Thursday, 20 November 2008

I'm Back!

After 8 months I think it is about time that I write once more about life here in Bali. Just to put it out there. I do not think that this is a good place to go back over why there has been an absence, those who know me know already. I thought it better to actually start the dialogue about life in Bali for an ex-pat Australian. Trials tribulations and best place to get a Nasi Goreng. So that is what I will endeavor to do. Perhaps people who read this will add their comments and it can morph to a point where it is a communal process rather than this dictatorial diatribe which so denotes blogs these days. Though if you want a narrator, I can do that as well.


Sunday, 16 March 2008

Licking my wounds

I thought that i should pen a few words here at some stage or another. That is until i saw my stars in this fortnights Bali Advertiser.

SCORPIO : Conceding defeat, is no easy task. Moving on, release and letting go, all a part of the process that follows. Usually, a sense of sadness and loss is inevitable. Feeling failure, is a waste of time. Count your blessings now, and move towards the future. Dwelling on the past will, only serve to lengthen the process and there is no time to be wasted on that. Forge ahead, and allow new inspiration to illuminate your path. What has transpired was a necessary part of your life process. It is over now.<

That has literally lifted the scabs on a couple of wounds let me tell you.

I will stay indoors for the next few days licking them.

Take care in the real world people.


Friday, 22 February 2008

Mojito's away!

Most here would know of my love of the Cuban drink of choice, The Mojito. Hemingway drank them what more info do you want. I started the FaceBook Group... The Mojito Appreciation Society. For about 3-4 years it has been the drink we have when on tour doing events around Asia. I think the best is in HCM at the Park Hyatt. Served by a guy called Anthony. Genius!

I came across this ad for Bacardi while on Google, I even forgot what I originally was looking for. Go figure. Perhaps I need to get over there and have a look. That could be a lot of fun!


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

More than a mouthful. BigMac!

I thought that 2 things are needed here. Firstly a post about something other than the rock in the ocean we call our home, but something that is reasonably near and dear to me and mine. The second thing was i wanted to show friends and family that although I may live in a tourist resort I have not hung the back in 5 minutes shingle on the door to my brain.

Entrance MacHEADS the movie. I have happened across the site the other day and was blown away. Friends who know me know of my long standing relationship with the Mac. I had a classic, a Duo, Gosh, I am designer, they were ours. I have argued with friend's about their importance, arguing about their superiority (with that certain smugness that only a MacHEAD has) and I am now realizing that I have been standing up for the Apple brand for over 15 years. Just a note here to any Apple employees. Long service gift?? Do you have my address?? Phone me??

Funny how I have been part of of Brand culture and I wasn't even aware of it when the whole time I have been using them, my miriad of Mac computers, to shore up and emphasis other companies brands using the my Mac and the software within. Nice irony..

On a local note, there is this one coffee shop, the Tuck Shop, over here that wont let you in (I am kidding but it looks that way) if you bring out a PC. Mac has now become the status symbol of the traveler, the world weary. I doubt if it's because the ubiquitous little 13" screens match so nicely with the white laminate tops of the tables, or the porcelain mugs of steaming Latte's, machiato's and ginger tea. No the interesting thing is they have become cool. Once the bastion of geeks and designers Mac has made design theirs and is offering you the rub off if you buy in. But where does that leave us "power users"? the ones that use them because once upon a time you had to and since then it was just too hard to learn how PC's work.

MacHEADS trailer

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So the point of this whole Blog today is to introduce this movie and to take a look at the trailer. I am now with baited breathe waiting for when i can see the thing in it's entirety.

But enough of me and my mac. I have to get back to designing an event for Microsoft....


Saturday, 16 February 2008

Cock-a- doodle-do I see you!

We had the house blessed a few weeks back and I started writing to tell you all about it. Not to mention to whack some stuff on the Blog and keep that ill-tempered brother of mine at bay. Just kidding Barry! So today I am finishing those words.

