
And if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of you or beat you
Raise your hand and wear your wounds with pride

You must stick up for yourself son, never mind what anybody else done  

Yeasayer, "Ambling Alp" - first heard played at Splendour in the Grass, on a Sunny mid-afternoon. Takes me back there every time I hear it

"For every pot, there is a lid"  
Russian Proverb, quoted by my hairdresser Natasha.

My therapist said/ not to see you no more
She said you're like a disease/ without any cure
She said I'm so obsessed that I'm becoming a bore, oh no
I think you're so pretty - oh - eh- oh

Moved out the house/ saw you moved next door
I locked you out/ you cut a hole in the wall
I found you sleeping next to me/ I thought I was alone
You're driving me crazy / when are you coming home

James, mid nineties indie band in their song "Laid"

When you're laying on your death bed and everyone's gathered around to say goodbye, you're never going to think "I wish I spent more time at work."  

My Dad, from his life experience, I gather.

We talk about it all night long
We define our moral ground
And when I fall into your arms
Everything; it comes tumbling down.

Nick Cave, "The Ship Song" - I have had this one on repeat ever since I was about 17 and bought the Good Son album after seeing hime play live at the first national, touring Big Day Out (199-cough-3)

11 September 2011

Merching for my snooze, part 3

It's other people really, isn't it? That's where stories come from. Vistas, nature, monkeys and all aside. Unless the monkey sits up on his hind legs and recites from the Rubyiat there's not a huge amount you can say about him is there?

What I learned today - I don't really *like* bargaining. Probably just cultural upbringing. One is supposed to remain chilled and smiley, but I just don't care about objects and gewgaws enough to try to get 30% off some crumpled old lady.

10 September 2011

Searching for my muse, Part 2

It’s impossible not to be a clichĂ© right now. Sitting, as I am, in a beautiful garden, veritably neck-deep in frangipanis, my room overlooks the terrace where a steady stream of variously grey-haired, be-saronged solo women tippity tap away on lap tops in the early evening. We are a vertible hoard I swear: in the cafĂ© over the road there were no less than three this morning - one even had an ipad with an eco-organic-recycled slip cover.

Yesterday I went looking for that slippery siren on a push bike. Much like the tour experience in many parts of the world, the brochure promised to experience the REAL *insert place name here* which we can of course we can all see past as Marketing can’t we – as we are picked up by one of I think about four mini buses operating that day, eating in large barns, getting told how coffee is made (let me guess, picked, shelled then roasted, right?) and being given the low-down on rice farming.

But eventually, coast downhill we did, serene it was, and a porthole view of other people’s lives, we saw. Just quietly, I quite like having a nosy into hundreds of front yards and fields as you can do on bike and having practiced this in Nord-Holland. In this case though I can’t even say at least we were quiet, because the van following downhill was probably rumbling enough to annoy the locals with tinnitus from their motor-scooters.

I’m grateful to have seen it actually, especially to someone who has taken it upon himself to explain bits and pieces of family life here, the ancestor shrines, the ritual of a new birth, where the placenta goes and how the main forces in life are a kind of triumvirate of hindu deities representing creation, destruction, and um, crumbs, what was that other one.. growth…? (Enlighten me in comments, blog buddies if you are out there). The concept of regular tooth filing, to help control our bad karmic forces was something I didn't know; its is for keeping an upper hand on anger, jealousy, lust (darn) and confusion (interesting), and probably a few others.

It was a bit post-modern when we were all stopped to walk into a rice field where three men were planting, bent backs, like all the pictures, and our guide explained how the Balinese rice farmers typically have quite bad back problems pointing out the oldest one with an almost lower back hump. As a group of Dutch, Danish, French and Australian I suspect none of us would know a manual job if it ran up and kicked us in the shins - yet we were being openly invited to photograph those who do. I had an image of bent-over shearers at home or perhaps labourers being treated like exhibits, would they be cool with that? I suppose they’d just find it wryly amusing – probably the riggers on the Harbour Bridge get photographed by all the bridge climbers ... except they wouldn't experience such a massive disparity in salary so much I would imagine.

