• Bob Taylor

Musings - Day 53

Day 53 – 17th February 2020

Any last push messages are always gratefully received. Your support throughout has been tremendous.

Today was a day of reflection. Because of the news coverage of poor Caroline Flacks sad passing, and the devastation of her family, she has been on my mind considerably of late. I never met her or knew much about her, but for me the overwhelming sadness is that someone of her tender age and obvious abilities cannot see past the shallowness of circumstance. Every single one of us evolves every day in some small way, even if it is just learning something new. Who knows what the future would of held for her, but what is for certain is that only the living can resolve things. For all those who have found coping just too difficult, I say rest in trouble free peace.

I have given my Honda Vario a name and a gender. She is going to be called Vicky Vario. Because I have filled Vicky up with food, it goes against the grain to leave fuel in a rented vehicle. I know that filling her tank only cost around £1 but the principle still holds. So today, I sit on Vicky, helmeted and ready to explore. In all I did around one hundred kilometres, which doesn’t sound much, but on a relatively small island, it gets quite a bit done. I went up into the hills to see the rice fields in Ubud, took in many temples and religious sites, and ended up in the coastal beach town of Sanur. It is where many tourist boats are sent over to the islands for day trips.

Sadly like most of Bali has become over commercialised appealing brazenly to the tourist dollar. Most English speaking accents here are Australian, and the prices in and around the south eastern part of the island reflect just how important tourism is to the Balinese. Before I came to Bali, I had, like most people, preconceived ideas of its beauty that unfortunately went unfulfilled. It is certainly lush, like most of Indonesia, full of small motorbikes and scooters, as well as a pace about it. But the neon, brashness of advertising, and general feel about this essentially unique part of the world, disappoints. You get the feeling that the locals just, want your bucks, say goodbye, and get onto the next lot. The mercenary way they achieve that has tainted the place for me. Every time you are out, even when you are mobile on a bike, you are hounded by someone who wants to put a deal your way. I have developed a game I play, when they ask “What do you want? I have very good price for everything.” I reply by enquiring if they have a torque wrench for a nineteen seventy one Triumph Herald?” It obviously stumps them for a while. Another of their favourite openers is, “Where you from?” I say, “Strudenbackenfloop.” I quickly follow with a made up Finnish book title or Latvian water garden feature, which totally throws them. I guess that it is just so repetitive that an amusing retort, and the facial response thereafter, make my life a little less pedestrian.

I have decided that however pleasant Vicky has become, especially for the smaller jaunts, my backside is not designed for sitting on motor bikes. I found after todays junket that I had a numbness previously unexperienced. Bottom pins and needles springs to mind. Whether it is a circulatory problem or just an uncomfortable seating arrangement, I found my resulting gait rather pinched, for want of a better description. Most definitely swagger less, if I ever I owned a swagger, that is.

This is the racing version of the one I've got.

I received a message, to hook up with Bob and Brigid (I had spelled her name wrongly the last time) later on this evening. The message had gotten rather bizarre, the upshot being that I dined alone. It was to do with the Indonesian sim card that I am using, when I had swapped details with him giving him my actual regular phone number. That little sim card is stored for reinstallation when I am on the plane home. I worked out the issue and messaged him the local digits, which he then rang me on. They were actually within one hundred yards of me the whole time, so we met up for a couple of hours. They were at a table with many other Aussies, who they introduced me to, and banter was rife amongst all. The lady at the end had a surprise birthday ceremony laid on by the establishment, who brought her a cake and special desert, with all the trimmings. In conjunction the band struck up the full nineteen verses of ‘Happy birthday to you,’ for her. Sadly though she got upset. The tears flowed because her late husband died on her birthday two years ago, which carried the melancholy of the dates memory. Tears on holiday are the most troubling for me because happy and sad should be like oil and water. Mixing the two emotions are always going to find only one winner.

You have enough of our faces now take one from the back.

Position: 08°42'06” N 115°10'42”E – Miles completed: 13869

Location: Kuta, Bali 20:14 - 17th February 2020 - Journey 53 days 17 hours

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