Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Musings from Anturan

from 9-13

We've been at the Gede homestay in Anturan for 3 nights now - it's so serene and idyllic here. I feel rather spoiled. It's a tiny street with 2 stores and 3 beachfront restaurants. The tuna and mahi mahi have both been grilled in banana leaves and seasoned in balinese spices. Isabel and I have been reading all day - getting lost in our books, ignoring the sweat on our stomachs and the burns on our thighs.

Chickens peck at specks on the black sand, and finally the cluster of women has stopped heckling us with their tacky jewelry and sarongs. Days pass so quickly while we've done little. I ask myself why I come so far away from home to sit on a beach and read, but I know it's not this simple. The challenges and idiosyncrasies run deeper than surface and will stay with me.

The contentness of the women on the slow-moving beach, under trees, scoping up and down for buyers. The old woman, skinny and flexible, with a large white tshirt and a small straw bag, washing her mouth out with water and spitting. Speaking to a male companion. A rooster crows. Wooden chimes, unrelenting and cliche. A lone German eats a lunch at noon in the restaurant. He just returned from the book shop to re-amp for the day-lazing.

Isabel and I dined with 2 German girls last night...proud to show them our fresh-thinking yet not unique American perspectives on public transportation in cities. An urban planner and a freelancer for graphic design at The Daily Mirror of Berlin, interested and goofy and almost middle-aged.

Isabel and I got a ride on a motorcycle offered up by a passerby and scooted slowly home, getting surpassed by truckloads and fast motorcycles. Our driver prided himself on his slow and careful pace - now that he had 2 livs behind him.

Isabel's enraptured in Prince of Tides now. I have a $3 massage in an hour. Class, Isabel would say. Only 200 meters inland the main road bustles with bikes and bemos - smog and heat rising from sewers - produce markets getting flushed with exhaust and smoke.

I look at a white couple who has just planted themselves at the cafe where I am supposed to have a massage. Blonde ponytails, big sunglasses.

Now the only lady has sauntered over to the French couple who woke up late and looked grumpy at breakfast. They sit under the sun and reject her proposals, "sarongs...cheap price. massage..cheap price. " The woman's tempted, the man, a techno DJ, unaware completely.

Success! The blonde runs to the shade while the old woman snappily sets up a massage station in the sand. Smiles, glances to her husband who just panted up to the shade where I sit, feet scorched from the black sand.

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