Cleaning up glass

In the grand scheme of things my life is pretty good but I just need to vent.

I’ve lived in my little room for over a year now. The whole time I’ve been here I’ve been thinking, ‘I must get some photos printed and framed to hang on the wall’. Finally, two days ago I went and ordered some.

I went and picked them up this morning and I was stoked with the result. I went across the road and bought some hooks. The hooks were quite big but I thought, ‘It’s ok, they’ll be behind the picture so I won’t see them’.

I got back to my place and I looked at the frames and the string at the back is quite stretchy so when I hang them the string will stretch beyond the frame and both hook and string will be visible once they’re hung.

So I thought I’d go and buy some hooks and maybe some kind of wire to replace the string. On my way to do that I went to check the beach.

I ride a very old motor scooter and ever since I bought it I’ve had problems with the starter button. I’ve had it fixed and replaced a couple of times but it always ends up breaking again. A few months ago I decided, ‘fuck it, I’m just going to kick start it whenever it breaks’. The starter button sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t so I’ve been kick starting it when it doesn’t.

I went to Sumatera a few weeks ago and I left my bike at the airport for 12 days. When I got back I couldn’t kick start it. I eventually got it running but ever since then I’ve been worried that my battery is fucked.

I took it to my mechanic yesterday and told him the problem and that I’m not sure if it’s the starter or the battery. He replied, ‘if it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, it’s the battery’.

I don’t like the guy though. Once he fixed a flat tire and a couple of hours later, in the middle of Denpasar, at night, on the way home from a stressful hospital appointment it went flat. I had to find a tambal ban and get it fixed again. So I was kind of like, mmmmmm ‘I dunno ’cause you didn’t even check the battery.’

This morning I took it to a different mechanic and they sprayed wd40 in the starter motor and told me to come back tomorrow if it doesn’t start again. Then they sent me on my way (Indonesia is so weird sometimes, I’m not even sure they were mechanics). Anyway, on my way back from the beach, I decided I really need to get it checked and replaced if need be.

So instead of going to buy the hooks, I stopped in at home to grab some more cash and stepped straight onto the fucking frames I had picked up this morning. I smashed the glass in two of them.

Then I went to another mechanic and they fixed my bike with a new fuse for $2.00.

I’m curious to know what will happen. Will my bike start tomorrow? Will I need a new battery? If I eventually need a new battery it means I should have just got one from the first mechanic and then I wouldn’t have stopped in at home to get more cash and stepped onto the frames.

Off to clean up some glass now.


Meat Packing Plant

Tracey Moffat Meat Packing

The Baying of the Cows:

Hoof and Horn, Hoof and Horn.

All that dies shall be reborn.

 Each week we stand, Monday to Saturday, armed against the spray of blood and gristle, in our stiff little hats and coats, in our helmets and our hairnets, in our bright and bold bandannas. Dodging and grinning we cleave, chop and heave great humps of meat, into boxes onto pallets, onto trucks that whirr, out into the silent blue night. Coming soon, to a supermarket near you. Unpacked, shrink-wrapped, prodded, sniffed and jabbed, ready, raw and bloody, ripe, for your consumption.

Amidst the bounce and splatter of an occasionally hurled eye, we feint left, then right, behind the foreman’s back, dodging gelatinous bites of fat flicked clumsily from rubber-covered thumbs and tips of knives, at uncovered faces and foreheads. We weep with laughter, trimming fat from the raw and bloody bodies of cows, of cows, of cows.

 Warm blood once surged through pulsing veins in the thick and bristly necks of heifers, now clotted, cold and sticky and, blacking silver benches. A tide of pink, a frothy mix, diluted blood and offal, pools and swirls around a drain, a pungent caustic river.  Rotted flesh swept toward waste disposal units where maggots writhe, squirm, and sway; an eyeless, open-mouthed praying.

Pulley hooks shriek, conveyors groan, bodies swing and sway, and beat a hollow thud in time, thumping dully against another. Naked, flayed, skinned and pink, helpless, boneless bodies lay, waiting to be passed through blades, weighed, packaged and labelled; hand-picked, hand-hacked, hand-delivered, fresh from the factory floor, boxes of flesh and bone, wrapped, in candy-coloured coffins.

Fire and Rain, Fire and Rain

All that dies shall rise again.

Hats, hairnets, helmets, and our bright and bold bandannas protect raw and bloodied bodies of cows from our corruption; skin, spittle, saliva, and silken strands of hair, as all the once aliveness of us gravitates toward, the vibrantly red, dead flesh wobbling brightly, on counters, before us.

Image: Tracey Moffat First Jobs, Meat Packing 1978. 

