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BATIK ART BY JONATHAN S. EVANS
Confessions of an Itinerant Batik Artist

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ON THE ROAD TO BALI

 

Our flight into Denpasar, the only airport on the island of Bali, stopped in Jakarta where we went through customs and immigration before proceeding eastwards over Java. As soon as we got into Denpasar Airport and had changed some dollars into rupiahs, we caught a taxi through Kuta, which was the main tourist town on the island and drove further up the beach to Legian. We had a long-standing arrangement to meet Phillip there. He was on his way back from Australia to Ibiza. The taxi driver kept asking us why we wanted to go so far from Kuta. Why didn't we just take a room in a guesthouse down there instead of going up to Legian? Had we not arranged to meet Phillip at the Evergreen Hotel, that's probably what we would have done -at least until we figured out what was where and what was going on around town.

 

Kuta was a densely built-up tourist resort, catering to Australians for the most part with special Aussie pubs, bars and a million and one clothes and tourist shops. It was generally my vision of hell on earth and we spent very little time there in all the months we spent in Bali. Phillip always stopped off in Bali to buy clothes to sell in the Ibiza Flea markets and we had made a date by mail to meet at the end of March. Actually we all showed up on the same day and had a wonderfully loving reunion at the Blue Ocean Restaurant, a large open cafe right next to the beach. It was really good to see him. Our stay together in Ibiza a couple of years before had not always been so great but Phillip repeatedly told us how we'd saved his life that summer. He was clearly out to make sure that we had a good time in Bali.

Our first impressions of Bali were mostly of a fabulously exotic marketplace and playground. Legian, where we were staying, was basically one dusty main street running parallel to an endless golden beach. There were many small alleys or gangs as they were called, running perpendicularly inland to connect the two. The main street was lined with clothes shops of every description and the beach with golden bodies of every shape and size. For many visitors, life in Legian didn't extend beyond the beach and the shops. Legian was the center of the clothes industry on the island. People came from all over the world to do business here, this being one of the world's chief textile design and manufacturing centers. Labour here was very cheap. Of course, one tended to get what one paid for and nightmarish tales of dyes that ran, of colours that didn't quite match and even of shirts with one long sleeve and one short, were legion. But that didn't stop the Rag Trade from descending on Bali twice a year to bring designs to be realized, to shop for new and unusual textiles and to struggle with the local factories in order to get their quotas and orders filled in time. In some ways, Legian was a pretty desperate place, I soon realized. That was probably why most people played hard at night as soon as the day's work was completed. By late afternoon, there would be a line of motorbikes parked along the sandy path by the beach. The restaurants and cafes there would be filling up and the daily soccer game on the sand had started up again. Little groups of people would begin to form all over the beach, runners would start to run and the joggers would start their jog. There were people swimming in the water all around the clock it seemed but as the day wound down, the focus of the players would begin to turn to the sunset.

The sunsets in Bali were famous all over the world, were invariably spectacular and signaled the end of the workday and the start of the night games. We found ourselves on the same circuit as the International Beautiful People Club, that elite group of rich jetsetters who have nothing better to do than fly to different hot spots around the world and lie and burn their golden bodies on different golden beaches. They sat out in the evenings and had drinks watching the sunset. Later they would eat an evening meal at some decidedly expensive restaurant before hitting some disco club somewhere around the world. There were plenty of those people around Bali and we soon found ourselves sharing the same exotic beaches with them, eating at the table next to them and bumping into them at the Double Six or the Gado Gado Discos.

But not for very long. Catherine and I had checked out that scene, recognised that it wasn't really for us and soon stopped going dancing every night. We found a couple of small warungs -restaurants- which served good cheap vegetarian meals and began to eat almost exclusively at those. There was a local Indonesian dish called nasi champur, rather like an Indian Thali meal, which consisted of rice, tofu, various vegetables all topped with a gado gado -peanut- or hot chili sauce. You ordered it by pointing at the various dishes that you wanted until your plate was piled high. D.J's Restaurant on the main road had the best version of this dish and we ate there often. Across the road from D.J's, the best bar/restaurant in all of Asia was to be found, I swear. We went there on our first night on the island and on countless other nights too. It was called Goa 2000 or just plain Goa Bar and was a massive open building, typically made in the form of a wooden pyramid on stilts with a palm thatched pointed roof at least 100 feet high. There were several bars, good food, the best music that I had heard in a long time and a never-ending floorshow of exotic people passing through. As a dedicated people watcher, I spent hours at Goa Bar during the seven months that Catherine and I lived in Bali that year.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself and of my story. I remember that I didn't sleep much that first week in Legian. On the second morning there, I awoke at dawn, had an early breakfast and sat on the beach until Catherine and Phillip appeared. Then we moved into a cheaper room at the Evergreen. It wasn't very beautiful and was a bit damp and dark but it would serve for the time being. We all walked up the beach to visit Carlos, an old Spanish friend who had learned batik from me in Madrid long before. He had gone on to have a successful career as an artist himself. As we walked along, Phillip pointed out the small but beautifully made religious offerings that the Balinese made twice a day for the Gods. The Balinese were Animists and believed that natural phenomena and objects possessed souls or consciousness. They actively made tribute to the gods of the sea and of the land. Their offerings were generally placed on interwoven leaves and typically consisted of frangipani or gardenia flowers, together with a little food, grains of rice or cut fruit. Often they were put on small shrines in the streets or on the beach and sometimes on the doorstep of the houses where the packs of wild dogs that roamed the beach community would tear them apart for food. In fact, I soon realized that the Balinese were actually feeding those hideous feuding dogs, which they considered to be the spirits of those people who had sinned.