So I also read in a local rag amidst ads for massage and yoga a short piece querying whether it is right that a rice farming family, with increasing frequency will sell their paddies for a villa development, to make a wad of upfront cash in place of the rice harvest which typically is grown just to feed the family. I don’t pretend to know what this means for the economics of the Bali, or how it effects people’s lives. But I can only ponder how common it is for visitors to contribute to destroying the very thing they come to a place to enjoy (or discover, if you don’t mind the use of the verb even after 500 million people have done it before you). We love looking out over those paddies, but we need nice buildings to sleep in, so people build on top of those very vistas and their kids become tour guides and their grandmas sell sarongs instead.

Koyaanistquatsi, huh, life out of balance. Little bit too much destruction and only creation of a bricky, housey kind. I really hope those daily offerings to the shrines and statues are helping to put something back into the ‘credit’ side of the ledger.

And as a post-script, I recall that the ID of this computer is “Durga II” (named for the original Durga, the Toshiba that all Amsterdam blogging was done on). So when I connect to the Wi-fi to post then anyone looking at the router could see the name of the Destroyer – the feminine energy of rage and vengeance, if I recall correctly. Eat your heart out, Elizabeth Gilbert. I hope one of the staff here who follows his or her Hindu pantheon gets a laugh out of that one.

7 September 2011

Searching for my muse, day 1

Greetings from Ubud Monkey Forest. For some reason I have decided to stay on the street of the primates. It's rather like a whole lot of small, grey hairy people walking round a dirt track. I have so far failed to find enlightenment. In fact, I've failed to even find a yoga class. Which, if you know this part of the world, is like saying I have not yet found my backside with both hands. This town is renowned for its veritable king's banquet of every kind of spiritual, yogic, karmic service you can imagine. In fact after a rather hot and sweaty trek up the main street it is clearly full to overflowing with the fulfillment to be found in material possessions. Yes, Bali-files, I did find "Yoga Barn" on the main street but for some perverse reason decided to stay in a little satellite town-ette which is a taxi ride away from the all day-drop in centres. I actually intended to stay at "Swasti Eco-retreat" a bamboo-dominated, green and luscious, be-pooled and somewhat self-righteous compound with its own massage centre, only to find 'no room at the inn' - so am next door at the less glamorous pad which appears to have some kind of building work going on. Ah the serenity.

After this truly most western of disappointments, I was then chuffed to be directed immediately over the road and down an enchanting little footpath to the ashtanga yoga teachers. Bingo, I thought. Om shanti. I was serenely greeted by a lithe blond American clad only in cotton hotpants and a bandeau who asked how long I was staying. Turns out a few nights isn't enough to learn anything at this particular spot - minimum two weeks for this particular discipline. (Ashtangaworld dot com I am informed if I wish to look at the website). Yes, "we require somewhat of a commitment here, you can go to drop in classes all day at Yoga Barn in town", she kindly explains. Since I had just caught a glimpse of hubby's retreating figure wearing little but a white loincloth and a long grey beard, I wasn't too fussed to be honest.

So judging from the dearth of blogging, I lost track of my muse somewhere between the Zeedyke and Tamarama Surf Club. I'm not sure what she'd be doing here in Bali, but if I can find some asanas then she may be tempted into returning to me. I fear however she may be distracted by the shiny things and be trapped in some endless gauntlet run beset on both sides by people calling out for transport/ taksi/ sunglasses/ and offering random wood carvings of harley davidsons and interlocked elephants.

Speaking of which, the run from this internet cafe back to the pad will be a monkey-laden night time stroll. I hope they all remain calm and don't turn into some b-grade swarm that has decided it likes the taste of human flesh.

Namaste from cyberspace.