This afternoon I found myself on a train. With other people. Which sucks. As previously established, I’m not very good at trains.
Sitting directly behind me was a mother, who I’m sure was a teenager in the 90’s, and her three children. The eldest, a girl that couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven, kept singing a single line from Aqua’s Cartoon Heroes. Over and over again. Very loudly.
So I’m in Bali sitting in my usual favourite café/bar/warung enjoying a deliciously inexpensive meal and a quietly cold beer. After a big morning of riding around aimlessly on my bike and soaking in the human potpourri that is Bali I had built up an appetite for relaxation. I’ve given my order to the dependably perky waitress and eagerly await the forthcoming taste sensation.
I have never paid for sex. Well, not in the traditional way of exchanging money for goods or services. I have, however, paid through other less direct means. Dinners, holidays, clothing, jewellery, heartache, angst, slashed tyres…
For those keeping score at home; I don’t think that there is anything wrong with exchanging money for sex. A business transaction that happens between two, or more, consenting adults is strictly their business and by no means grounds to judge.
That said; it’s not something that I myself would do. My rationale being: why pay money to remove the pleasure of mutually thrilling exploratory conversation? I like conversation. Conversation with a girl you find physically and mentally stimulating is the greatest invention of all time.
It was a day like any other. I was still in Bali trying to do as little as humanly possible while continuing to justify my proclamations of being a writer; the only thing giving my drinking any semblance of legitimacy. Sometimes, like right now, it doesn’t come quite as easily as I wish it did.
I’m not sure if this is because I’m not a very talented writer or because I tend to get distracted by, well, everything. Loud noises, fast movement, beer, shiny things, all seem to want to drag me away from my SERIOUS WRITER BUSINESS.
Whist travelling one tends to meet many different people. Many different interesting people. I find this is to be especially true when travelling alone. For me it’s one of the main reasons I flee the mundane repetition of my everyday life and seek alternate horizons/experiences.
Luckily, I’ve been blessed to meet so many epic randoms in my travels: Connor the Highlander; with his Irish drinking powers, Elliot the Brit; master of the wry observation, Kara; German house frau supreme, Agung; The Balinese bar god of mischief, Miss Dynamite; the savvy Canadian volunteer, Reggie; the Rastafarian Jesus from Holland, Oni; the most beautiful waitress in all of Indonesia.
All amazing people that have, in one way or another, left a lasting impression on me.
Occasionally you meet someone who is not very interesting at all; at least not to anyone other than themselves. I met someone like this today.
Here I am sitting in a quiet Balinese warung enjoying a few quiet beers, for a change, when in walk a quartet of pretty young Australian girls and sit directly opposite me like some kind of hyper excitable, reality show judging panel. I honestly kept waiting for them debate my merits amongst themselves… “Hm, I’m not sure. What do you think?”
“Too odd, too retro. “
“Grunge died 15 years ago. Can’t see you selling, sorry dawg.” Or something equally truthful and brutal.
Every day the same old man attempts to sell me, and anyone else who falls into his pleading buy trap, the same product. And every day he fails to sell his less than indispensable merchandise.
The old man in question has a weary, weathered face befitting his age. He looks at least 80 though he could easily be closer to 142. I’ve always had difficulties accurately gauging a person’s age, females in particular, this has lead to many “interesting” situations.