Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wonderfully Unwholesome Climes

Two expired on the Edward Bonaventure before she had even crossed the equator whilst others soon 'tooke their sicknesse in those hote climates, for they be so wonderful unwholesome'. Worse, the weather was on the turn. No sooner had the ships entered the southern hemisphere than 'we had tornados, with such thunder, lightening and raine that we could not keep our men drie three hours together which was an occasion of the infection among them.

Intrepid explorer Minda and I had our own weather challenges yesterday while exploring one of Bali's many monkey temples/tourist fleecing zones- Alas Kedaton. Rain here is not an entirely unpleasant experience nor does it seem to last very long. Lazy dark clouds disappear as quickly as they arrive leaving the unprepared tourist, already stewing in his or her own sweat lined clothes, tasting a salty blend of sweat and rainfall. Luckily our trusty "guide" had run off to fetch us both umbrellas which proved to be of dubious use given that by the time we actually had them opened the rain would let up and we would once would be sweating under a sunny, cloudless sky.

Elections are in full swing here in Bali and there are no less than 36 political parties vying for political office. Flying everywhere are the huge brightly printed banners and stern images of each party's candidates, Partik Demokrat and the Bull party being two of particular note given their prevalence around the Ubud area. Atop houses, signposts, intersections and warrungs, each banner has a prominently displayed number which I'm told is the only way that voters are able to actually make heads or tails of the incredible number of candidates. As it is, you only need 500 people to form a political party and once you do, your then allotted monies from the government to both run your campaign and to pay for the endless number of effigy-like pictures that line the roads leading out of the city-centers. One banner of particular note is that of a gentleman dressed in full make-up, hands clasped in namaste and eyes vacantly staring upwards as in prayer. As it is, I suppose I'll leave Bali forever wondering about the political platform of my new favorite candidate for Balinese office.

n a few hours we will be on our way to the second part of this adventure in Yogyakarta but there are still tales to tell from Bali that will need further elucidation and reflection. Some embarrassing , others very nearly violent but ultimately still interesting and enlightening just the same. Until we can catch up again, Selemat Pagi from Ubud, Bali.


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