Posts Tagged ‘Ubud’

Goodbye Suit and Attaché case

June 10, 2015
Japanese Windflowers

Japanese Windflowers

In life we think we make choices that determine our future. Is that true? One could have turned left or to the right. So much is due to the unforseen. The past is never a sign towards the future but only something to mull over in old age and even then it hardly ever surrenders wisdom or insight. That seems to only come about by a presence of mind while doing the dishes or polishing ones shoes or writing a few words.

I do remember feeling euphoric walking to Centraal Station in Amsterdam. I must have taken my suitcase and just bought the train ticket, walked up the flight of stairs to the platform taking me to Italy. It was the absolute right thing to have done. My job at the bank with the daily routine of balancing the books to zero each day had run its course. There is only so much you can do with a zero. It wasn’t easy. I had to make sure there wasn’t a cent in between. This is the essence of good book-keeping. The cost of a postage stamp could throw my day into turmoil and cost me hours of having to work after hours. No one could go home till the books were zero.

Even the director on the swivel chair had to stay back. All the branches had to give the daily figures to head office which would then print the all important statements and post them to the bank’s customers. I often used to offer the bank my own money if there was a discrepancy of just a few cents in order to be able to go home. No, that is not what banking is about. The books had to balance. You can see, dear readers, can’t you, how my career at a bank had to end? To think that at the very best I too could end up a director and swivel around a special chair. Is that what I had to look forward to? Of course to become a director could only come about by appointment. The director at my branch wasn’t too impressed, especially not when I laughed after he fell backwards with a cigar in his hands. It was doomed.

All my sense of importance wearing a finely pressed suit in the tram of Amsterdam had come to not much more than working on the Czechoslovakian Capstan lathe back in Australia, (bar the strange rituals). When my friend Bernard had secured a lovely chalet in the North of Italy I decided to chuck in the job and join him. This decision was made within a split second. The spontaneity of it was breathtaking. I loved it and still tend to act rather rashly which Helvi finds sometimes a bit hard to deal with. Of course, one could question how the bank would feel not even been notified of my choice to leave. I simply vanished.

They must have enquired at my address of the dying uncle. In any case, the book-keeping must have been done by the director till a replacement was found. I never collected my wages or holiday money as I felt it a just penance for not having given notice. The train trip to Bressanone started in rain but ended in glorious sunshine, a good omen. But of that…more to come!

(We will be in Ubud- Bali till the 23 of June. I hope to be able to post but am dependent on doing it on a tablet. I am not sure how that works. We shall see) !

Bali, Ubud and Plane tribulations.

September 3, 2014

images
We came back on Sunday and I am recovering ever since. Am wearing a blue fluffy morning coat with the pockets stuffed with hankies, both paper and cotton. ‘Crook as Rookwood’ they used to say! Rookwood is one of the largest cemeteries in Australia and even had its own railway station whereby the inhabitants of coffins could be unloaded for an uncertain but cool future below ground level. Another apt expression of feeling below par was ‘ I feel I am ‘on the train to Rookwood.’ They are lovely expressions but are at risk of disappearing when so much of the local Lingua franca gets overtaken by United States terminology.

I have a good cold. A direct hit given by a small child on the plane back. She was coughing all night between Bali and Sydney. Poor little girl.

We flew with Jet-Star. Little did I know what stood ahead of us. No food, no water. Can you imagine? Apparently the latest in economy fares. Soon there will be cheap flights whereby we will just stand up hanging from a strap. I booked ‘on-line.’ I picked direct flights between Sydney and Bali and never even thought to order food and water. I have never been flying anywhere whereby there would not appear (soon after take-off) the familiar little carriages, stooped over by flight attendants, with food and small bottles of wine. ‘Would you like a shiraz or a smooth chardonnay Sir or Madam’, was a common question, soon followed by a tray of all sorts of foods wrapped in cellophane that needed a chainsaw to open. Even a toothpick individually wrapped.

