It is the year 1937 and pitch-dark, I’m sitting on my terrace, no lights allowed tonight. All is dead quiet, apart from those horrible dogs at the neighbours. It is Nyepi, the Balinese New Year. I just arrived back home from the Netherlands last night and the trip from the airport took hours. Ogoh-ogoh everywhere, grotesque statues that every banjar (neighbourhood) makes and carries around in procession. Main and back-roads alike, every road was blocked. In case of a ceremony there is no consideration towards traffic, tourism or anything at all. And today is a day of silence. Machines are not allowed, I didn’t dare to swim because of the noise. Not a real problem: ‘he’s a bit tired’.
My visit to the Netherlands was short, just bringing and picking up some glass. The closest dealer is in Australia but the prices there are so that a ticket to Holland worked out cheaper. On top of that I could bring a part of the exhibition. And a cosy 32 hours in the plane… There was a time when bus-companies advertised with ‘real airplane seats’, I assume they don’t do that anymore. Nevertheless, home safe, a reason to be thankful.
I was in Holland during elections but of course that didn’t help. I cannot understand how it works. The party with no vision and a bunch of swindlers in their camp remained the biggest. The first results one can read in their ‘new plan’ to not allow any asylum seeker in Europe; rough egoism, dressed up with plastic compassion, no clue about international agreements. Maybe they try to open a door for the next election so that they can form a coalition with that other Dutch idiot Wilders? Every country gets the government it deserves. I just wonder, what on earth have they done while I was away to deserve this sort of punishment.
That, two days after my arrival in Holland a number of Facebook friends liked a KLM trip to Bali did hurt a bit. Not very subtle boys, not subtle at all.
At home all was fine, only the water-pump broke down. Tired, overtired is what Pak Par thinks. It’s quite possible. Due to a stupid plan I share the pump with the neighbours who have three houses connected. I think they spend their days with showers and baths, water goes through like in a medium sized river. Pump tired and now dead. I can see the discussion coming about who’s going to pay what and how much. And a few fish were dead. More than 70 fish and still I look with sad feelings at the few that lay dead between the lotus. Life, how much do we really understand about life? I read about universes that possibly exist next to ours, countless maybe, and conclude it isn’t much. My understanding I mean. With a smile I think of J. who suggested that, maybe, it’s all an experiment of a student in another dimension. Much further than amazement about the cause behind the cause I don’t get. No need, amazement is a very good instrument to live your life in happiness.
Tomorrow back to work again. A lot of grinding and polishing, not my favourite job but the results are nice. And a trip to the sandblaster, it’s possible again, I have my new drivers-license. I need one every year because they don’t even want to think about me having a valid license while my residence permit is expired. That my permit expires 6 months before the drivers-license is no problem. Read: a new drivers-license every year brings more money. First to the doctor for a declaration of health. The lady fills in a form, she doesn’t look at me at all, I pay 3 dollars and I’m healthy again. Good deal.
The police in the meantime have thought of something new, they need a copy of my passport. My permit is not enough anymore. Return to my house, stop at the copy-shop and back to the police. ‘Ah, but your license expired yesterday!’ ‘ Yeah, that’s why I’m here, to prolong.’ ‘Well, it’s not valid anymore now, is it? We cannot prolong this one, you have to apply all over again.’ I got a confusing test on a computer. ‘Is it okay to drive a motor with a ladder on your shoulder of, say, 10 meters long?’ ‘Is it allowed to drive over pedestrians on a zebra-crossing?’ ‘Is a slalom through a closed railway crossing okay?’
Amazing, all those things one has to know! But maybe it’s not a real luxury in Bali. (Except for the railway thing, we have no trains here.) In all the confusion I failed the test anyway, 5 wrong out of 30 was one too many. Loud protests from my side. It’s not fair. I had a license. I’m driving for over 40 years now (oops, it is wise to mention that I’m that old already?). Indonesian is not my mother tongue. Etc. etc.
The manager! The manager!!!
Calm down now, the manager can arrange things. ‘How much did you pay last year?’ First I pretended not to know anymore but finally I admitted: Rp 300.000,– (US$ 25.–) Oh, well, fort hat money we can do it again sir, no worries see? He loved to help people. Five minutes later I was on the street again with my new drivers-license. The price 5 dollars more than the official price. See you next year. ‘Don’t get angry, just be amazed’ says D.