Dance Party, Part Two

The Dance Party Restaurant had live music again tonight.

The whole crew promised to meet up again.

I was the first to arrive at the restaurant. The host greeted me with a smile and a fist-bump when I got there. He said “I’ve talked to every one of you, and you all said you’d be coming back tonight.”

and I said “Heck yes we’re all gonna be here tonight!”

I though I was going to walk around the block, to give everybody some more time to show up. I got maybe five meters away before running into Erica.

Party. Started.

This time, everyone brought friends.

We got the entire restaurant to dance. The guitarist broke two strings, but we managed to convince him to re-string and keep playing.

I love people.



At the Market

The Market seems to be situated squarely between the place I’m staying and…pretty much every single thing that I want to go do.

The first few days I walked through, I was still a bit in shock from the currency. I’ve never been in a country where the currency is a based in thousands. It was really intimidating for me to walk through and hear people shouting “So cheap! One hundred fifty thousand!”. It was so easy for me to just…walk through, because I hadn’t gotten a handle on the fact that one American dollar is about twelve thousand Indonesian Rupiahs.

Once I got a bit more used to the exchange rate though…the market got steadily more attractive.


I’m not in the habit of keeping a lot of cash on me. I usually take what I need, and not a lot more. So, today, I realized two really incredible strategies for haggling:

1) Honestly don’t want the thing.

If you really don’t care whether or not you get the thing, and you’re actually willing to walk away, it’s amazing how fast the price gets lowered.

2) Actually don’t have the money.

If you’ve gotten the price down to 100, you reach into your pockets and then truly only have 88… chances are you’re going to get it anyway.


Monkey Forest

I was walking to the Monkey Forest, and before the entrance to the actual forest proper, there’s a stairway.

Me being me, I went “WHERE DOES THAT GO?!?” and promptly went up the stairs.


These were the kind of huge steps, the kind that make you feel eternally two years old, carefully stepping one foot at a time, as if you’re still learning to balance the weight of gravity with the need to find out what’s over there? As I got to the top of the stairway, every flat surface was covered in leaves and sticks, so I wasn’t always sure just how far down it was to the next step.

When I reached the top of the hill, I found that the stairs led to…absolutely nothing.

Well. Not nothing.

The stairs ended at the top of the hill, and left me in the middle of what seemed to be a nursery area for macaque monkeys.

There were baby monkeys everywhere. Some of them were so small they were still mostly pink, too young to have much fur yet.

I stood there, and tried to take a few pictures.

I was so entranced by suddenly being surrounded by baby monkeys, that I didn’t notice that there was an older monkey on babysitting duty who distinctly did not want me there.

I turned around and was faced with a giant, hissing monkey.

At which point, I went back to the stairs, desperately trying to remember what I’d read about how to defuse situations with Macaque monkeys. (All I remembered is that they were attracted to shiny things, don’t try to take anything that they had already grabbed, and that showing teeth was seen as an act of aggression.)

I didn’t want to turn my back on it, because the last thing I wanted was to get jumped by this monkey when I couldn’t see it coming.

It didn’t think I was moving fast enough, as I was trying to pick my way back down the stairs, and so started slapping my legs.

It finally left me alone when I got a little ways down the stairway, but it walked along the top of the hill, just in case I got any ideas about trying to go back up.


So. Sometimes magical stairways don’t lead to Narnia. They lead to angry monkey babysitters who want you to go back down the hill RIGHT. FUCKING. NOW.

A New Kind of Smithing

I’ve worked with blacksmithing before, but the smallest thing I’ve ever worked on was a cloak pin.

I’ve never had the opportunity to work with delicate metal. Everything I’ve ever done has involved mallets, vices, several sets of tongs, and exerting as much for as it was physically possible for me to put forth.

I love working with metal. (Also, I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible to be cold whilst working in a forge. I just think that it can’t happen.)

However…I really, really like small things. I like details, I like trivia. I like the corners and the edges and seeing a single tree in a forest. Which…is not really blacksmithing. There’s a limit to the amount of detail that can be done when working with metal rods that are two inches in diameter.

Today, I got to work with jewelry for the first time.

The torch used for soldering the pieces together had a foot-powered bellows on the floor next to the work station.

I love it.

I was working with silver, which is just…delightfully responsive. I can apply the smallest amount of force and it will bend.

It’s so strange that I don’t need tools to help apply the amount of force that I need to make metal do what I want it to, but it’s wonderful.


…I might well be hooked.




I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself today. I’m still kind of recovering from illness, and just, tired.

But, I’m in a beautiful place, and don’t really like the idea of not doing anything.

So, me being me, I went out to a restaurant that I’d seen advertising live music tonight.

This is perhaps the single best thing about knowing myself. I know that I *love* live music. If I can find enough energy to actually get to the event I will have a good time. (This is also sort of a beautiful thing about traveling by myself, and maybe more than that, giving myself permission to pursue the things that I enjoy.)


I went to this restaurant (where I had Crispy Duck for dinner, because apparently it’s a bit of a Balinese specialty, but also because I don’t recall ever eating duck in my life. So. When in doubt: New Things!) and sat by myself.