Carlos and I had never been terribly close for he had always had a rather commercial attitude to his work. From the beginning, he had, it seemed to me, always put money first and art second. He had been somewhat ostracized in Ibiza due to his predilection for taking photographs of everybody. A rumour had spread that he was a Spanish undercover police agent which I'm sure wasn't the case. He had left Ibiza not long after I had. Now he lived rather affluently in a big beautiful house on the beach with his young son whom he had spirited out of Spain some years before in order to have sole custody of the child. He seemed very pleased to see us and immediately promised to make some business connections for me. He offered to loan me equipment to get a batik studio set up as soon as possible. Later I learned that Carlos had a bad reputation as a druggie, that I probably shouldn't count on him for too much and subsequent events bore that out. But for now, I was happy to see him, happy to be in Bali which I was finding to be a truly magical isle.

Bali had a reputation for being an island devoted to art and that certainly seemed to be the case. There was art of every kind to be seen and bought there. Java was reputed to be the world center for Batik but the art was very popular in Bali also. Javanese workers were brought down to work in the Balinese batik factories where they could earn much more money than they could at home. They were responsible for most of the batiked cloth I saw in Bali. I saw incredible amounts of batik clothes but nothing with the realism of my work. The local batik was mostly made with tjaps, wood or metal relief blocks that were dipped into hot wax, stamped onto the cloth and overdyed to produce repetitive patterns. Some of them were extremely beautiful and we saw lots of different applications of the batik cloth, like cushions, bedspreads, tablecloths as well as bags and belts made from the material.

 

After spending more than twenty years in almost total isolation living in a Western society where nobody knew what batik was and where I continually had to explain myself and my art, I was suddenly surrounded by batik and batik artists. I would see huge piles of batik cloth and clothes being delivered by messengers on motorbikes all over town. Batik was for sale in every clothes shop and the smell of beeswax was everywhere. I loved it! And there wasn't only batik to be seen everywhere on this island of artists and artisans. There was also Ikat, a form of woven cloth in which elaborate pictures could be dyed into the threads that made it up. There were tie-dyes, lovely oil paintings of the island and of its people, of birds, animals, fish and flowers and there were wood sculptures as well as all kinds of mobiles and jewelry, silverwork and masks. There were carved hanging figures of every description from angels to dragons to flying pigs, standing carved figures, amazingly realistic carved whole trees complete with fruit, flowers and detachable leaves. There was some fantastic carved wooden jewelry. One could see beautifully worked leather goods, bags, belts, shoes and clothes, chess sets and carved stone backgammon sets, bows and arrows and clubs and spears. There were some very beautiful clothes to be seen too. There seemed to be every kind of art under the sun and it was mostly of a very high quality. I learned that each village on the island was dedicated to creating one particular item or working in one particular medium. Thus, all the members of one particular family would, for instance, be wood carvers or painters. Art was an integral part of life on Bali and had been, long before the advent of tourism had brought the potential of commerce and the possibility of big money to the island. And the Balinese weren't only famous as visual artists either. With music and dance an essential factor in the Balinese religion, it was possible to watch ritualistic dance performance any night of the week and to hear gamelan music all the time. Art in all its myriad forms was an essential part of the Balinese lifestyle and psyche. I knew that Bali was my kind of place.

The people of Bali had obviously learned their strong sense of aesthetics from the exquisite beauty of the island itself. On our second day there, we rented a van with Phillip and drove down to Nyang Nyang Beach. After following some dusty backroads to the sea, we parked the van at the top of the cliffs, dodged the ladies and kids who wanted to sell us drinks and jewelry and then climbed down the steep path leading to the beach. From the top, we could see the waves swooping in across the coral reef by the shore and also could look down on a pretty little farm, which was right off the beach. As we clambered down, we passed the sweet, deer-like cattle that seemed to be indigenous to the island. We set up a camp amongst the trees bordering the beach for the sun was brutally hot. Eventually as the sea receded further, we walked right round the corner at the end of that brilliant white sand beach. We passed through the tunnels and caves which had been hollowed out by the sea over millions of years to reach the next beach beyond. Walking across the reef was an amazing experience for the little pools were alive with a huge variety of animal and plant life. There were lots of little fish, sea anemones, mysterious worm-like creatures and strange unidentifiable things. We had to hurry in the end to get round the corner back to Nyang Nyang Beach as the tide suddenly turned and the water rose up again at an astonishing speed.

The following day, Phillip took us to another nearby beach called Bingen, which like the beach of the day before, was completely free of other tourists. He showed us the patterns that the receding sea made on the sand and explained how the concept of Ikat had come from these regular rippling marks. The patterns certainly looked like Ikat patterns and I thought his story very plausible. We walked along this lovely deserted stretch of sand for awhile and then sat down to rest. We were surprised to hear a far-off woman's voice call out "Phillip! Phillip!" and even more surprised when three young ladies appeared with drinks to sell us and offers of massages. They had walked down about a mile from a fishing village along the coast and were very friendly. Phillip had only been to this particular beach once before. That had been two years ago when he had been similarly waylaid and had had a massage apparently at the hands of one of these girls. They had remembered him and his name from that visit and had recognized him from about a mile away which was pretty incredible. It made me realize that these Balinese people had a very much greater awareness of people than we in the West probably had. So Phillip had another massage and will no doubt be remembered when he shows up on Bingen Beach again five years from now.