Kadang-kadang kita berjalan sendiri

Minggu lalu, waktu aku tunggu di lampu merah, aku lihat laki-laki mebanten di pelinggih di bundaran di tengah perempatan. Keindahan dan ketenangan dari kebiasaan itu, di antara kekacauan lalu lintas, hampir (hampir) membuatku menangis. Ada banyak momen seperti ini di Bali di mana aku terpaku dalam keindahan disekitar aku.
Kadang kadang kita harus membuka jendela hati kita untuk kekacauan supaya tetap peduli, kadang kadang kita berjalan bersama.   Kadang kadang kita harus tutup jendela hati kita dan balik menuju ketenangan, kadang kadang kita berjalan sendiri.
I don’t know how well this translated but I wrote it a few weeks ago. In English I wanted to say something like this:
Last week,  while I was waiting at the traffic lights, I saw a man placing offerings on a Pelinggih on a roundabout in the middle of an intersection. The beauty and stillness of that act, amongst the chaos of the traffic, almost (almost) made me cry. There are many moments like this in Bali, where I freeze up at the beauty around me.
Sometimes we must open the windows of our heart to chaos in order to stay soft, sometimes we walk together. Sometimes we must close the windows of our heart and turn toward the stillness, sometimes we walk alone.

Moving along

I left Bandung a little over a week ago. I flew to Singapore and spent a couple of days there eating palak paneer. I flew back to Bali and stayed for a week in the home-stay I usually stay in when I come over for holidays from Bangers. Although the home-stay is very cheap by western standards, on my measly Indonesian wage, it’s way too expensive, and so I found a little kos kosan up the road.

I was a little uncertain about moving into the kos. I looked at a cheaper option a little further up the road, and almost took it – but changed my mind. I felt it was too small, had essentials I don’t need (hot water and AC), and was missing things I felt were essential. I moved into my new little space a few days ago and it’s aces. It’s light, bright, and airy. It has a fan, high ceilings, lots of cupboards, a kitchen with a fridge, a stove, and a toaster!!! As soon as I realised I had a toaster, a fridge, and a stove I ran out and bought good bread and butter, hello vegemite breakfasts.

It just feels so right. I was planning to only stay a month and then moving closer to where I will be working (I start in July), but I  like it so much that I’m thinking I might commute (which may be hell – but I’ll give it a whirl).

I’ve been surfing and/or exploring most days. I plan to start an Indonesian language course soon, I’m going bike hunting today (currently riding a rental). It’s all so relaxing. I’m nervous about starting work in July but I’ll see how it goes.


I had said on FB and Instagram how I miss the sounds of the mosque in Bandung, but that it was nice that these types of offerings (below) are everywhere. Funnily enough, my new kos is next to a mosque so I get the best of both worlds : )


Snippets: A year in which I was pretty much too lazy/unmotivated/busy to write but just came across this draft.

Time. 6 months. Halfway through. At first I thought I’d never make it but now it’s slipping by. All in a rush, rush, rush. It couldn’t go fast enough but now it’s way too fast.

Rain. Wrapping myself up in a cheap-arse raincoat I bought for a couple of bucks from the local Circle-K. Makes me feel like a fat, green penguin. I keep it in the seat of my motorbike and use it daily. I lost my phone to the rain. Slipped it in the pocket of my jacket on the way home from Muay Thai. Rookie mistake.

Waves. I fly to Bali every other month for a fix. Short skirts, beer, waves, a breath of relief from the stares and the questions. I relax in the green of the waves. Wrecked arms, a satiated heart. A flight back home in the nighttime.

Time. 8 months. Hating it. Can’t get back to the water soon enough. Every spare second I’m planning lessons or teaching. Too. Much. Work. Stressed. Computers breaking. Covering shifts. No fucking paper in the printer. Photocopier dead.

Time. 9 -10 months. Executing well-made plans. Time off. A flight. A pile of resumés. A map. A list of schools. A moto. Work clothes. Interviewed on second day. Now I’ll just go surfing.

Time. 10 months. Happy. Sad. Moto sold (my baaaaaaby). Throwing things. Giving things away. Packing. Planning. Documents. Time flying. Time standing still. Told contract finishes a week earlier than I expected, yusss. Counting down the days; this many days, this many work days, a holiday,  return, this many days, this many work days. Done.

Time. 11 months. A holiday. 11 days of water, salt, and waves. 16 more days. 10 more work days.

Time. 12 months. Aaaaaaand, scene. Bye-Bye, Bangers, good-bye.



I think our love is coming to an end

Street art graffiti painted on a fence. A barreling wave.

My contract finishes here in a little under two weeks. I sold my moto a few weeks ago and I’ve been Go-jeking around. I’m not sad or excited; I’m in preparation mode.

Work offered to renew my contract here in Bangers for good money but it’s just too far away from the water. I spend all my money on flights to the waves. And, my surfing plateaus when I’m only surfing once a month; I spend the first two days in the water finding my sea-legs. I’m sad to leave my co-workers though,  and this weird city with very few Westerners.

I’ve been offered another contract (for terrible money) in a city with waves. It’s in a super touristy area which is kinda gross but I’m just going to try to surf every day for the year and make the most of it.