Blog
January 3, 2014

A Season for Two: Christmas and New Years in Bali

Bali, Indonesia

Three days into what has turned out to be the most scrumptiously adventure-free trip I’ve ever taken, Kyle and I had a conversation about the differences between traveling and being on vacation. Travel, we decided, involves night market tasting excursions and the word “intrepid” and when you read then immediately forget the entire Wikipedia entry about the Dutch occupation of whatever pile of picturesque stonework you’re staring at. Vacation is when the only way you can tell whether it’s Monday or Thursday is by trying to tally up how many times you’ve had to tear your sticky fingers out of the mango bowl long enough to open the door for the champagne delivery guy. I guess we’re on vacation. Hashtag tropicalxmas, bitches.

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Yeah, I packed sprinkles:

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Christmas brekkie – continuing the proud Schaefer mimosa tradition:

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We passed an outrageously lazy-ass holiday season at Villa Tanah Barak in the rice-paddy suburb of Canggu, near Seminyak, which I guess is supposed to be Bali’s congo-bongo, pants-required beach club party spot. I wouldn’t know, though, because for nine days, the closest I got to putting on pants was slathering an extra layer of sunscreen on my privates.

“What is this fey fabric that conspires to bind the energy conduits of my yoni chakra?”

“Just leave your underwear off,” Kyle said, spitting sparkling arcs of pool water. “I don’t know why you’re even trying.”

I was trying because I was grappling with lingering flutters of guilt that whispered we should, at least once, range a little farther than the coffeemaker.

“I’ve got at least three Facebook comments saying we ought to check out a day trip to Ubud.”

“What’s in Ubud?”

“Cultural handicraft galleries and an egret nesting area. Also yoga.”

Pause in unison, sip melon mojitos.

“Nahhhhh.”

If I sound smug, it’s because I am. I’m smug as shit.

Won’t be needing these…

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#grumpycat: 

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I dream of Bali: 

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Ruby, on the ground in Bali since November on an interior design contract, stopped through and stayed with us for a night, bringing cocktail refills and an infusion of exploratory energy. The three of us putted off on rental scooters to the temple at Tanah Lot with a 100,000 Rupiah bribe in each pocket for the cops, a precaution against the international license check that never came. Every 100 meters along the roadside, sun-peeled mini-markets sell racked liters of petrol in empty vodka bottles, 7000 Rupiah a jug.

A fridge magnet was purchased for our collection. A coconut was shared.

“There. Now we can say we left the house.”

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I could find out why they had these in like, every tourist shop, but then I’d have to google “penis bottle openers”. 

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Twerk:

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I forgot about the dogs in the tropics. Thailand was like this. They maraud around the streets of Chiang Mai in packs, fur half eaten away by scabs of mange, uncontrolled and lazily aggressive. The locals appear to give less than zero fucks about strolling past the threatening rumble of low-throated rabies growling that erupts at the mouth of every driveway, and the dogs save the actual teeth-baring charges for tourists, turning every walk to the corner store into Level 12 of that 80’s Atari game… what was that, Paperboy?

“I’m bringing the umbrella next time we go out to eat,” said Kyle, watching me wrap my forearm in a canvas bag. “You take the bite, I’ll stab it with the pointy end.”

Who doesn’t? 

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Roadside petrol in vodka bottles:

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Bikes and Boards at Deus Ex Machina in Canggu: 

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As soon as I start to think about the possibility of moving nearer the equator and leaving winter behind forever, I’m reminded that while that means year-round smoothie bars, it also means checking the toilet seat for millipedes. Eff. That. Noise. I used to have myself convinced that Nature-capital-N was my jam, but I’ve come to grips with the sad Californian truth that I only appreciate it at its sanitized, petal-slowmotion-unfurling best. I’m not, for example, into python stranglings, or giant ant colonies that breed in the deep piping of jacuzzi jets and come spurting out in black rivers all over your legs when you hit the spigot.

“Turn the jets on again and get out the bug-spray: we’ll poison the water and drown ’em in it.”

Nice try, ants. We have science, roomy cerebral cortexes, and a racial history of genocide.

The rain came down that night in the kind of warm, all-at-once deluge that makes you wonder if someone in heaven just kicked over the cosmic bathwater. Steam rolled off the surface of the hot tub and beaded on the, no shit, carved teak eaves and birds of paradise vines. Rum and passion fruit sangria, cheers to this. Cheers to you.

Bring it, 2014. I’m ready.

WTF IS A KENDRA SCHAEFER?
american tech writer living in beijing. chinese user interface consultant. crafter of pretty digital things. haver of nebulous ideas.
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