We started to explore a little further afield too and went up to Ubud, which was always spoken of as the art center of the island. It was a small town about an hour's drive from Kuta, where a lot of people lived all the year round and where the commerce and the tourism were a lot less hectic. The town seemed to be spread out much further than Kuta or Legian were and although there were lots of shops, restaurants and guest houses, the scene was a little less intense and the life apparently a bit quieter. There was fabulous art everywhere and Ubud seemed to have a strong tradition for bird and flower studies painted in acrylics, which I found very attractive if a little, repetitive after awhile. We ate lunch at a wonderful open restaurant called the Dirty Duck and then drove further North to see the extinct volcano, Mount Batur. Mount Batur was quite an easy climb. People regularly got up before the sun rose, saw the dawn from the top and were back at the lake for breakfast. We even bathed in the hot springs that flowed into Lake Batur at the Volcano's foot. The locals all somehow managed to wash themselves while staying discretely fully clothed. There was good deal of kidding around and a lot of soapsuds. Across the lake from us, where the hills rose sharply from near the water's edge, was the site of the village where the original inhabitants of the island had lived. They had been forced to retreat to this remote spot by invading tribes and were eventually massacred. I began to feel a sense of the island's bloody past.

Of course, lack of sleep caught up with me after about a week and I crashed suddenly. But I was having too wonderful a time to really notice and was soon back in action and out again late at night. Denpasar, the capital of the island, was another town to visit. Phillip could remember fifteen years before when he first came to the island how the only hotels to be found were in Denpasar. Kuta had been merely a small beach resort down the coast in those days.

Now Denpasar was a thriving small city with an airport, a huge bus station and a massive shopping center. Central to the whole city was the four-floor high Market, with one floor devoted to food of all kinds, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, another to household items of every description and another to clothes. I found a special section where batik equipment, dyes and waxes were sold and swiftly became friends with Wayan who ran the best shop there. Adjoining that Market, across the shallow river running through the town, there was an art market, where row upon row of little stands sold woodcarvings, paintings and jewelry. And best of all for me, there was a whole street devoted to textiles, to printed cloth of every description, real batiked cotton, printed batik cotton, Ikat material and all the new hot designs coming out of Java. It was a fascinating street for a textile junkie like myself.

Most of the time though, the sea was our main point of reference in Bali. Staying at the Evergreen and hanging out a lot at the Blue Ocean Bar next door, the beach, the sea and the waves were in front of us continually. I quickly learned a healthy respect for the incomprehensible power of the ocean. We went back to Nyang Nyang Beach again and I was knocked down really hard in shallow water by a wave and cut my leg quite badly. No human could withstand that kind of force and I was henceforth very cautious in the sea off Bali. Early in our stay on the island, we were sitting around the table at Blue Ocean having a sunset drink when we suddenly realized that there was a commotion at the water's edge, some twenty-five meters away. Bodies were being carried out of a relatively calm sea as the sun went down. We soon learned that a Javanese family on vacation in Bali, semi-dressed and unable to swim, had ventured out a little too far and had been caught by an undertow. Six people had been drowned in shallow water right before our eyes and another person, miraculously, was carried out to sea and later deposited on a beach up the coast completely unharmed. Actually, after that I didn't do very much swimming on that stretch of coast on the south of the island.

I continued to see Carlos but grew a little wary of his company. I was with him the day that he reported the theft of his motorbike to the Police. We soon learned that Carlos had been so out of it at a party the night before that he had taken somebody else's bike home by mistake. He had left his own bike back at the party and the supposed thieves had only been taking their own bike back. But apart from the regular crowd who met every night at the Blue Ocean for cocktails and whom we had christened the Lush Club, I was beginning to make friends of my own. Bill was a Scotsman from Edinburgh who had lived there a little after I had left Scotland. He knew several people that I had known in the old days before I went off to Oxford and points beyond. With his broad accent and his habit of prefixing every thing he said with the words "I'll tell you what", I always felt very comfortable with him. He was in Bali to buy furniture or silver or Ikat but spent most of his time debating what to buy. We've stayed in touch and I expect to see him on one of my trips to Britain.

The Loud Crowd, who were eventually to play an important part in our life in Bali, were a bunch of British clothes manufacturers. Simon, whose business it was, was an extremely tall, charismatic young man whose hairstyle varied from a striking mohawk cut to a checker board motif. Sometimes he shaved the name Loud into the short hair on top of his head for his company was called Loud! and was based in London. All their clothes were manufactured in Bali. The clothes were large sized, brightly coloured, seemed to come apart very easily and were initially designed for the English Rave scene. Simon was surrounded by a large group of like-minded young men and women who all worked long grueling hours for the Company. They were paid in board (all the nasi champur they could eat), lodging (at Simon's house in Seminyak), alcohol (they ran up an enormous bar bill at Goa Bar) and last year's clothes (until they fell apart). His team of workers were expected to give their all to the company during the day and to party relentlessly all night. I was very attracted to the whole group though there was no way that Catherine and I could keep up with their lifestyle, nor did we really want to. I liked Simon very much in spite of his innate English conservatism and as soon as he saw my batik, he asked me if I would be interested in designing textiles for Loud. He had the idea of starting a batik factory in Denpasar where I could supervise a group of Javanese workers realizing my batik designs. To run my own factory was a tremendously appealing idea and we started to make plans to get the project off the ground. Loud, which operated on a shoestring budget and somehow managed to wing it from order to order, juggled their books from day to day and only miraculously managed to survive. But displaying true Brit. entrepreneurial spirit, they were in the process of expanding and had just opened a new office and factory in Denpasar. They had a Balinese partner, the only way that a foreign company could operate in Indonesia and we discussed building a small factory on the same premises. Ultimately none of these ideas worked out but I was to work for Loud for the next six months in Bali.

