A Golden Hour Bali Tour with Agung Rai

Unlike your typical tour guide, Agung Rai didn’t feel the need to fill every moment with commentary. In fact, other than the basic introductions, he didn’t say too much at all until we’d left Ubud proper and made it out into the rice paddy and jungle countryside.

Then he pulled the well used Toyota SUV off to the side of the road and shut off the engine. We were in the middle of no particular place and he got out of the driver’s side and beckoned us to do the same. After we’d walked a little ways from the truck, he said, “Listen to the water.”

The best advice I’d got in Bali since, “Try the curry.”

Lessons from a Bali Cremation Ceremony

There’s an older man who comes by our villa with his wife a few times a week to do a little gardening while his wife makes smoky offerings to the gods. He’s an unfailingly cheerful sort who always has a bit to say, but doesn’t hang around enough to become burdensome. Until today, he’d always spoken to us in his rather halting English. But today we discovered by accident that we both spoke Spanish, and the conversation got a lot more interesting.

He was the one who told us last week about Tuesday’s cremation ceremony and invited us to attend. And when he came back today, he asked if we’d been there and if we had any questions. Let me describe the ceremony first, so we know what we’re talking about when I get to the questions.

Some Ideas to Make the New Year Better

It’s almost the end of the year, and, like a lot of other people who don’t have anything better to do, I’ve been thinking of some things I should be doing instead of sitting around thinking all the time.

Here they are:

As Dorothy Parker said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” So, I’m going to do more “having written” and less hating. One of the things I plan on concentrating on is fictional obituaries of people I don’t know but don’t like so I still have an outlet for my hate.