Sunday, March 18, 2007

You can really learn a lot that way / It will change you in the middle of the day

I’m not supposed to be writing this. Its just hit Nyepi here in Bali, and as such, the use of all things like a laptop, or even a television are technically banned. But, being as how we have high walls, and I’m no Hindu, I guess I’ll type away and hope that the spirits and ghosts around our house don’t get too annoyed with a slightly irreverent bulé..

The link above describes the day better than I could ever do, so that will suffice, and I only need to add that Nyepi provides a welcome rest from the relentless whirr of sepeda motor’s (motor cycles to most of you) past the front gate day and night. It does, however confuse the poor dogs somewhat, as they wait at the gate for someone too bark at….hour after hour. The ogah-ogahs (by the hundred) around the streets are still, after two years, something to behold, especially when the proud kiddies gather round their creations. Guy Fawkes? Bah…..

I bought myself a hair-clipper the other day. It made absolute sense. After all hair is not something I have a vast association with these days (or for many a year to be honest) and I like to keep it very, very short. God save me from comb overs, or, especially bald men with ponytails (or for that matter any men with ponytails (except the always wonderful Trevor Reekie who suits it perfectly)). We follicley challenged souls are always best to keep it as close to Gandhi as we dare, at the very least so we don’t offend those in visual range.

In the recent past I’ve trekked into Denpasar every few weeks for a trim. This was not enough though…in Auckland, courtesy of my old friend Trevor Potter, I received a complimentary Friday afternoon trim for years. I had a tame guy just up the jalan who spoke better English than I did Bahasa Indonesia (although I get by these days) for some months. When I say tame…I mean, my cut didn’t need explanation each time I visited…I sat..he cut. Not only that, he’d been to Ponsonby in my city of birth. Its very rare in Bali (or anywhere) to meet someone who’s actually walked the streets of my nest. Sadly he upped and got a job on another cruise liner so I was stuffed. I hunted around and found one guy who was ok, who charged the normal Rp6000, but the cut was a tad rough. And he didn't say a word...ever..

So I looked again and wandered into this cleanish looking place in off Jalan Sesatan, sat down, and said, with a smile….nomor satu. The guy, mid twenties-ish, said precisely two works back….you American?....tak, dari Sekandia Baru I said, and sat back as he began to cut. As he finished the trim he pulled out the cut-throat razor usually used in these parts to give a nice edge to a cut. I happened to glance up at the same time to see a huge portrait of the long missing Osama Bin Laden high on the wall above me, and then noticed a similar portrait on the barber’s t shirt, albeit very faded.

Ahhh..tidak mau, I quickly whispered, rising swiftly from my chair, and proffered a Rp10,000 note to cover the Rp5000 indicated on the door.

No change was offered back.

I bought myself a hair-clipper the other day…

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