399 Intersecting Indonesia in Preparation for the Next Life + new year
NYC—26 Dec 204
sposed to B in Bali by now .. yesterday xmas go to Newark ... nobody around .. flight not listed .. nobody at Cathay Pacific counter .. WTF? .. finelly find some1 to ax ... but b4 they even respond it sinks in .. a sick feeling down to the pit of our stomach .. 1 AM .. not 1 PM .... boy did we fuck up .... think we'd know better .. specially as recently we transcribed a journel entry in 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY' wherein our brother-½ makes the same mistake flying China to India .... not like we haven't flown red-eye/night-owl b4 ... usually when u buy tickets for 0110 they display asterisked notice in red .. but not this time .. member just thinking oh 1 in the afternoon on xmas day .. seems a good enuf time to fly .. our usual tradition .. last xmas to Patagonia ... the year b4 in Bali ... wd uv been our 3rd xmas in Bali .. the 1st in 1990 that recently we transcribed ... tho we only reblogged far as Dec 7 .. only getting far as Lombok ..
.. + now Bali again our destination .. in theory .. til we fucked it up .. how it slipped by both of us who knows .... + then the aftermath .. what to do .... xmas day the airport .. empty .. no representatives from Cathay .. got a # to call but office not open since baby Jesus born 2014 years ago today .. try to go online w/ crappy Inurnet .... find a Hong Kong 24-hour 800 # to call .. dont work .. all permutations of 01180027472200 .. various combinations of 0 + «+» 011 .. 0110 .. +11 .. or chopping off the last 0 .. + cant even just call a fucking human switchboard operator anymore .... so tried skyping Hong Kong office direct .. on hold .. 10 minutes .. 20 .. 30 .. hard to hear hold music w/ the announcements blaring thru empty airport about watching your belongings .. well-dressed Chinese guy next to us same exact problem .. 1 AM not PM .. sounded like he got rescheduled for 3 PM out of JFK .. but he had travel agent or some1 helping on the other end .. we booked ours direct thru u Inurnet .... finally get thru to Cathay in HK .. initial exchange .. hello .. hello .. cut off .... a comedy of fucking errors far from funny when ur living it ..
.. head home to at least good inurnet .. running thru all the hypotheticals in our heads .... worst case scenario (our better-½ always 1 to think glass ½-empty) .. if we have to buy another ticket outright at full-price we cancel the trip altogether .. but lots of moving pieces + dependencies .. 2 sidetrips from Bali .. both for our better ½'s work w/ people meeting her .... get home + back on Skype .. after another 30 minute wait finally get thru .. they say «we cant hear u .. u on skype? call our toll-free #» + then click .... want to punch our hand thru computer .. throw dumbphone out the window .. google how to make intl 800 calls no help .. check Cathay Pacific site .. no mistake in the # .. try to see if we can do it online .. seems flights full or ridiculously expensive .. wont let us change .. the 1 we missed still listed .. meanwhile in queue again to direct HK # ... after ½-hour wait finally get thru again .. tell them our predicament .... silence while he types .. xpecting the worse .. flight next day from JFK .. dont have to rebuy ticket .. just $100 penalty .. whew! ... scramble to cancel/replan 1st 2 days .. not all lost .. think we got it sorted .. guarantee we never make that mistake again.
Seems whenever we in distracted limbo (like last few days) we get lots of writing done .. seem to member Carver 1x saying sumthin of the sort .. when had quiet time set aside to write he never cd .. only when kids screamed + wife nagged .. he'd go to his car + lock himself in + write .. a way to cope w/ chaos + uncertainty .. or just that it comes when u dont expect it .... after xfering files over so our slave laptop mimics mother machine started (not just thinking about but) officially writing Raft Manifest (the continuation of The Becoming) .. case u wonder why write us like this here .. method acting .. still not cognizant ('kumtux' in The Becoming speak) of the verb «to be» ... tho since in Raft Manifest we enter psychological state of conscious incompetence .. we become self-consciously aware of our language (when we encounter other beans w/ different tongues) + the language evolves as the book progresses .. but now (in sexion 0 of 3) x-ist us still in transitional chapters still not kumtux or self-conscious of how stupid we sound.
