Our last memories of Bali are in the dark.
The warm sultry dark of evening to a latin beat, not as incongruous as one might think for an island bridging the gap between the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. Nothing is dry near the tropical equator, least of all an evening filled with Salsa dancers. As he whipped me back and forth, under and between his arms, lithe as a cat, all the while keeping gently tapping the back of my left hand with his index finger to help me keep my feet out from under his, all I could think was, “This is my last evening in Asia for a while….” What better way to spend it than on cushions around a table, with new friends who fit like an old shoe and a baby, with her daddy’s Bali blue eyes, dancing in and out, over and around.
The morning darkness is somewhat cooler. The samba fever has melted and the jungle exhaled a deep, fresh, breath of green under the stars. It feels like the lavender infused water I sipped at Clear Cafe two days ago tasted. I am awake, but I feel a bit like a mole emerging from her underground cave blinking at the great big world. I am not a morning person, but I have tea, so it will all be okay.
There are people moving about in the morning twilight:
- A woman with a woven basket full of bananas balanced lightly on her head
- A man on his motor bike with a sharp rice paddy knife
- The occasional car
- A mother, her long dark hair twisted into a bun with a long handled dustpan in hand, sweeping the dirt between her shop and the street.
- Two girls in matching work uniforms: floral sarongs and cream coloured shirts, walking to work.
- A grandmother with a bundle of long bamboo held in place on the top of her head, walking along the margin of the paved road.
- A clutch of early morning customers at a breakfast stall in a small village, rolling rice balls out of a banana leaf plate, popping them into their mouths and smiling at each other.
- A man with a bag of cement powder on his shoulder, headed for a construction site.
- A fellow bent to his work, pulling a heavy laden two wheeled cart against the traffic flow.
The sun is rising pink, and indigo and every shade of magical lavender into purple over the jet black rice paddy as we whisk our way toward Denpasar and the airport. The children are silent, folded like origami swans into the tiny remaining space after all of the bags and instruments are loaded. They too are moles, emerging into the brand new world of today.
It is a monumental day.
The day we add a new country to our list. The day we add a new continent to our list. The day we see Tin Tin**. Ezra has been discussing this for weeks. Tin Tin’s mother reports that their last school project was entitled, “Things to do when Ezra gets here. Excitement is running high. Friendships forged in childhood are formed fast an hard, those formed between travelers even more so. What must it be like for children who travel? I remember: her name was Maria Fortune Basuri. I wonder where she is now.
Of course Tin Tin isn’t the only one. There his four siblings are all dearly loved and and will be smothered with hugs and laughter as well. Australia, although we’ve never been there, will feel like a homecoming of sorts, as our dear friends at Going Anyway sweep us off of the road and into their lives.
**Tin Tin is his nom de plume! 😉