Reviewing

Amed, on the north-east coast of Bali. That’s sunrise in the east. © PJ Croft 2022.

Cloudy but fine. That’s the weather report but it’s also a brilliant advertising slogan for Coopers Ales. They let the beer ferment in the bottle and don’t filter it any further, leaving a small residue of yeast and hops in the bottom. Therefore the beer comes out cloudy. I love it, including the yeasty residue. It’s fine.

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Being a news junkie, I can’t help but be affected by all the terrible news coming from local sources (huge bushfires in WA this summer just gone, record heatwaves), terrible floods over east, the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and above all, climate change, environmental damage and species extinctions. There doesn’t seem to be much good news these days and although I shouldn’t say this, it makes me somewhat thankful that I don’t have many years left of my life. At 75, I’m very aware of the charmed life I’ve had, golden years of good, free education, good jobs and cheap accessible housing (relatively speaking).

I feel sorry for the young people born around the millennium, the Millennials. They have tough barriers to climb: expensive education, not bad job prospects but in mediocre careers if they’re without a degree, the worry of the Ukrainian conflict but worse, the aggression of China, the fear of a new world war, more pandemics, but worst of all, being priced out of the housing market. To be condemned to a lifetime of renting, with all its uncertainties, would worry me to hell.

As well, we, the Boomers and our predecessors and successors have damaged the climate and the environment so badly that it leads to despair.

As I see it, it’s my duty to make as small a footprint as I can, by recycling everything, only buying what I need, minimising waste, using solar power and driving as little as possible. At this late stage in my life, there’s not much more I can do.

Except support as many organisations which are trying to solve the problems, such as the Australian Conservation Foundation, WIRES (the wildlife rescue people), and so on.

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What a dilemma, though: something got me thinking about Bali this morning. That led to a couple of hours browsing Booking.com for hotels and reminiscing about the ones I’ve stayed in. At the same time, I’ve been browsing back through my blog (in a book, more on that in a minute) and recalling all the times I’ve had there.

The dilemma is that although I wish I could go back to Bali now that it’s open to tourists again, air travel is one of the big CO2 emitters contributing to global heating. We are being told to minimise air travel, preferably to no more than once every three years or less.

Yet, Bali depends on us spending our dollars there and they’re still struggling to survive. Hence the dilemma.

It’s really a futile argument because I just don’t think I can travel any more. I’m too weak and tire too easily these days. It’s so bad that I’m having trouble just coping around my house.

Anyway, my first choice of hotel, the Taksu Sanur, seems to be closed down. For how long, I don’t know. You can see it on Google Earth street view, with blinds over the entrance and a generally closed off appearance. What a pity, I enjoyed that hotel so much!

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I’ve finished reading Lost Bali volume 1 from cover to cover:

I’m impressed! When I first heard about this project, I was very sceptical that people would be able to write well enough, if the standard of their writing on Facebook was anything to judge by. Usually it’s atrocious writing – bad grammar, no attention to spelling, awful photos. I submitted an article as I didn’t want to pass up a chance, but I held low expectations for other writers.

How wrong I was. There is some absolutely beautiful writing, I’m ashamed to say better than mine. The ability of most of the writers to capture the mystical atmosphere, the magic, the smells (clove cigarettes) and sounds (wooden cow bells, gamelan orchestras) took me back in most pleasant ways.

I found it noticeable that the best writing was usually by women. They seem to have been more attuned to the magic and mystery with an ability to turn it into lyrical prose.

I found my writing is quite matter-of-fact by comparison. I told of several funny episodes and a couple of not so funny, but I wrote little of the magic atmosphere, probably because I was not that attuned to it. Bali has always been a holiday island for me, but not much more. I spent a lot of money and took many, many pictures, making some good friends over the years, but it wasn’t much more than that. This book shows me what I was missing. I urge you, if you have any connection with Bali, to buy and read the books. I have volume 2 on order and I eagerly await reading it. https://www.amazon.com.au/Lost-Bali-Stories-Leslie-Franklin/dp/057835781X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=23SIQKY2T2MDI&keywords=lost+bali&qid=1647771658&s=books&sprefix=lost+bali%2Cstripbooks%2C381&sr=1-1

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I mentioned that I’m reading my blog in a book. To explain, there’s a website called Blogbooker.com which takes the exported files from WordPress (or whatever) and formats them into a PDF file for you to download.

In my case, I told it to do the entire blog from its start in 2009 to now. This has resulted in a 4,011 page “book” of nearly 1GB in size. It’s not free; it cost me A$42 to register for one year. I regard that as good value, mainly for the backup it entails.

Wow, the memories it brings back, mostly good although a few bad. That’s life. I’ll try loading it into MS OneDrive or DropBox, although I think I’d have to pay for more space, in both cases. Maybe later.

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