At JFK now .. just saw Keri Russell in the lounge ... only noticed cuz she quite stunning .. + we like The Americans + look forward to the next season soon .. she w/ her 2 kids .. seems a good mother .. very petite in real life ....
On the plane now .. sumwhere over the Pacific not far from Japan .. after brief layover in Vancouver not even disembarking .. just finished Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish .. good airport/plane read .. long + sustained .. eviscerating language w/ a visceral chop grips u in for the ride .. street-wise .. gritty + in ur face .. 2-angled probe into the underbelly of America .. specifically NYC .. + drilling further down into Queens .. + how America relates to the rest of the world .... Queens as a fracturing microcosm ..
.. read sumwhere Queens has more language diversity than anywhere in the world .. the true melting pot .... if u want a glass-bottom look at Queens w/o getting wet or shot or sick off dirt-cheap Chinese slop .. than read Preparation for the Next Life .... not that we can vouch for authenticity .. we've probly spent less time in Queens than any other boro .... + funny we shd read it now .. flying away from NYC .. Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong .... seeing as air travel seems to trigger our better-½'s heart issues (like it did our last flight to Italy) we splurged .. going Bizness class (for 1st time ever .. sides the time they freely upgraded us on Philippine Air long time ago) .. which on Cathay must say cant complain .. but shouldnt this = norm? .... economy = inhumane .. specially for long-haul flights of 20+ hours .... + now flying biz hard to ever fly economy again in future ..
.. anyway .. we far away now from the gritty realism of NYC as portrayed by Lish in Preparation for the Next Life .. a touching boy meets girl story really .. the girl from Uighur region of China .. which know us nothing about til now but guess must = sum Muslim minority near border w/ Afghanistan .. she finds her way to America by way of Mexico .... boy = testosterone-fueled vet .. 3 tours of Iraq .. obsessed w/ pumping iron, etc... unlikely couple .. but mostly about place .. the janky strip-malled streets .. a simmering cauldron of brewing cultures all intersecting 1 another + cross-pollinating w/ eachother's junk .. people from all over escaping sumthing else ..
.. Lish's attention to detail mind-numbing .. street-wise for sure .... cant help but wonder how much of it based on his experience .. specially as Lish's father none other than Capt. Fiction .. presumably Atticus had means .. could've gone to college (maybe did?) .. didnt need to join army or slum it in sum Queens shithole .. whether he did or not .. or whether by choice .. dont matter .. we try not to read interviews + whatnot for this very reason .. let a book speak for itself .. but think we did read sumwhere he indeed served in Iraq .. but whether he saw action or experienced post-traumatic aftermath who knows .. maybe he even has Chinese girlfriend or wife (from which he got all these details .. forming at least ½ the book .. if he didnt experience it or marry it then man he sure did his research .. did some time .. got an earful from sumwhere about real-world immigration issues .... + presumably he could've used his father's connections to publish the book bigtime on ave of Americas but he went to bottom-dwelling NY Tyrant .. w/ appropriate street cred .... + tell u what—Preparation for the Next Life better than anything his pop ever wrote .. + them hard shoes to fill .. a refreshing read in these times when most literature seems churned by privileged liberal hipsters w/ MFAs but nothing to write about ..
.. ok at times felt maybe it belittles the truly destitute .. that dont have the privilege of lifestyle choice .. but rarely if ever can any 1 in dire poverty tell their own stories .... we ourselves admit a fascination w/ ruin porn .. things in state of decay more intresting than pretty new things + shiny glass condos .. in our own Maphattan wanderings the most intresting parts not the «nice» parts of town .. but try to tell that to sum1 in Bangladesh or the DRC .. NYC to them a Shangri-La .. even Queens .. but what is poverty? .. guns + fried chicken or busting your ass on a goat farm?
