Sunday, July 31, 2005


Sometimes my fans get a little too close

We went up into the mountains today to visit a couple of Hindu temples and another monkey forest. Took most of the day. It's so simple and misty and vegetative up there. The drive up was great, just to watch Bali pass by through the windows.

A Japanese woman came up to me at one of the temples and asked if I could "take picture." I thought she wanted me to take her photo with her camera, but no, she wanted to get in a photo with me, the white giant woman with auburn hair. It was hilarous the first time. I had Carmell take some photos of this with my camera, too. You put a teensy Japanese woman next to a sturdy woman of Scotch-Irish descent, and I suppose that's a photo op right there, forget about the sacred temple in the background. This happened a few times today, mostly from Japanese people. My tour guide told a few of them that it cost $10 to get a photo with me. One of the women said she would pay $3. I think I have found a way to go and visit expensive Japan and make a profit. I will spend the daytime posing for photos, spend the nights in the karaoke bars. (Personal note to my fair friend Kate: Creamy really is dreamy like we knew all along.)

Friday, July 29, 2005


I'll have the lumpia, please

We went to the sacred monkey sanctuary yesterday up in Ubud. The drive up in the shuttle bus took about an hour or so. That wind felt mighty fine after three days of beach weather. Ubud is interesting, more subdued. Good jewelry shops, but this isn't a shopping vacation for me. Carmell has acquired some really unique pieces in the last two days.

I felt like a jerk this week when I accidentally stomped my big American Adidas shoe onto one of the offerings in a doorway, but my guilt diminished when I saw another tourist bending over on the beach and taking the flowers out of several of the offerings and placing them in his hair. They looked pretty with his electric orange tank top.

We haven't experienced any nightlife yet, but now that it's Friday, I'm hoping that will change. One of the reason we haven't "gone out" is that we're awoken each morning at about 4 by the rooster. 4 a.m. So by 8 p.m. we are wiped out.

My skin is dewy and dreamy except for that first sunburn that's now abating. The 45 SPF isn't enough for this sun. A bottle of sunblock costs $17.50. I have to be so careful with my pale self.

Haven't come across any other Americans. Met some people from Canada on the shuttle. I was thinking how we are seeing very few overweight people, then I realized that none of these tourists are from the beefy USA.

Speaking of beefy, I have begun a quality assurance study on Bali's spring rolls. If my theory is proven -- "there's no such thing as a bad spring roll in Bali" -- I will expand this study into the rest of SE Asia. Here are top spring rolls so far in Bali:
#1 Mini Restaurant, Legian
#2 Lunch place in Ubud
#3 Goysha Bar, Legian

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Arrived and settled in

I am not a good bargaining. We needed to get some clothing now that we're here, and I'm no good at it. My travel partner keeps getting things for half the price that I managed to get the merchant to settle on. We moved hotels today; the new one costs $1.75 each per night, if you can believe it. We have fruit trees out the back and an avocado tree out the front. It's bare bones, of course, but kind of cute. Hoping to post photos once I get that figured out. I took a walk/run on the beach this morning, and I'm still a little astonished that I'm really here. The waves are ginormous. We're going to surfing school in a few more days when the jet lag is recovered.

It smells so good here with all the incense burning in the offerings in front of just about every doorway. Surfer boys are all over the place, zillions of them. Very few Americans that I can tell. I kind of feel like I'm hiding here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Greetings from NYC

I'm in NY! I'm in NY! It's steamy here, and there's nothing to do but sweat when you're from the Pacific Northwest. Visited the new MOMA today, saw some of the SNL actors in an improv show at the park and finally found the perfect sleep sack for this journey. We met up with our friends Will and Aparna, with whom we are staying tonight. And they have air conditioning, ahhhh.

Up early tomorrow for the flight to Tokyo. Looking forward to 14 hours of first-class flyin'.

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