On the Eighth of April, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our car accident in West Virginia. It seemed as if much more time had passed for so much had happened during that past year. But we were certainly in much better condition than we had been a year before. Since studying yoga so intensely in Koh Phangan, I was feeling very comfortable with my body and was exercising hard every morning, doing hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups and feeling very fit. We were beginning to settle into a long stay in Bali and to find some kind of daily routine at last. We continued to explore the island with Phillip and drove up to Bedugal Crater where there was a beautiful temple out in the middle of the lake and then went on to see Git Git Waterfall. When we got there, we found that a boardwalk had been built since Phillip's last visit and we had to walk along it past stalls selling the usual tourist goods at rather exorbitant prices. But it was worth it when we reached the waterfall, which was spectacularly high with tons of water rushing down every minute. Further back from the Fall, we passed a little hut and crossed the river there by means of a shaky wooden bridge. The scene put me in mind of a Hokusai wood block print with Catherine in the role of the traditional Sage lost in contemplation of the view.

So our life went on in Legian where we were still living at the Evergreen but looking around for a house by now. I was still talking with Simon and Loud about starting a new line of expensive batik clothes and hanging out with the night crowd at Blue Ocean and Goa. The rainy season was starting by now. It was incredibly hot and humid most days with a quick rainstorm in the afternoons, which took the edge off the heat. We had in the meantime rented bicycles and so could cover much larger areas locally though we still often rented the van with Phillip to make trips. Phillip was pretty busy buying his clothes stock for Ibiza and generally we saw less of him. I went to a large open restaurant called Topi Kopi and arranged to put on a show of my batiks there soon. The prospect was somewhat daunting for it felt rather like taking coals to Newcastle. This after all was a huge batik producing area and I was afraid that my prices would be way out of line for Bali. But this was a way to get better known here and I had nothing much to lose.

We met a slightly unpleasant but interesting guy in Ubud when we made a trip up there with Phillip, Del and a French friend called Freaque. Del was a rather well known mostly B-movie actor whom we had originally met in Ibiza. He lived between Majorca, London and Bali and was from the old school of American macho men. He was Phillip's long-time drinking buddy and had a wonderful voice. Freaque came from a rich artistic family and was one of the saner people that we met on the island.

I had heard lots of people talk about Simon the Artist who had lived on the island a long time. He had originally come to Bali as a batik artist. After numerous hassles and reputed rip-offs, he had switched to silk-screening and now ran a successful atelier in Ubud staying away from the main commercial center and action of the island. He was famous as the person who had first designed JakPaks, brightly coloured zip-up jackets which could be folded into themselves and carried on one's back like a small backpack. It had been a great idea but the locals had started to imitate his design immediately. He had never made the money from the design that he ought to have made. He lived near the main road down to Kuta and we reached his Studio by climbing a series of steps up several terraces. Each terrace seemed to be set up as a stage and when we reached the top, we found Simon receiving court in a huge bed mounted on a raised dais. He had recently had a hip operation and reminded me of some decadent Roman out of "Caligula" as he lay there stuffing grapes into his mouth. He certainly treated us as if we were commoners come to pay tribute to him. At the same time he was astute enough to notice Catherine and to ask if she was a dancer -which she is. His advice to me on learning that I was a well known batik artist, was to get out of that business as soon as possible because batik was just too much hassle. Privately I felt like agreeing with him.

 

On that same trip to Ubud, we climbed down into a deep gorge below the main road and walked up the river looking for a fabulous waterfall that Del -who chose not to come with us- had told us about. We didn't find the waterfall, which I suspect only existed when a great deal of rain had fallen. But we had a great adventure down in the gorge. I discovered some old carvings deep in the rock before the water became to deep for us to continue. As it was, I found myself carrying my camera wrapped in plastic on my head as we half-swam, half-clambered up the riverbed through the jungle-like creepers and trees that hung down into the water.

Phillip left us on the twenty-second of April and continued his trip to Ibiza where he was to meet his family and spend the summer selling his Bali clothes. Our good-byes were rather casual for all of us hated protracted and painful farewells. But it had been a good visit with him and had healed any wounds incurred during our Ibiza visit in 1989. I didn't think that he was in the best of shape for he was drinking a lot in his very controlled way. I was afraid that his dreams of resurrecting his relationship with Maria and the family all coming back together again would come to nought. And I was sorry to see him go, we had been through a lot together he and I, years as neighbours in Ibiza, as exiles together in the South of France in 1978 and as friends on consequent visits in New York and Ibiza. And now that he was gone, we were on our own in Bali. He had been our tour guide and in perhaps in some sense, our protector on the island. Now our life in Bali was about to begin in earnest.

At the end of April, we moved into a house in Legian that our friend Susan from San Francisco had a long term lease on. She was a pretty interesting woman, very attractive and a great traveler who had served time in prison for drug smuggling. As a consequence I suppose, she had developed a rather hard-bitten approach and attitude to life. But now she was in the Rag Trade like nearly everybody else we knew in Bali and would be away for a couple of months. When she asked us if we'd like to sublet her house, we agreed to rent it until she got back. The house itself was nice, quite large with a kitchen and living room downstairs, a big bedroom upstairs and an open bathroom and courtyard behind where there was an enormous pool-like tiled bath. It was situated in a gang near to the beach and was enclosed by a high wall. The owner, Ketut, lived in a little room within the compound. He seemed very nice and I didn't anticipate any problem with that although his father was pretty strange. His father was in fact a Balinese transvestite with long flowing hair who would escape from his wife and village to hang out in Legian. He would sit around in the compound all day making those exquisite flower offerings for the gods. I decided to set up my studio on the covered porch outside the front door and had a batik table built for me. I had bought some new kinds of dyes from Denpasar and planned to experiment with them before going into production for Loud. I was recommended a dye expert who came to help me and instruct me in their use.