Also watched Boyhood on the plane .. flick that Linklater made over a period of 15 years .. intresting idea .. but not as good as expected .. perhaps more intresting not as drama but as reality show .. seeing how a real character changes in time .. + also Begin Again ... some movie w/ Mark Ruffalo (classic as a washed-up A+R guy .. speaking of NY Tyrant his character sort of reminiscent) .. Keira Knightly + Catherine Keener (who we also love) ... good NYC movie (granted might have that certain airplane bias where more of sucker for sap) all over east village + LES .. sposed to be a fuck u to the music industry .. band of sposed misfits making a gritty album on the streets of NYC .. too bad the music sucked .. the same cheesy pop music they rally against .. in fact u cd call Begin Again a Spinal Tap for the 90s only dont think they meant for it to become a funny mockumentary ..
.. oh + ay before we left read the Dream Journals of Melody Owen .. small little chap .. perfect for reading on the subway ± waiting in the dentist office .. normally our dentist has a dog which = a nice distraction but dog not there ..
2 hour layover in Hong Kong .. not enuf time to leave airport .. no worries .. stopping over for 24 hours on way back .. time enuf then to check it out .... only impression of HK from airport that it smell mildewy .. watched Tracks on HKG to DPS leg .. movie about that camel Lady in Australia that walked w/ 4 camels + her dog from Alice Springs to western shore .. intresting ..
.. landed Denpasar .. rigmarole of customs .. exit thru crowded arrivals area .... long official taxi line so exit thru giftshop + haggle w/ gypsy cab .. hot + humid .. sweating buckets .. heavy traffic as always .. not as insane as 2 years ago as they've finished that overpass over the water .. but still chaotic .. mopeds + cars ever jockeying for position .. long ride to Candidasa .. lush (rainy season) .. all the smells coming back .. everything smelling of jasmine rice (even woman who processed our visa) .. mixed w/ frangipani + incense + whatever else .. finally to our hotel .. after sum 36 hours of travel .. sense of time completely inverted (13 hours ahead here) .... + not only did we arrive 2 days + 10 years after the tsunami that devastated Indonesia .. but now yet another flight gone missing between Java + Singapore .. AirAsia .. must be a new Bermuda triangle forming around Malaysia (our destination after this .. + we fly Malaysian Air no less) ..
.. went to look at water + within seconds monsoon sweeps in .. strip down + jump in pool in the pouring rain .. refreshing ..
.. ate red snapper w/ sambal chili + mee goreng for dinner .. tried to stay awake as late as possible to not get too screwed up .. 3 men right outside our room making a ruckus .. groundskeepers w/ flashlights .. trying to catch this snake ..
.. seemed harmless .. not a cobra .. + didnt have viper v-head .. but they all seemed scared of it .. crouching behind 1 another 20 feet away + running every time it moved .. we approached barefoot + they thought us crazy .. they pinned the head w/ a bamboo pole then w/ walkie talkies called for reinforcements .. presumably a snake expert finally comes along .. finally he captures alive .. holding it by neck .. takes it away ..
Gili Trawangan, Lombok—Dec 29
Woke up in Candi Dasa .. after a night of not sleeping but sort of laying there trying to convince our pineal of nightness .. weird lucid hallucinations focusing on our pineal w/ eyes closed .. iridescent shapes morphing into suggestive shapes our subconscious mind suggested .. finally got light .. had breakfast + sitting there waiting for our pickup + our better-½ says u sure about the time? .. so we hand the slip to her + she says it says January 29 .. just when we said never we'd make that mistake again here we go fucking up the date for our boat rez .. booked it online 2 days before .. member just picking 29 assuming the month = Dec ..
.. so got a taxi quick to Padang Bai harbor .. but not so quick of course tho only 13 km away .. always traffic .... got there took a while to explain to these guys we fucked up (pointing to date) + cd we go today? .. + they took our slip back + talk about it + walkie-talkie HQ .. then come back + point to the month + say scuze me mistur but the date say January when it December 29 .. yes we know like we said we make a mistake cd we go today? .. but no sir no boat today .. please must be a way .. we small people w/ little bags .. can sit on roof or stand .. he ax around .. every 1 full up .. finelly some1 says later in the morning a boat going .. then actually ok now .. so off we got standing on the pier w/ bunch of other vagabonds bound for Gilis .. pouring rain so didnt sit on roof .. packed inside w/ AC cranking watching Jackie Chan + Chris Tucker in Rush Hour ..