Let’s face it people, I suffer from the myriad of keyboard allergies that are out there or is it that there are so many other things that need to be done at any given point in time that trying to keep up any sort of communication network with friends bows and finally snaps under the weight of the worldly burdens we are meant to bear. Add to that the countless hours that I toil away in front of this electronic alter and I think I have a solid enough case against writing. Or perhaps it is because I am too lazy to write. I will have to ponder these...

Deep enough for you? Wade on in, the waters fine!!!!!

Enough!! Here is something to read which I hope you will enjoy. A brief window in to a world slightly left from our own. Again I have to emphasis that this is chronically out of order and I have taken the liberty of writing the finish in a present tense so it reads as if I wrote it on the day, which I did do for most of it!

Life here is getting pretty standard. I am listening to the cockerels in the lane cockedoodeldooing. The priest who owns all this land owns them. His wife (she would have to be the ex as they can’t keep them once they cross the path to priesthood) and/or sister are setting up at present for the house blessing of this our new home. Tomorrow is Galungan a major Hindu festival; our staff will have two days off. One for the festival and Thursday is apparently the day to visit relatives; last night & tonight is full moon. All in all it is a very good day to have ones house blessed. We don’t want those pesky evil spirits hanging around do we?

Quiet Chucky!! Between the dog barking at the old ladies setting up for the ceremony and the aforesaid roosters the only other noise is the hum of the fans in my Mac. Although we are only a hundred metres from the main road we might as well be a world away. Nothing seems to penetrate. How good is that!

The new house is full of our things and more like a home than next door ever was. We are making our mark, perhaps we are also over the tire kicking phase of our time here making a commitment to live here and immersing in it rather than floating on top akin to a sun pinkened holiday bloated body adrift in the Black Sea. For all the European readers out there, a little eastern block anecdote to make you feel right at home.

Here we cringe when we come across the archetypal Aussie family. Dad and son have Bintang T’shirts or singlets, the wife and daughter have platted hair, painted nails, perhaps they all have fake tattoos. One or more sport a burn from a scooters exhaust pipe. They are all over weight. They are my kinsmen. The great unwashed. To them a trip to Bali is going overseas. Gosh, just writing this makes me proud and humble all at the same time.

Time to pause here and photograph the proceedings outside. More later. 9:50am

Well a couple of photos and much chatter, from the two women who were the advance ceremony team, later we still await the arrival of the priest. He only lives next door. Perhaps he is busy off doing other ceremonies. Special days mean they are in high demand. Waiting is something that the Balinese do very well. They wait for things to happen on an hourly basis not just daily. Explains the whole concept of rubber time, which I read yesterday, is a direct translation of ‘jam karet’, meaning that things in life are supposed to happen in a very relaxed fashion. I suppose that is why to this ‘time is money’ bule (foreigner) the Balinese just seem to cruise along in the day-to-day lives.

I also read that the Indonesians rank as one of the most relaxed countries in the world with regard to time. Second only to Mexico. I know which I prefer to live in at this point though! I must wonder how that correlates to number of heart attacks. I will once again see what is happening on the ceremony front. 10:23am

11:14am well it’s over. Some flowers rice and water. I think there was vinegar in there as well. Still wearing my sarong, it’s comfortable on a warm day like today... Sorry too much information I know. The house is awash with petals and water. Mixed in are scuffmarks from the ladies grubby feet as they went around blessing the various rooms of the house with splashes of water and petals. The down side of walking around bare foot is they do not remain pristine during the day. It was a moving experience. Though again we played the waiting game.