Meanwhile I had found a framing shop in Denpasar and had started to have all my batiks mounted for the upcoming show, which was scheduled to open on May 18th. We were rapidly becoming a permanent feature on the local scene, for there was a steady turnover of visitors in Legian. Few people stayed for more than a month or six weeks at a time, they did their business, played awhile and were gone. But we now had a house, I had a studio there and we were set for a long stay. We went out to eat nearly every night in one of three or four restaurants and spent a lot of time watching the nightly show at Goa. We also discovered video bars like The Bounty, a massive construction down in Kuta which was built like an old galleon, had two restaurants, two bars and featured first run movies every night. We saw a lot of good, some not so good and some terrible movies, including the new version of "Robin Hood" which showed there about a month after it opened in Singapore. Someone had clearly pirated it with a video camera from the back of the cinema. The quality of the print was terrible, we could hear people laughing, coughing and talking during the movie and occasionally someone's silhouette would show up against the screen. And we had some good friends too, Cliff and Jocelyn, a couple from England and the Philippines respectively who had a lovely little son called Emerson and who regularly came from California to buy jewelry in Bali. Betsy was from Colorado, another jeweler, who came to the island a couple of times a year and had done for years. She loved to hang out and talk in the long evenings and soon became an intimate of ours. These were all people that we could talk with, people who cared about other people and about communication and were not in Bali merely to do business and to get stoned every night.

But they were soon to be gone and at the beginning, we often felt isolated in Legian. It was especially hard for Catherine who couldn't find an outlet for her interests. It was difficult to imagine what work she could find in a small community that was almost exclusively dedicated to the Rag trade and to pleasure. She became my assistant and later worked for Simon but I remember that this was a very difficult period for her and for us both. In retrospect, the problems we had over the next two months were caused by the house. There was something about the place that seemed to affect everything that went on in it. We soon learned that the house had quite a history. Ketut had had it built ten years before. He had been living with an American woman and apparently the two of them had made a lot of money selling drugs in the days when things were much looser on the island. But the laws were apparently not that loose and the two of them had been busted. Ketut had taken the blame for both of them and had ended up serving six years in prison. In fact he had only come out recently which explained why he seemed so lost, didn't have any regular work and was still struggling to adapt to life on the outside. He had rented out a small corner room to some young Javanese guys who had opened up a little leather goods shop there. I liked them a lot and ordered belts from them but there was still an all-pervasive feeling of gloom about the place that took us awhile to isolate and understand. Those two months were probably the hardest times of the whole year for Catherine and I personally, though of course we survived them intact. Art and love conquer all. But I wanted to live in Bali. I loved the world of textile design, the Batik business all around me and for the first time in many years felt that I had found my niche. I had received more offers of work in Legian in two months than I had had in the past five years in America. But I was very aware that at that time, Catherine didn't feel the same about the island as I did.

Around about this time, I met a young black Australian called Brian who was a world class athlete and who expected to run the 800 meters for Australia in the next Olympic Games. I've always loved to run and am built for long distance endurance running. So Brian took me under his wing for a short time and we started to run three or four miles on the beach every night at sunset. It was incredibly hard for me at first but Brian had a wonderful way of urging me on as I struggled to keep up with him. He'd point out little spots along the beach that I should try to reach and pushed me along. I found myself running further and faster than ever before. Unfortunately, just as I felt that I was getting into shape, Brian got into trouble and had to leave the island. He and a friend were walking home along one of the backstreets one night when a Balinese on a motorbike came by and apparently passed a little too close to Brian. The latter was a little drunk and in a bad mood. Without thinking what he was doing, he chased after the motorbike and hit the rider. The motorcyclist collected a gang of friends who all came after Brian that night and he had had to literally run for his life. Being in fantastic shape, he managed to get away, jumped over a wall and escaped. But he had to secretly leave the island in a hurry, which ended our runs together. I started to run with a Dutch friend but hurt myself running barefoot on sand with a camber and ended up on our living room couch for a few days with badly swollen ankles. It was there that Ketut's transvestite father made a polite but very determined pass at me which somewhat soured me on the social scene at the house. Ketut eventually found about the incident and was so upset that he sent his father back to his village. I felt worse for poor Ketut than for myself.

By early May, my new studio was operating and I took some lessons in the use of the local dyes from a local artist called Immanuel. I soon had several pieces going for Loud, a wild design full of crazy, dancing rather stylized figures and a Fractals design that I had wanted to do ever since I had read a fascinating book on "Chaos Theory" in Thailand. We got fliers made for the upcoming Batik Show and pinned them up all over Kuta and Legian. I used a reproduction of my old "Self Portrait with Ear" batik and the fliers looked rather like "wanted" posters. My batiks were all in Denpasar with the framers and with the help of Lorne from Loud, I was pushing to have them all finished by the middle of May. So far, all was well and the batiks were looking pretty good. I had a shirt and trousers made especially for the show, which opened as planned. There was a good turn out; I got a lot of complements but no sales at the opening.

The following day, we flew to Singapore to get new visas. Tourists were only issued with two-month visas upon entering Indonesia. With Loud's help, we represented ourselves as design consultants and applied for business visas. These lasted for three months and could be renewed without leaving the island, which would be much cheaper and more convenient. We spent two or three days running around Singapore which I found incredibly sterile for the most part. It was a large, anonymous center of commerce which functioned very smoothly but which wasn't very interesting. We had a several errands to do, one of which was to buy a computer for Loud and to smuggle it back into Bali without paying taxes on it. I ended up carrying it through Customs very casually in a cheap plastic laundry bag without any trouble. We explored India Town, which had fabulous food, visited some friends of friends and went to see some new movies. We were happy to get back to Bali.