There was a woman sitting alone at the table next to me, and a woman sitting alone at the table next to her.

A little bit later, a woman came in by herself and sat alone on a bench along the wall.

The music started. We finished our food.

We decided that four women need not take up four tables.

Erica is a German woman living in New Zealand, who has grandchildren and more stories than I had a chance to hear.

Emily is a French woman who turned 31, realized her life had become the French saying of “Metro, Work, Sleep, Repeat.”, quit her job, left her dog with her mom, and came to Bali.

Daniela is a Mexican woman who went to university in New Zealand, and came to Bali to rendezvous with her boyfriend.

Erica said “Why is it that people are afraid to dance when the music is good?”

and I said “YES! LET’S DANCE!”


So we did.


We pushed the tables together to clear ourselves a dance floor. One of the other patrons of the restaurant was also a musician, so he got up and played with the band.

It became a karaoke dance party.

The staff of the restaurant came and danced with us.


This is why travel is important.

Because sometimes it doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going. Sometimes all that matters is finding the people who aren’t afraid to dance.

A Beautiful Morning

I was picked up from the airport yesterday by the lovely couple who run the place where I’ll be staying in Ubud.

I was sufficiently sniffly during the trip that when we got to the place, I was shown to my room and given a mug of the most amazing tea. It was spicy and sweet, and I have no idea what it was, but it was so, so good.

I’ve spent the past two days pretty much just sleeping and trying to get better. I don’t need to be totally well, but it’s a lot easier to go on adventures when one is reasonably healthy.



I started my morning with this view



and I’m ending my afternoon with this one.



My life is so good.

Ferguson, Missouri.

Tonight, the grand jury in Ferguson Missouri decided that a white police officer does not need to go to court after shooting an unarmed black man four times.

I…have no words for this.

It’s absolutely an issue of racism.


Sometimes, it just seems like…this world is so messed up.


There are students missing in Mexico.

People are getting arrested for peaceful protests in the U.S.


…and half the people I talk to…don’t seem to think there’s a problem?


Sometimes, all I see is all of the work that needs to be done, because…the world could be a good place for everyone.

It’s just…not.


An Update on Progress: Regarding Game of Thrones

After I finished Book One…I watched a single episode of the television show and just…didn’t feel much of a need to watch anymore of it? I already know what happens, so I just…wasn’t terribly gripped by it?

I have gotten my hands on a copy of Book Two, so I imagine that will be taking up space in my immediate future, but here’s the thing:

I think I’ve watched this video about five hundred times at this point.


I have the soundtrack to every single season.

I just…

it’s so good…..



(Also, why are all lady cello players so incredibly hot?

Oh. That’s right. Because ladies playing cello is pretty much the hottest thing EVAR.)


Seriously, though, there are SO MANY covers of the theme for Game of Thrones. Some of them are better than others.






Also, if you don’t watch the show…the intro is actually really, *really* cool. It’s also super helpful, which, let’s be real. How often is the introduction sequence to a television show *useful*? But this one actually does a pretty good job of giving the viewer an idea of where things actually are on the map, which, honestly, is something that I usually just ignore when reading fantasy novels, (sometimes significantly to my own detriment) I usually just figure “ah, they’re traveling” and go with it. This, however, is super cool and kind of makes it all fit together. (Which is also important for this show because there are a *lot* of story lines, so knowing where everyone is is really helpful.)


Sleeping in Paradise

It probably says a lot about me that I…would really rather prefer to get sick while on vacation that pretty much any other time.

I don’t have to call anyone. I don’t need a note signed by a doctor to prove my illness. I don’t need to deal with…anything actually.

It’s already *my* time.

So, if I choose to spend it drinking water and tea, and sleeping and attempting to eat vitamin-dense foods until I get better?

I don’t have to justify that.

If, instead of sleeping, I choose to watch some stupid movie for the five-thousandth time.

Well. I can damn well do that too.

If I’m going to get sick, I might as well do it when the only schedule I’m on is *mine*.

(Even if it is beautiful and tropical and I’m about a ten-minute walk from the beach.)




(It is also probably a very good thing for me to be on Holiday, because I don’t often hit a point when my response to the thought of *people* is just “DO. NOT. WANT. TO DEAL. WITH THAT.”. Usually it’s more like…”YAY! PEOPLE!” So, I reckon that some more sleep will do me good.)

Of Arrivals and Guitars

Every time I think I have managed to convince myself that I absolutely do not need to be traveling with a guitar…

I find myself in an airport, waiting for the sun to rise and my hotel to open so that I have somewhere to stay.

A man named Phillip was also waiting for the sun to rise.

He pointed to my guitar case and said “You play?”

So while we waited for sunrise, I learned about blues. I learned about Rock ‘n Roll, and fingerpicking. He played my guitar and I played my ukulele.

We sang House of the Rising Sun, because we both knew the lyrics to that one. (Mostly.)

Because music is it’s own language.

Because even at 4:00 in the morning, at the arrivals gate of Denpasar Airport in Bali, with two hours until sunrise, there is still space to create joy.