The Priest, Pak Nuymen, who lives next door and is the son of the landlord, Pak Made, came in with his dish full of tools. Two women prior to his arrival set everything up; a third joined them mid ceremony. He took up position and started chanting in a low murmur. The women for their part didn’t let up on the nattering that they had started when they first arrived. There was no quiet reverence. It was a tad weird. On he chanted and on they nattered with our pembantu, Komang, joining in. Made made a little fire in the yard from two bricks and some bamboo. It was this little fire that would transport the evil spirits away after the cleansing. The smoke caught the rays of sunlight penetrating the thick foliage we have on that side of the house and I could almost see them being dragged off. For our part we really weren’t quite sure what to do or even where to sit. Taking signals from Made, our gardener, we waited for the ritual of kowtowing that was the climax of the ceremony. We each drank, ate rice and stuck some to our foreheads. I even got a nice flower behind my ear. And then he was gone. I could almost hear him say, “I came, I prayed, I kicked the spirits butts!” As I said, almost.

So there you have it. Try that at home! Life here is definitely tinged (Ok liberal dash) with the exotic though I have a sneaking suspicion that too much exposure will undoubtedly dilute this and make it the norm. For now I have work that has gathered in my inbox that needs attending to.

I will leave you of some shots of the new home, our Teak bed that rides on these antique feet from an old house, an Ano design of course and complicated as all hell and the refurbished bathrooms that are swimming in terrazzo.


Friday, 1 February 2008

Long time no write.

Salamat hari raya. Today is the last day of Galungan. It is called Kuningan. It is a magical time in Bali. The Balinese seem to wear their traditional dress almost every day and the streets are lined with these amazing bamboo poles with offerings and little woven alters. I will see if I can’t get a photo in here to show you.

The power is off. I was working on a couple of jobs, one for the Hong Kong Sevens, I do a couple of corporate boxes there and my design for one of them came back telling me they wanted something a little ‘lighter’ & ‘more pleasant’, I mean it is Rugby people! But they are the clients and the other is for Amway China. They have an event in Melbourne later in the year. So the outage has forced me to take a break, coupled with the hounding by my brother Michael to get some additions to the blog I will generate some words about what has happened of late.

Gosh, it has been a while. Merry festive season people. May 2008 be more than you want it to be. The first month is already finished. Speaking of months. The fore sworn brother his wife Fluff and their 3 sons, Larry Curly and John were here for a month over the New Year. We took their house in Perth for 10 days of it. We got 40+ degree days and they got tropical rain and hot humid days. Fair swap me thinks. When we got back we drove first up to Ubud for a night, we ate at Naughty Nuri’s. Fantastic. The racks of ribs were unreal, and the cocktails, first class. Very weird sitting in a place no bigger than a warung having one of the worlds best frozen margaritas, next day we drove up to Lovina, Lovely sunsets, Fluff and Maxi swam with dolphins. Maxi thought the dolphin, was it Jack? Or John? Never mind, anyway he asked the guy in the water with him how many fins a dolphin had? He thought he had 4. In fact he had his keel extended. Anyway, both of them got a tad excited with Maxi.

From Lovina we drove east along the coast to Amed. We stayed at new bungalows owned by some Dutch parents from the boy’s school. It was nice and we snorkelled in the afternoon. Not my cup of tea but if you are a diver apparently it is the bees knees.

Started going out to Canggu again in the mornings. The wind blows in from the west during the wet, which is onshore out there. That wind has now started to swing. It also doesn’t blow as early. The swells are the next thing to change. We will see them building from now into April. Also I have to rid myself of the spare tire I built over the festive season and all the beer I drank. Michael, geeze he is getting a good plug here isn’t he? He has put me onto this soup diet, so I am at day 5 of just eating soup. Today I get to eat a piece of chicken, yippee! Looking forward to that. Not sure how much weight is going as we do not have scales but I feel alright. So a couple more days and then I will swing over to a Low GI (Which is the same thing just I get more variation) eating plan. But It is great to get up at 6 and ride the bike out to Canggu every day. So peaceful at that time of the morning. A lot of locals are about but they are going to work or home from work. Good thing about the low GI is I can have a glass of wine. It is also a week without a drink, which for me is a long time. I would have one a night at least. More over the break but I had it back to one since getting back from Thailand.

So the power is up and I think I had better get into it.