Simma arrived from California to stay with us for two weeks of jewelry buying and sight seeing. We rented the van again and went up to Ubud to see a Legung Dance. There were so many tourists there taking photos that we could hardly see the show for the camera flashes. As we were tourists there ourselves, we all felt a bit foolish. We drove on to the North coast of the island via Lake Batur and the Volcano and stayed in Lovina for the night. There was a big Buddhist Hot Springs nearby where we bathed for hours in the deep warm water, which was surrounded by the overhanging branches of lovely trees. On the third day, we drove right around the East coast of the island where we stopped in Les and were lead into the hills to see the waterfall there.

Back in Legian, I worked every day on my new batiks but had problems with the local dyes. It was a bit frustrating although I pressed on determinedly. I heard from my ex-wife Carol who was in Europe finally, having the trip that she had wanted to make with me. She stayed with brother Phil in London, my sister Kate in Hastings and even got down to Barcelona to visit my old friends Josep and Angela. She'd been photographing classic American cars and bikes for one of Josep's magazines. I was happy for her and glad that after all she'd managed to have her European vacation and that I hadn't had to make the trip with her. A perfect solution as far as I was concerned as long as she behaved herself with my family, which fortunately she did.

Simma left and I went back to work. I was having continual problems with the new Remasol dyes and made lots of mistakes. But I was also learning a lot and pushed on regardless. I was beginning to realize that these particular dyes were not really suitable for my kind of batik paintings. I didn't have as much control over the colours and the process as I did with the regular Procion dyes that I used. I tried indigo dye also with the help of an old dyer called Pak but came to the same conclusions about its viability and convenience in my style of work. In retrospect, these were rather sober, dark days for us. None of my batiks were coming out very well, at least I wasn't satisfied with the results even though I was working obsessively hard. Poor Catherine, who was very peripheral to most of my dealings with Loud, must have been feeling very isolated during this period.

Suddenly our two-month lease on Susan's house was over and it was time to make a move again. Suve, Simon Loud's Swedish next door neighbour, was leaving the island for awhile and Simon had decided to rent his house while he was away. He offered Catherine and me the downstairs part of the house. Another English couple, who had recently arrived in Bali to work for Loud, was to take the upstairs bedroom. It was a wonderful house, right on the edge of town in an area called Seminyak and was surrounded by fields where the locals were cultivating their crops. The house and its small garden were enclosed by high walls for privacy and security and it came with a maid, a cook and a gardener. We were really uncomfortable with this arrangement at first and felt like modern day colonialists. Made, the young woman who cleaned the house for us and made our breakfasts every morning, was actually great to have around and freed us up to work on other projects (or is that the rationalization that every colonialist makes?) But I never came to terms with having a gardener who would spend three mornings a week plucking errant grasses out of our lawn and literally trimming the grass with a large pair of scissors. The house itself was lovely with a huge open living room protected by bamboo blinds, a nice bedroom, big bathroom and a good kitchen. The couple upstairs, who was very unsociable, didn't last very long with Loud and returned to England shortly after that. Their room upstairs was taken by a young clothes designer from England called Jo who fitted in much better with Loud's frenetic lifestyle.

But before we settled down to life, love and work at our new house, we decided to make a trip over to Lombok, the next island East in the Indonesian chain and to stay at a small island off Lombok called Gili Trawangan.

So, early one morning, with backpacks on our backs, Catherine and I cycled down from Legian into Kuta to catch a bimo van to the Lombok ferry. At that hour, the streets were completely empty, the constant noise of the traffic and business hadn't started yet and it was exhilarating to feel that we had the town to ourselves. On the ferry to Lombok, we crossed the narrow strait between the two islands where we got a new perspective on Bali. We could clearly see the chain of volcanoes that made up its backbone. Behind us, Mt. Agung dominated Bali and in front of us, the extinct volcano Ranjani towered over the rest of Lombok island. It was a lovely hazy day in the middle of the year. I remember that we saw an old schooner with faded dark brown sails, which looked like it, might belong to the Boogis people, the legendary pirates of the Indonesian islands. Our boat was rather crowded but we found seats inside and read until we reached Lombok. Once there, another bimo took us to the little beach on the North West of the island where we took a small open boat over to Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan was a really tiny island and one which had hardly been developed at all. One could walk along the beach and circumvent the island in about two hours and the whole island rested on a coral reef that was exposed at low tide. Cars and motorbikes were not allowed on the island and there were a few restaurants, a shop or two and little cabins by the sea to rent. Lombok wasn't very far away and we could clearly see Mount Ranjani to our right and look back to Mount Agung on Bali to our left. We rented a very simple cabin on stilts at Nusa Tiga Bungalows right next to the sea and settled in for a week's holiday. Life was pretty uncomplicated there; our cabin had a bed and a little covered verandah and nothing more and all our meals were catered by our hosts in a large open communal building behind the cabins. There wasn't much to do except read, walk and best of all, snorkel on the reef in front of us.

