Hasn't Bali featured in the news lately? We got back on Grand Final Day (Go Cats, oh didn't they go?) and settled back into Melbourne pretty quickly albeit reluctantly. I hadn't wanted to leave, Legian Beach, or Double Six Beach rather, was a nice place to be. It was warm, it was cheap, the food was amazing, and my brain had emptied of all the mess and bother that was in it before we left.
Usually when on holiday, about three days before the end my mind turns to home. I begin to detach, to ready myself for the return. And am usually happy to get back home. Not this time. On the last day I was floating in the pool with my favourite orange Pool-Noodle, frangipani blooms dropping into the water from overhead, so relaxed that even the jarring incongruence of an enormous chariot and two white, rearing horses (complete with penises sheathed in veined and wrinkled foreskins) statue next to the pool was a calming and familiar place to rest my eyes. I didn't want to come home.
Not that home has anything bad going down. Quite the opposite. I am in motion towards opening a business with a couple of colleagues. My writing is going well. Everything is fine. But it was just so nice over there.
Not for others, though.
I got back and Bali seems to be dominating the news.
1. Bali Boy.
My questions about this 14-year-old boy who was busted with drugs are to do with things other than drugs and 'what the hell was he thinking?' I would like to know the following: is it true (as reported) that he was visiting a spa in Kuta up to twice a day for full-body massage? If this is true, what the hell? Which 14-year-old boy does this? Was hand relief a part of the service?
I feel for him though. Which parent thinks it necessary to explicitly warn their 14-year-old about the drug laws of another country? I didn't. But a conversation with Princess after our return, about this boy, was enlightening.
'Most kids are experimenting with drugs and alcohol at that age, not later. By the time they get to 16, 17 etc they are settling down. Unless they are the ones who are still doing it.' Can't argue with that logic, but I was a little surprised. 'No, I know heaps of kids who have tried both.' She's just turned 15.
Seems to me that if you go to Bali, don't buy drugs (that's pretty obvious) but also don't hire a motorbike, moped or car. Apparently the police will pull you over for imagined infractions and get money from you.
2. The wedding bar brawl.
Dean Laidley et al. What the hell? Again, suggestions it was a set up. Bouncers arrested, bouncers tell their side of the story. They were trying to stop a brawl between the Laidley crew and another group. I did wonder why Laidley Snr and Jnr had left the country so quickly? Leaving wife and other members of the family behind? More to this story I think.
All I can say is I saw enough ugly Australians to make me think (terribly) that no wonder some people in the world hate us. I was there 25 years ago and that was my thinking. Nothing has changed for the better; in fact we saw in addition to the standard Bintang-singlet-wearing, street-walking, late-morning-beer-drinking bogans: a Vodka Cruiser Granny.
3. Nurse suffers brain damage and kidney failure after drinking cocktail on Lombok. I drank cocktails on an island off Lombok BUT I didn't go near the Arak (this time.) Apparently it was laced with methanol. Poor thing, I feel sorry for her.
All this in eleven days.