Selemat Natal

Christmas Eve in Bali. It seems unreal. First time I’ve ever been away at Christmas.

Here. there are signs of Xmas everywhere, with snow and trees and tinsel and Father Christmases and Xmas Sale signs. But tomorrow, on the day, it’ll be business as usual, and the same on Sunday. Why not?

Tropical Santa Bali 2010

 I waited around this morning for emails or texts from the estate agent or villa management, but nothing, so I took the hotel shuttle bus to Kuta. Again I’m the only passenger. If it’s so busy at Xmas, where is everyone? One taxi driver today lamented the lack of tourists – I was his first fare at midday.

Anyway, I went hunting for big camera shops, to Galeria first. Phew! Perth has nothing like this. All the big names are there, Dunhill, Gucci, Prada, Bally, etc etc. Big deal? But the range of clothes and furnishings even in the normal shops is huge, far better than we ever see in Perth. There’s just no contest.

And the rise in the middle class affluence is also obvious here. Yummy ladies in fashion clothes everywhere, with money to spend. Good luck to them. It’s good for everyone.

Anyway, taxi to another big centre to look for cameras, but nothing. A small Fuji Image shop confirmed that Denpasar is my only hope. OK, later.

Then I walked (note, walked KG) to Kuta beach and took some shots, then walked again all along the Kuta beach front path to the south toward Kartika Plaza. See Google view. It was about 1.5Km.

Following the yellow brick road, literally

But what a change there’s been in 27 years! It’s a mix of nice development of people facilities, rubbish strewn beachfront, gross hotel intrusions onto the beach and crowds! People everywhere. Many of my shots from 1983 and 1985 such as this:

Beach cremation Kuta, Bali 1985

were taken here, and it was just open sandy beach then. I’m pretty sure this was the same location. Turn left at Jl Pantai Kuta. Not now. There are some quiet shady spots, but it’s a bit grotty.

However:

Kuta boy, Christmas 2010
When your ship comes in… Kuta 2010
Kuta guard, 2010

I reached the Kartika Plaza and Centro shopping centre just about dropping from fatigue. Energy fadeout! But people assist – they move aside, and take your arm and help you up steps, not like at home.

Language lesson: I had another look at some fine leather shoulder bags. I asked the girls, how do you say “genuine leather”? After much discussion and giggling, it seems “kulit asling”.

Ah, OK, kulit means leather and asling means original, as in orang asling, the original men of the forest of Java.  I resisted the temptation to buy, I don’t know how, when I could smell real Italian leather in a Condotti shoulder bag, just right for my laptop and camera, but I did.

Back at the hotel, I was pretty knackered and thought I’d better lie down for a bit. Bang! Out like a light. More than an hour later, I woke and realised the room door wasn’t fully closed. Ah well.

Later still, I had dinner in the restaurant and took the opportunity to ask at the desk, if kulit means leather, how come “Wayang Kulit”, the traditional puppet play of Java?

It seems kulit actually means “skin”. So the wayang kulit is the projected puppet play onto a screen of skin/leather. Aha. And cukup, which I thought meant “full” as in full as a goog, actually means “enough”. So I asked about full, as in full tank of petrol? And he told me, and I’ve forgotten what he said! Besok.

Malam.

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