Each morning we would get up early, put on flippers and facemasks and walk out into the sea in front of us. The reef ran all around the island and dropped off steeply about one hundred meters out. It was a miraculous new world for us to explore. There was an incredible variety of exotic and brilliantly coloured fish, which came in every shape and form imaginable. The corals had fantastic shapes and were covered in different weeds. We would swim out to the edge of the reef and float above it, suspended between two separate and wholly distinct worlds, perhaps more part of the submerged reality below than the bright blue sky above. We had the sensation that we were flying between the two. I think that it was the greatest feeling of freedom that I have ever had. We spent hours floating just below the surface of the water, arms and legs outstretched like frogs, diving down to swim amongst the endless shoals of fish or to examine some fantastically shaped coral. We could hear the sound of the fish around us -was it their communication we were listening to?- like the whispering of insects or the rustling of millions of leaves as we swam past them. When we went out to the edge of the reef, it was like hanging over the edge of an impossibly high cliff. Way down below we would catch glimpses of much larger fish and once, a small shark. It was incredibly exciting and we would be slowly carried down the whole length of the island by the sea's currents before coming aground again at its tip. Then we would walk barefoot across the hot sand back up to our cabin to rest up and read during the heat of the day.

One day, we went off on a boat with a group of visitors who were staying at Nusa Tiga and visited two other nearby islands, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Then we landed at a beach on Lombok and went inland to check out a little village up a river flowing down into the sea. The villagers probably didn't get too many visitors and were fascinated by our party. The whole village came out to stand around us and to look at everything that we did. It was a situation akin to that experienced by the first outside arrivals to these islands when two wholly distinct cultures first became aware each other's presence.

Full Moon came and went on Gili Trawangan. Some of the Loud Crowd showed up to stay in a little house that Simon had rented on the island and we checked out the dance party scene there at night. But mostly we were there for the quiet life and apart from snorkeling, reading and sleeping, we didn't do much else on the island. We found that a walk up the only hill on the island at sunset was a lovely experience.

And then suddenly we were back at our new house in Seminyak, just in time to spend a few days with Suve before he left for Europe. Suve was an interesting fellow. A tax exile from Sweden, he had had a very successful leather clothes business in Stockholm but had sold it and left the country owing vast sums of tax money to the government there. Legally he couldn't go back there but would somehow sneak back into the country every few years to visit his family. Nowadays his big passion was classic motorbikes and he was a master bike mechanic. He had just come back from Java where he had discovered caches of ancient motorbikes, Harleys, Triumphs and other old and rare bikes. He had bought them up and brought them back to Bali where they would be worked on and resold. The day that Suve left, an entire large truck of bikes finally arrived, having been held up at the Custom Department for days while money passed hands. We unloaded them and lined a dozen of them up on the lawn so that suddenly it looked like we were living with a gang of bikers.

Actually, although motorbikes were popular on the island, everyone that we knew had had an accident of some sort on them. There always seemed to be some people staggering around on crutches, with hideous scabs on their knees or with a broken bone or two. We stuck to our bicycles most of the time which were good exercise and infinitely safer, if any form of transportation on the Balinese roads could be considered safe. There were lots of bad accidents on the narrow roads where everyone drove a little too fast. And woe betide any foreigner who injured a Balinese in an accident. The thinking was quite simply that if the foreigner had not been there, the accident and injury would not have happened. So the foreign offender was automatically guilty and penalties were very harsh. I'd even heard people say that if you accidentally hit a Balinese on the road, it was better to keep going whoever's fault it was.

About this time I met Phillip and Sally from Australia who were in the clothes business on the island. They had seen my show at Topi Koki and greeted me as the greatest batik artist in the world. In a world of batik artists, that was a little hard to swallow and I secretly knew better. But these people inhabited a world where sales and the accompanying hypes were paramount and Phillip was a consummate salesman. They were a curious couple. Sally was pretty and quiet while Phillip had a rather unhappy and unpleasant twist to his face and never stopped talking. He knew a lot about clothes and their manufacture. He had made and lost several fortunes in the rag trade for he had been in the business for years and had a lot of stories to tell. Currently they were both working for Rudy, an Indonesian who had started on the street and had made a lot of money 'in the old days'. He had now built a fabulous new silk-screening and clothes manufacturing factory, which Phillip managed for him. I had a look around the factory which was called Primitive Cool and was duly impressed. It was situated just off the beach behind the Evergreen Guesthouse. Phillip seemed to have a lot of good ideas and wanted me to design fabrics for Primitive Cool just as I was to do for Simon at Loud. He offered me lots of work and promised me millions. But I'd been in the business long enough not to believe a word until I could see the colour of his money although it was certainly exciting to have so many prospects of interesting work projects. Phillip and I spent a really fascinating afternoon walking along the river in Denpasar, checking out the different batik factories that operated on its banks. They all used the river water to make their dyes, to wash out their fabrics and to boil the wax out of the finished cloth. The river was of course becoming unbelievably polluted in the process. We passed factories operating at every level, from a group of Javanese workers living in tents and working in the open air to something slightly more uptown with a collection of wooden factory buildings housing fifty workers working with tjap blocks and turning out two hundred meters of cloth a day. Basically the process was the same everywhere, block-waxed cloth, German Procion dyes and a river running alongside providing the water. Everywhere the workers were friendly, welcoming and happy to show us their work although we didn't see anything startlingly new or different. But that was the nature of the beast in Bali. Every factory copied every other's work until something slightly new came along and then everyone copied that. One could maybe count on having a season's grace if one came up with a new idea, process, design or effect. Pretty soon, if it were successful and commercial, all the other factories would start to do the same work. I found it all fascinating and it further whetted my appetite to actually be in charge of my own little factory.

Phillip soon had me drawing classic American cars and motorbikes and we screen-printed tee shirts with Oldsmobile automobiles one afternoon. In the end however, the episode with Phillip and Primitive Cool ended up like many great Bali projects. There was a lot of talk and plenty of ideas but nothing much came of our plans. But I think that I always knew that Phillip was a deeply damaged individual with a long bitter streak.

