Monday, August 25, 2008

PLAY: Sitting on the Balcony

After what seemed like 3 days of travel (but was only 18 hours, net, plus 24 hours for crossing the date line, a concept which I still find mind boggling, and a 28 hour layover in Tokyo..) I am finally in Bali, sitting on the balcony of my hotel listening to the ocean. I am so tired that I could paint clouds with melatonin yet the excitement of the being here - and a jet lag of epic proportions - is keeping me wide awake at 4am.. perhaps I will just stay up until sun rise / breakfast and then pass out in the sun? Tough decisions..

2 notables so far along with this first greeting:

1. Japan is amazing and definitely worth a longer trip. Just getting on to the Japan Airlines flight at JFK I felt like I was transported into another universe, one characterized by incredible politeness, insane precision, over the top service and unending obsession with fashion. It was almost challenging for me to play along with all the acts of kindness but in a sense it was a good way to break my mindset away from New York for the week. Of course, the real downside of it all is the omnipresent lost-in-translation feeling.. or actually lack of translation, since almost no one speaks English and relying on figuring things out on your own is difficult when most things are written in Japanese - like ATM instructions.. imagine trying to take the subway with no Yen, no idea which line to take, how much the ticket is.. long story short - I didn't - instead I browsed the nearby mall (there always seems to be one nearby! - it was packed at 10:30pm on a Sunday - hence the unending obsession with fashion) and then walked back to the hotel in pouring rain with no umbrella (which I can't buy because - remember - I have no Yen or no idea how to withdraw money and the convenience store lady doesn't seem to like the idea of accepting amex.. or the $20 I offered her)! Even funnier were the communication adventures in the hair salon.. but the cut turned out sort of OK (with one hour left in Tokyo I decided that rather than getting even more lost and risking missing the bus to the airport I may as well get a haircut.. a souvenir of sorts).

2. After settling in to the hotel here, I decided I need to go out and explore and maybe get a drink and some food.. Imagine my surprise when the only thing going at 2am was a gay bar. No, I didn't go in.. something about me set off a strange response from the crowd - I can't tell what they were shouting and whether it was good but I definitely attracted attention. Then as I walked back to the hotel, a guy, could have been 20 years old maybe, drove by on a motorcycle and first asked me if I needed a lift and then delivered an indecent proposal.. It took me all of an hour to be at this place before getting harassed. The good news is it was all very harmless and he retreated almost immediately when I said "no, thanks!". OK fine, I had to say it twice. But I suppose it wasn't threatening.

Anyway, so much for now.. check out a mini preview of my trip so far here. I am going in because the damn mosquitoes are eating me alive..

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