Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Still in Love After 27 Years

Well, August 18 was my wedding anniversary.

The doctor who issued my blood test results for my marriage license in 1979 is probably dead, now, but I would like to give him a hearty "told ya so" for grumblingly chiding me for wanting to get married at the age of 20.

The man and I had been hosting our pals John and Lai Chee, up from Oz and down from S'pore, respectively. We were not about to let them leave us without one last snorkel. So off we went to the little cove at "Good Karma Bungalows" in Amed, where we had a greaaaat morning snorkel.

Back at the Shak we undressed like maniacs, showered quickly and took the obligatory photos of our group at the front gate. Then high tailed it to the airport for goodbyes.

It was time for lunch, so me and my husband of 27 years went to the little cafe of the Harris hotel in Tuban. Okay food, cute atmosphere, great restrooms. Then off to Uluwatu. We had not been back there since September of 1979! Some things never change: the topless girl on the beach. Some things do: concrete stairs down to the caves.

Just lovely to stand on the bukit and just watch the waves come in and watch guys catching them. We stood for a long time, just watching.

Uluwatu was a landmark. Lived here for 5 years and we still hadn't gone back there. I think we now have only three other spots in Bali to visit to completely revisit our honeymoon... the hot springs by the side of Lake Batur, Medewi beach, and the Sangeh temple full of monkeys. But Uluwatu gives you the magical feeling of being on the edge of Bali.

We have our own little tanjung at the Shak, but it is a different feeling. You feel like you are at the end of the world in Uluwatu. At our humble digs, the nearby islands and breaking waves across the land spit make you think that you are at a crossroads of forces, of sea routes, and winds. A convergence. Uluwatu is to surrender. TS is to participate. Both places magic, both held dear in our hearts.

Dinner at Hu'u, which would have been perfect if the bartender could fix me an "Angel Falls" at our table, and if the same jazz vocal CD wasn't playing over and over... But it was a good celebratory dinner. Great atmosphere, even with the odd jet airplane zooming overhead. Actually, that was pretty cool. I'd say it was an awesome day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

North Capitol

Beijing, baby! Smog, massive buildings, ring roads, pepper trees, everything grey dust gloriously interrupted by Yves Klein blue in a worker's uniform.

Just got back from the 798 Artists Space, which has expanded into a small city. Drooled over Hao Guang's stacks of old found pots, enjoyed his 799 Gallery, but best of all got to meet the man at work in his studio on an image of himself with a dog. He spoke to me in French, I spoke back in English.

Coup of the day was picking up a signed copy of Sheng Qi's Madness Appropriation. I mean, unfortunately, the whole area is overrun with cultural revolution imagery. When will this crap stop being chic? Sheng Qi, at least, is dealing with truth and pain. I loved that his gallery had not a closed or open sign, but a censored sign.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Typhoon Prapiroon Skims Hong Kong

... and don't we just love the clean air!

Wandering out this morning inadvertantly was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The aftermath of any storm is always interesting, but a typhoon is almost a kind of ecstasy.

Ah, that was why I loved Hong Kong... the gardeners walking around in coolie hats and rubber boots... and a wife beater shirt and striped shorts... straight outta Lily Wong comics.

Thankfully no torrential rain like yesterday, but I suffered from out-of-shape legs... Jeeeez, did I really do that much walking when I lived here? Well, yes, I did. Bali life is so tame compared to all this. You know what they say about Bali Belly? The gastrointestinal ailment, usually a kind of food poisoning? Well, the real Bali Belly is the two or five or ten extra inches that the expat gets when he or she moves to the easy life of Bali. No exertion, no walking, and all the drinking, eating, and smoking that you can handle.

So I went to apply for the India visa (Mrs Gupta told me to get there to apply at 9 am, but those of us queuing at the Visa window were treated to a procession of Consular staff who began trickling in at 9:12 and were still sauntering in, in dribs and drabs, by 9:43, when I was handed my claim slip). Gupta herself didn't get there until 9:20, and I assumed she was needed in the back for pre-work chanting or to hear the "bureaocratic boost of the day." But when she emerged at 9:32, she began paper shuffling operations. Woops, forgot the receipt book. Back in three minutes. Maddening stuff.

Back in the hotel, my man says we can stay another night, that going to Macau is not really necessary, that he can make it a day trip. My dogs (Yankee slang) say, "yes, yes, stay Hong Kong." Here in our aerie above the harbor, all is wonderful.

The shopping list dwindles as I pick up Cuprinol, progest cream, all those amazing things not available in the land of begging to the Gods.