As if compensating for the four years I spent at BYU, that most vernal fun-hating of tertiary institutions, the universe has decided to grant me copious holiday time this spring, enough that I essentially have three separate opportunities to travel within Indonesia, mostly to Bali, and call it “spring break.”(Either it’s the eternal unchanging justice of the universe, or the fact that I have a fake job. You decide.)Whatever the reason, my spring break, like Gaul, has three parts.
As I hoped, Bali was worth every second of those agonizing 26 hours en route. I did everything my heart desired: I relaxed on KutaBeach, embarrassed first at being the whitest person on the beach, and then, a few hours later, at being the reddest person on the beach.After sunset, I indulged in veritable orgy of Western delights in the heavily touristed neighborhoods of Kuta: I ate Mexican food! And pizza! And gazpacho soup!I went shopping, acquiring lots of crap for very cheap, due to the fact that I, unlike all the other sunburned Westerners, can speak Indonesian—a sundress, a sarong, a pair of shorts, a book, a pair of sandals, three CDs, and 13 DVDs, all for a grand total of $25.I got my hair cut very short, to the dismay of the hairdresser. I talked to other Americans, Australians, and, especially, Europeans.I went to Ubud, a center of Balinese culture, and watched a traditional kecak dance.I visited ancient temples in the middle of a forest filled with monkeys.I learned to take “homestay” signs seriously: that was their home, and I stayed in it.I read Clifford Geertz articles about Balinese Hinduism while watching Balinese Hindus delicately place small offerings and incense on the doorsteps of their homes.I accepted a ride on the back of a motorcycle and made a new friend, who then toured Ubud with me, took me to dinner, and brought me home to meet the family and, strangely, spend the morning working in her shop.
In other words, I did Bali. It was paradise, and I miss it already, but no matter: I’ll be back come spring break part two or three.Sometimes having a fake job can really pay off.