Indonesia

Today Begins with Dinner Last Night


Today starts early – it starts at dinner last night, to be precise.

The mise-en-scene: We returned yesterday to Seminyak, to the hotel we stayed in last weekend when we arrived in Bali. Our hotel is just off Jalan Dhyana Pura, also known as Drink Street or Club Street. Our last time here was over Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, when almost everything, and most certainly the clubs and restaurants, shuts down for 3 days. The first day that everything was back to normal we headed to Ubud – rustic, tranquil and beautiful, and did I mention tranquil: you could shoot a cannon down the main street of Ubud at 9:30 p.m., and not hit anything or anyone – even the ever-present dogs have disappeared.

The story: About 9:30 p.m., we head out for dinner. For the first time since leaving Australia, we are in the mood for something familiar. We stop in a restaurant called Santa Fe, and start with nachos, then Greg has pizza while I have chicken fajitas. Afterwards, we stop at Q, a club, for “a beer”. The price seems shocking – at 15,000 rupiah each for the local beer, it is double the price in the restaurants; this is, of course, until we do the conversion and realize that at about $2.25 Canadian, it is still a bargain. We arrived just after 11, and we were customers 4 and 5. At 11:45, there are still only about 8 people, other than staff, in the place. About then, a voice says “hello” – it is Gavin, the Canadian we sat beside in the internet café on Tuesday. We learn that he is on his way back to Canada, via Vancouver to Toronto where his family lives, after spending the better part of a year in Australia. We compare notes about Australia and Canada for an hour, and as he wanders off I realize that the place is hopping – probably a couple of hundred people. And as many, or even more, at Kudos, the bar right across the street.

The mix of people is probably about 80% Balinese & Javanese, with the remainder a mix of Australian, German, Dutch and Canadian; we have noticed what feels like a conspicuous absence of American accents all over Bali, and it is true again this evening. The atmosphere is relaxed – everyone is chatting with everyone. (Indonesians are compelled to attend school for at least 10 years, and English is a core part of their curriculum.) There is a continual flow of people back and forth across the street – over there for a drink, back here for the next.

About 4 a.m. we realize with a bit of surprise that it is 4 a.m., that that “a beer” was many beers ago, and that we are more than a little “tired and emotional”. We head home, and the street is jammed. The back and forth between Q and Kudos is still strong. We look down the street and it is a sea of taxis in both directions – it looks like Broadway after the theatres let out at 11 p.m. There are so many pedestrians that the taxis can barely move. We walk to the hotel much faster than we could have driven.

The rest of the day is spent sleeping in a variety of venues – in bed, in chaises both sunny and shady by the pool, and standing and walking as we perform various chores that don’t require any intellectual capability.

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