First Day in Bali
I am lying in my bra and pants on a wooden table in a public thoroughfare of people, bicycles, dogs and shops next to Sanur Beach, and nobody even notices. Imagine doing this in Sydney. Or Berry. Liane is giving me a massage, which lacks technique, but is, indeed, ‘strong’ as she promised. Perhaps I should have requested a ‘medium’. She also promised ‘relaxing’ and this is anything but. For an hour, this is costing less than I have paid for a cup of coffee in Sydney, so it seems churlish to complain.
Liane chatters loudly to her friends and seems to forget exactly where she is up to from time to time. Loud music pumps from the outdoor restaurant next to us, but I can still hear the sound of the waves lapping over the necklace of plastic at the edge of the sand.
I smell the smells of Bali, a mixture of flowers, tobacco, incense and drains, the humidity seeps into my pores, I think I am bruising as Liane relentlessly massages bone in my thigh, and inexplicably I want to cry.
I am here with my Beloved, who is waiting for me on the verandah of our hotel, which looks to the ocean. He is just two minutes away, and I feel suddenly a need to see his face.
This magical, beautiful, chaotic place makes me feel things I do not expect and stirs things I do not know. I wonder if I have been here in another life, for coming here always feels like coming home. When I was ten years old, during the Congo Uprising in Bancroft in Northern Rhodesian our father evacuated us. We went to England on a slow voyage from Cape Town to Southampton, and when my Aunt met me for the first time, she remarked to my mother, “Eeeeh, our Veee, she looks Balinese!”
Perhaps I am, or was, in another life.