One reason I enjoy my time in Indonesia so much is that I can speak Indonesian, which makes even hanging out with potential taxi drivers fun. I can imagine that claiming to speak Indonesian raises hackles of Indonesians, who must be thinking to themselves, “Here we go again, another sweaty bule (white man) thinks he’s a linguistics scholar because he knows to say “ba’so” instead of “bakso” (a soup). Give me a break.”
I’m not claiming to be fluent, but I can speak a remedial Indonesian, enough to satisfy the simple conversations I have all the time hitchhiking or on the street. That’s something, isn’t it? Throughout each day I jot down words and phrases I wish I knew and then look them up on Google Translate. “My hovercraft is full of eels” in Indonesian is “Hovercraft saya penuh dengan belut.” Now you know.
Women love Ubud. It’s a very feminine place. Girls are everywhere, but this is the email I get from a guy:
“I was stopped on my motorbike at the lights earlier today in Ubud and you were walking toward me and I was wondering why I couldn’t look away, so I asked “How are you?” (maybe you remember). And of course, when I rode off I realised I recognised you because I’m a fan of your blog! Small world!
I’ll be back in Ubud on maybe Friday or Saturday if you’ll still be around and want to meet up for a coffee, juice or beer and talk about the world…”
Why is it always only guys who can’t take their eyes off of me? No, truth is, I’m chuffed to bits and would love to meet with anyone who takes the time to read my blog, no matter their gender.
That wasn’t the only amazing coincidence today. I met two Danish sisters who live on the same street in the same small town in southern Denmark as my friends whom I have known forever. The coincidence was almost too spooky for them and they had no problem taking their eyes off me.
I have to thank someone who “Likes” me on Facebook and detests me in real life (just anticipating; we haven’t met yet), Erin Fisher, who gave me the idea to visit Bumi Sehat, a natural birthing clinic here in Ubud. They offer many services; it seems to be quite a focal point in the community. Their founder, an American woman, was selected one of CNN’s Heroes.
I got a short tour of the small facility which was limited as one woman just gave birth and another resting room was occupied with a newborn and its parents all laying on a small bed, a tender moment that didn’t seem appropriate for me to barge in, “Hi! I’m Kent! How ’bout a photo of the happy family!” They have a long list of needs if you are flying into the country. It’s a shame you can’t mail or freight them anything since they get taxed to death.