.. arrive in Gili Trawangan .. the bigger party island of the Gilis .. but on the quieter part .. figured since last time we on Gili Air we'd try Trawangan for change of pace (not sure what we thinking) .. even from here outside of the town not even nightfall yet can here throbbing dance music .. sunburnt drunk ozzies hooting + hollering .. bells of those trotting horse carts back + forth .. bicycle bells dinging .. beyond that waves crashing on the reef .. doves cooing + birds .. just chilling now reading We The Living by Ayn Rand ..
.. while the horse-drawn carriage (cidomo) tradition of Lombok = quaint + novel 20 years ago .. now really quite a downer .. they treat them like shit .. running them to death .. all for what .. cuz fat tourists = lazy? .. besides cruel they crowd the 1 street + u cant even walk w/o having to get out of their way .. them squeezing horns like they own the road .. like those annoying cars in airports ..
Senggigi, Lombok—Dec 30
Woke up + went running around the island x2 ... each revolution about 6 km .. thru the aftermath of debauchery .. still drunk people staggering home .. streets smell of throwup + beer .. really a disgraceful scene .. why do people feel such a need to party as such in exotic locals w/ no respect or intrest in the culture they in? .. ironically Muslim .. not that these Gili boys dont partake in the magic mushrooms + all that ..
kept hearing our name in conversation between locals .. though they talking about us .. ends up derek means broken in Bahasa .. at least sum guy told us that .. but google translate tells us it means crane .... call us broken crane ..
.. offered a free snorkel trip to Gili Air .. but hate such group trips + last time spent plenty of time snorkeling at that spot .. so got a fast boat to Lombok mainland .. right away more laid back than Bali ..
.. staying on Senggigi beach .. just chilling out .. swimming .. snorkeling etc..
.. sum of what we saw underwater (discovered our new camera goes underwater!) ..
.. saw a turtle but didn't get nearly as close as this 1 we saw 2 years ago off Gili Air (that we caught by hand to take fishhook out of her mouth) ..
.. got a wicked heat rash on our calves .. both of us .. probly from the shock of going from cold NYC to hot Indonesia .. hiker ± golfer vasculitis probly .. not that we hiked or played golf .. seems more from standing/walking in hot hot heat .. or from the blood pooling in our legs .. after 36 hours flying .. sitting in a hot car for 1½ hours .. + 1st thing we did when got to Candi Dasa we treaded water in pool (for extended times w/ hands held up .. pure calf workout)(wanted to exercise or walk but was raining + getting dark) .. + then walking around Gili Trawangan in insane heat .. swimming in ocean seems to exacerbate .. w/ fins our calves cramping up .. fighting a strong current snorkeling ..
4:33 a.m. .. call to prayer echoing in the darkness (unlike Bali .. Lombok predominantly Muslim)(fitting in the aftermath of Preparation for the Next Life) .. sound of waves lapping gainst the shore .... last day of the year .. last post .. posted 55 this year .. more than 1 a week .. 399 altogether in 10 years since we started this .... if we consider each post to be the equivalent of 10 book pages then 5¢ense so far = a 4000 page novel or book object (what we consider 5¢cense .. a serialized living book .. in real time .. a blogject) .... if each post has 25 photos then 10,000 photos .... + sure we've talked about at least 1 book read per post (we dont list all of them here) .. then 500 books read .... + spanning 40+ countries .... + in the 2nd ½ of this year we walked almost every street of Manhattan in our Maphattan Project .. only about 2 walks to go .. ~342 miles so far ..
.. this = where stand .. or lay .. in Senggigi .. on the i-land of Lombok .. where we ended our handwritten journel we transcribed recently .. from 24 years ago .. time-capsuled perspective .. when we = vagabond free spirit/misguided soul .. a year before we met our better-½ who lays next to us sleeping .. xmas eve we celebrated #18 .. call to prayer now over .. just the waves + the sound of our typing .. selamat Tahun Baru .. semua yang terbaik pada tahun 2015 ....
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