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Bali: first day tale

Right place, right time. Isn't that how it always goes? Wandering around my new neighbourhood, finding overpriced French cafes and warungs. Fresh flower shops and expats on bikes. I must be the only person walking these streets. Motorbikes nearly run me over 65 times. Turning corners, smiling faces.

That's where I meet Ferry. He gives me a lift on the back of his bike to his house. A Harley Davidson painting abode overlooking a palm leaf garden. While he makes coffee I admire his admiration for bikes. Hats, posters, shirts, pictures, gadgets. Harley everything. In the middle of the living room: the one.

Stories of roadtrips in Java covered in Camel Black cigarette smoke. "Try some of these, they go very well with coffee." He puts a flower painted jar with biscuits on the table. I offer a big smile and dunk the cookie in the cup. Salty biscuit in sugary sweet instant coffee makes me laugh even more: I'm in Asia!

Rain starts playing on the tin roof drums. The rhythm makes me feel good. Knowing I'm sheltered under a roof and I can choose to be outside, get wet and dance in the rain if I want to. For now, I decide to stay dry and dunk another biscuit.

We leave the bike inside and take the car for a traffic filled trip to the beach. I take in all the green rice paddy views I can, feeling excited to explore this magical island. The water is warm and the sea rough. Boiled bananas taste extra sweet on my salty lips.

We stop at a foodstall to buy gadogado. The lady opens a leaf and cuts squares of green into a piece of paper. She throws in lettuce, potato, egg and cucumber and pours some spicy red sauce in a plastic bag. Flavours I have never tasted before tickle my senses.

Ferry puts the kettle on and the rains come over the house with a black blanket sky. I go outside for a tropical shower, the one where you can hardly open your eyes but you can't stop laughing. Palms colour green. Ink stains on my hands run down my elbows. The last Australian stories still needed to be told, slipped into envelopes and sent to another place I can call home.

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