Sunday, April 4, 2010

life is just too much again

Have you heard of the Bali bombings? That was, I believe, 2002. Around 200 people were killed in a blast right outside some of the hottest nightclubs in Southeast Asia, on the Indonesian Hindu-majority, tourist-trappy island of Bali.

I don't remember the details too well, but I remember hearing about the event in the news. Another Islamic attack on the Western way of life. Or, for others, a well-deserved blow for a temple to hedonism.

This weekend, I stayed in a hotel right next to the glossy white marble memorial that has been set up at the Balinese "Ground Zero" site. All night, every night - presumably all week long since, being the ultimate definition of a tourist town, Kuta Bali is not a city that functions on the work week schedule - I could hear the unique blend of dance music wafting up to my room. As I walked past the clubs on my way home in the late evenings, I passed hundreds of girls in black miniskirts and stilettos and frizzy blond hair, and hundreds of Australian surfer dudes half-drunk and half-gawking. These tourists were surrounded by the Balinese who make their lives off the industry: gobs of masseuses, shopkeepers, and motorbike chauffeurs.

Bali is such a stereotype, but there were so many unique characters within the stereotype. How many times this weekend did I say to myself, "Now that's a character. That's someone I could portrait for my blog"? Oh, it happened at least several times a day.

How many of those people can I remember, now that I'm back with my computer on-line? None.

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