First Impressions of Kuta, Bali: The Most Touristy Place in the World
It's about 9:30 PM on Monday night when I'm writing this, surrounded by turquoise and beer bottles, masking tape, watercolors, brushes, empty water bottles, deodorant, Indonesian coins, pens, receipts, toilet paper, bug spray, suntan lotion, shaving cream, green Converses, dirty clothes, paintings on the desk beside the bed and up on the wall, laptop, cell phone, and headphones. In my ears. Playing Bob Dylan.
She takes, just like a woman. Yes, she does. She makes love, just like a woman. Yes, she does. And she aches, just like a woman. But she breaks just like a little girl...
The week I spent in Kuta is coming to an end. Bali is a special place, lemme just say that right off the pen15.
Umm, the sunlight. And there are touristy areas in the major landscape of the town/province/area/region, whatever you wanna call it. Kuta stretches out from the airport, north. There's also a town/region to the west called Denpasar. The airport is supposedly located there. But it ain't true.
The airport is in the south of the island. Kuta stretches northwest, including Legian Beach, Seminyak, and there's also Canggu. That's where the kambucha-drinking expats go to thrive on self-indulgent positivity absent any self-awareness at how annoying they can be. And are. Oh, shit. I just made up a word!!!
They'll stone you just like they said they would. They'll stone you when you're trying to go home. ...But I would not feel so all alone. EVERYBODY MUST GET STONED.
Umm, when I first got into town—a new country, finally, after three weeks of Cambodia. It was hot. Like a melting sneeze. There was a certain lethargy to all the airport workers, at least in the back of my mind. Hindsight is easier than peeing in a tent.
I kept going, out there. With the other knuckles and heads and points pixelated in the center of the iris, mine's brown. I carried with me my blue suitcase, beaten and battered, and a bag on my back. And another bag with my laptops that for some strange reason smelled of cat piss. Why?
Some sneaky dirtbag came riling up to the side of my whereabouts and asked me what I needed from the island. Dude, get the fuck away from me. He did not respond in a civilized manner. So, in those moments, I resort to my own Brand of Madness.
"LISTEN, MOTHERFUCKER. IF YOU DON'T BACK THE FUCK OFF, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A PROBLEM. A SERIOUS ONE. I JUST GOT OFF A FIVE-HOUR FLIGHT. AND BEFORE THAT, I WAS IN BANGKOK FOR SIX HOURS PULLING AT MY PUD. IT WASN'T RELIEVING NOR SATISFYING. DO YOU REALLY WANNA GO UP AGAINST A BLUEBALLED AMERICAN WITH A WORTHLESS SENSE OF SELF-ESTEEM?"
By then, he'd walked off, scratching his ass and earlobe.
Another guy walked up, after I kept going. I felt weak because I expelled all my steam at a pimple on the pecker of humanity.
"Where do you come up with this shit?" he asked me.
"What are you? The prince of Bali?"
Suddenly, I was in his car, looking up on my phone about the prices for taxis in Bali. He told me 150k Rupiah. I said the phone told me it should be 80k. He said, quite plainly, "No, 150."
I was making a faux pas. Never get in a taxi before discussing a price while traveling abroad. I had made the same mistake in Italy. (It wouldn't be until later when I was back in control of my senses that I understood he was scamming me, somewhat.)
But what the hell? A man's gotta eat. No?
Anyway, I got to the place. Kinda. It wasn't the right spot. So I walked again with my shit. The second place. That wasn't right, either. The room was at the end of an alleyway that was also a street.
Anyway, yeh. Yeh. Yeh. I went out after getting settled by turning on all the lights, putting on the AC as high as it went and spitting directly on the mirror in the room. WHAT THE FUCK YOU LOOKIN' AT. Oh, wait. I wiped the spit off with my codpiece. Damn airports. They made you wacky with a short fuse.
Out to the beach!
(Opening another beer.)
Lay, lady, lay. Lay across my big brass bed.
Seminyak was cool. I liked riding the motorbike taxi out there after stopping at an art store and getting some watercolor paints and supplies. Kuta is very touristy, Kuta Beach. North of Kuta Beach is Legian Beach. Some clubs there, reggae shit. I got hassled by locals, repeatedly, on that first day. A woman grabbed my arm, asking if I wanted a massage. My hair was green, okay. I got a lot of compliments about that. "Cool hair, bro!" "Thanks, fellow human!" And then I came across some guy who took me to his new store and basically decided for me that I should buy up some sunglasses, shoes, flip flops, t-shirts, etc. When he finally got me down by his little calculator, and his wife brought me a water, he said that I should pay him $115 for two shirts that would shrink in the next wash and a pair of swimming shorts that would be useless to me in a few months. Ha! I laughed, got up and stormed off. The woman tried to block my way and the people out front of the store, some guy, told me that I should barter for the goods. Barter down from $115 when I wanted to pay, a maximum, of, fifteen, bucks. Nah. I'm good. I CAN THINK FOR MYSELF, YOU KNOW. I'M A'LOUD TO WALK AWAY.
Nobody said anything in my wake. But I did see that fucker the next day when I walked to town in the late heat of 4 or 5 pm after finishing my work. "HEY, YOU. FROM YESTERDAY."
I pretended not to hear him. The prick.
And now it's the morning, just after I've chugged the beer from last night I couldn't finish (a daily routine, here). I've got my two coffees from a local store—a Muslim store, convenience, where they don't sell any beer. Usually, I've been going to a Circle K. Coz they sell beer!! But they don't have the chocolate chip coffee cake for my breakfast, so I went to the other store. (There's three convenience stores right in a row at the end of the alley when you walk toward Reality and Other People.)
Okay, so the people here are very friendly. They look you in the face and smile. They always ask you to come and eat at their restaurant. Or they want to know where you're from, and how come you're traveling alone?
I'm traveling to Ubud in less than three hours. And my room's a mess. I think everybody in their life should visit Bali. Ummm. And the rocket's red glare, was cute in the air. I had one hand in my pocket...
Here are some pictures.