Virtual Vacation: The Unusual Quirky Detail, Day 17

Today, everyone on the trip had a free day until our 3:00 PM writing group. People were going off on scooter adventures, to tour a Balinese chocolate factory, and to see the silversmithing village. Someone told me she was getting another two-hour massage. I’m sure there were other plans afoot that I wasn’t privy to. But I’ll hear all about it later: they’ll be writing about their adventures, and a thing of beauty they saw, in writing group this afternoon.

My risk for the day was to do none of these things, but to stay home (re: our air-conditioned room), to rest and relax and read with Karyn. I needed a break from adventure, activity and taking in more stimulation. So I gave myself a time out from exploring today. And if you’ve been following my adventures, you know that hasn’t been my pattern so far.

As I walked around the property today, it made me really happy that people were actually writing:

Karyn and I read and talked until 11. Then we walked into town and had a sweet lunch together at La Rouge where we had the time to chat and catch up.

I’m always telling my students to notice the strange, the incongruous, the weird juxtaposition. Here a couple of my favorites from today. Notice the offering tucked in the front of the scooter:

And you see signs like this one all over Bali, usually misspelled in exactly the same way:

And check out the label on this medicine for insect bites that Joy picked up for me in town:

It’s these funny, weird eccentric details that make for memorable writing, so I’m having my students notice them and write them down. Here are some of the ones from my own list:

  • Ketut who drove with rice on his forehead and behind his ears and a swastika hanging from his rear view mirror
  • Being in a verdant rice field with young Ketut, our guide. He was telling us about the spiritual basis for the Balinese attitude of forgiveness and warmth toward all people and his cell phone rang. Right there in the middle of the field and the ring tone was The Hotel California.
  • A twelve foot tall hard plastic mannequin of Ronald McDonald at the airport in Danpesur.
  • Two women climbing up through the narrow dirt pathway at the edge of a rice field carrying two cartoon covered mattresses, wrapped in plastic, on their heads.
  • Two dogs yelping and stuck together by the side of the road.
  •  A man on a scooter carrying a machete.
  •  A cow on a halter being walked down the street.
  • A man with a huge, wide stack of firewood strapped to his back as he rode his scooter.
  • 10 year olds driving scooters
  •  A scooter with six brightly colored, freshly painted rocking horses tied carefully to the back.
  • An 83-year-old traditional Balinese healer who reads peoples’ bodies with stunning accuracy and smokes cigarettes between clients.
  • Car after car with woven offerings on their front grill, the day after the Balinese religious ceremony that blesses metal objects.
  • Ten year old girl in a traditional Balinese dance class, practicing all the traditional eye movements and mudras, wearing a black and white traditional sarong and temple scarf and a bright yellow Anime tee shirt with the word L-O-V-E spelled out in bright cartoon style letters across the top.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow is the day we get to see the coming of age ritual. I promise to tell you what that’s all about.

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