We used to be greatly comforted that everything was done to make the flight bearable with at least including some food and liquid. Not anymore now though. If you thought Isis was tough, try and take a cheap flight somewhere! Avoidance of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis) is greatly helped by staying hydrated during the flight. Well, you try and get water on board a Jet Star flight! I finally managed to get water from a water tumbler in the kitchen at the back of the plane. I was feeling very dizzy by then.

Of course Bali is still Bali with hordes of tourists scampering over everything possible, especially the bars and nightclubs. God, how tourism destroys everything, like locusts.

Of course we were tourists as well. But at least tried to escape. No elephant cave, monkey forests or Hindu temples for us. No tours or trips to rice paddies or local Ikat factories, wood carvings or silver smithing. No trekking or sunset watching, surfing or sampling of dodgy cocktails including the arak laced with kerosene.

We were within 100 metres of the main street in Ubud and elevated above street level catching the cool mountain breeze and waving palms with bits of kites suspended in mid flight. It was lovely and re-vitalising just watching the locals and hordes of tourists. I noticed that many tourists like running around maniacally. Why is that? Perhaps they are so wound up that, having spent money on fares and accommodation, they do not want to risk missing out on anything? They run around frantically like chooks without heads. Their mouths twisted in tenseness and set at twenty past eight o’clock. Chill out, dear European. The end is not nigh.

Ubud is the centre of Balinese culture with music and ceremonies the order of the day. Despite the influx of foreign tourists, Bali’s culture seems to have survived and homage to their Gods is practised everywhere with smoking incense and offerings given at any time of the day.

The togetherness of its people, the smiles and laughter and above all, the inborn desire to make beauty from table settings to wood-carved furniture, tables with marble tops, the lighting and ‘cosiness laced with feelings of intimacy. Schoolchildren with arms around each other, laughing and joking. Cheerfulness in bucket loads.

We are now back in Bowral and it feels all so dreadfully serious. Where is our ‘joie de vivre?’ Perhaps, all on the train to Rookwood!

Three or six Carrots?

August 16, 2014
Pradha guest house

Pradha guest house

We are again on the cusp of taking yet another break. We know that between birth and death there is life, so, while we are still able we would like to travel, not least now that the mortgages have been settled, the credit card in credit, and the kids have more than left home.

We don’t like the fridge keeping food for our return and normally prefer eating it empty. Even so, we had misjudged our appetite and found the fridge bare with yet still two days to go before our departure.

That’s why we found ourselves this morning at Woolworth deciding on how to sustain ourselves without going on a binge of last minute eating before the plane takes off. I suggested we could always take a few sandwiches on the plane or a nice crispy salad with bits of toast in lieu of croutons. I got smacked.

H suggested making a chicken curry dish for two days. A good choice as I had discovered a couple of thighs (chicken) at the back of the fridge. As we only had a few stalks of chives I decided (decisively) to buy some vegetables to go with the chicken. H wanted a bag of carrots but I felt this was overdoing it. For two days a bag of carrots? “Are we feeding a horse somewhere,” I asked? H; “Oh, lets not go into that again”. “Do we have to go on about the number of carrots?” “Is this what we are retired for” she added and gave a good sigh to emphasise a determination to get her way?

“Ok, ok, lets compromise and get 6 carrots”, I said. “That’s three each for two days, plus a zucchini that I found in the fridge as well, and two potatoes, I added for good measure.”

While the chicken is on the way, the carrots sliced and simmering, I decided to concentrate on trying to figure out not to get charged exorbitant 3G IPhone charges. The most horrifying stories of thousands of IPhone users being charged enormous costs on using their IPhones overseas appeared on Google. Even not using the IPhone costs thousands. Apparently all those ‘Apps’ keep rumbling on in the background, adding costs even when you are asleep and not using the IPhone.

Despite all the hints of switching Off Data while overseas, I still haven’t found this button on my Apple IPhone. I suppose to have a button on my ‘settings’ to disable all data downloads. But I can’t have that button, no matter how often I check and re-check. It is all so tedious.
Worse than 6 carrots.
Anyway, here is the address:
Just ignore the ratings. We do know the place and the friendly owners.
http://www.agoda.com/en-au/pradha-guest-house/hotel/bali-id.html

 Near Ubud, Bali

Near Ubud, Bali

C U after 31 August.