Although I was upset, I wasn't terribly surprised to learn in mid-1993 that Phillip had killed himself. He had actually set fire to his house and destroyed half his neighbourhood in the process. In some way, Phillip was seriously flawed and one could read it in his face. Perhaps his plans were always far more grandiose than his finances, for in later years, he had little money and had always to rely on backers. Although he obviously knew a lot about printing and fabrics and about the making of clothes, he had always seemed to want to put competition with other companies before anything else and usually ended up losing out. Finally he amassed terrible debts and was unable to carry on. I think that he must have been insane to have ended his life in such a horribly destructive way. All my textile designs for Primitive Cool got lost too and I've no idea what happened to them.

I had an interesting experience with the Indonesian Postal Service one day. It gave me insight into the Balinese and their behaviour and left me feeling both surprised and impressed. Back in Koh Phangan, I had lent $100 to our friend Selvin to help him get back to England. I had expected to hear from him for quite awhile. One day there was a card from the Central Post Office in Denpasar asking me to come and pick up a packet from England there. I could only think that the packet must have come from Selvin and took a bimo there one morning to pick it up. When I presented my letter at the main desk, I was asked to come through to the offices behind. I was lead by a serious faced P.O. worker down a long corridor to an office at the end of it. Another official took me down an even longer, dimly lit corridor to a small dark office at the end of it. It was all very Kafkaesque. I was asked to wait by the desk and feeling somewhat confused and a little disconcerted, I did so. A woman came in, sat down at the desk and opened a drawer in the desk. She produced a small packet that had already been opened and asked me to examine the contents. I began to feel a little worried as I recognized Selvin's youthful and enthusiastic scrawl on the cover of the brown envelope. Oh God, I thought, they've found Selvin's money for me and he put a joint or something even worse in the packet! Inside it, I found a cassette tape entitled "Xstatic Dance, Rave till you Drop!" and fifty English pounds. As I drew out the money, the woman's face grew grave and troubled. "You know that it is illegal to send money through the mail to Indonesia", she said. I nodded, judging it best to say as little as possible at this stage. "Your friend has contravened the law in sending you this money", she added. I nodded again, afraid to say anything. For a moment she said nothing, then "This is very bad", she said. "Very bad indeed. You must tell your friend never to do this again. Now take your package", she said to me. I nodded again, too amazed this time to open my mouth. I still find it incredible that in a country where the average monthly income is only about twenty dollars, my money reached me. It would have been so easy to take it and in the circumstances I would have been unable to do anything about it. And let's not even mention "Rave Till You Drop"!

Meanwhile, I was busy with a new collection of textile designs for Loud, which was mainly aimed at the currently popular British "Rave" scene. I had to come up with suitably mind-expanding images and had settled on a series of Fractal patterns. Fractals are computer generated designs, very much akin to the psychedelic images of the Sixties in appearance and are graphic representations of the mathematical equations relating to Chaos Theory. I also came up with -I say came up with because the drawing was mostly copied from Swedish comic books that I found at Suve's- a very pop sci-fi design that we called "Lust in Space". The final design evolved slowly, was eventually worked on by nearly everybody at the Loud House and was printed on white denim jeans and jackets. It looked very contemporary in a Sixties' retro sort of way, I thought. It felt as if there was nothing new under the sun in the Rag Trade and the accompanying Fabric Design field. "Lust in Space" was perfectly apropos for these post-modernist plagiarizing times.

Catherine, who had always been involved in a dance group in West Virginia and who badly needed to both exercise her body and be involved in something creative, decided to start an Improv Dance group in Legian. We got permission to dance at the local International school and held a first meeting at D.J's Restaurant on Catherine's twenty-sixth birthday. A very interesting bunch of people showed up and as we ate birthday cake, we all got to know each other a little. We decided to hold our first dance session the following week. Our Jamaican friend Sam, the reggae drummer, agreed to provide percussion for the group. A good crowd turned up and we had a lot of fun. It was my first exposure to improvisation exercises and I enjoyed it very much. I've always loved to dance but learning to move unselfconsciously in non-rhythmical forms was a great step for me. Like many things like in Bali, people ultimately dropped in and out of the sessions. It did all depend rather on Catherine's energy but we continued with the Improv dance sessions until we left the island in the Fall.

Sam the drummer and I got involved in a project together at about this time, which we called "The Post-Apocalyptic Circus". Christian, the owner of Topi Koki, where my batik show was still hanging, was interested in putting on parties at his restaurant and invited us to organize one. Under the aegis of my (somewhat hypothetical) company, The Atomic Cafe, we invited every musician and performer that we knew to participate and soon had a very strong program put together. Sam's band, "The Massive Riddim Posse", was the show's headlining act and he would also perform as N'Sambal! the Human Drum Machine. My English friend Nick was to perform solo as Nik Bintang and also with his punky rock band, The Baygons. The RajNeeshi contingent in Legian was slated to perform as Ishmala and the Clockwork Oranges but dropped out at the last moment. Hawkwind the dancer would perform a piece, as would Australian Shane who would play a couple of songs with his band. Simon and his cohort Robbie from Loud were to be the MCs under the pseudonyms Big Bob and the Missing Link. I built a large TV out of cardboard so that they could appear as two talking heads. Catherine put together a troupe of lovely lady go-go dancers called The Little White Lies who were dressed in white and would act as cheerleaders to get the dancing going whenever it flagged. My concept was that the audience was the screen. Everybody was to dress in white and the walls were draped with sheets. I set up slide projectors in the corners of the huge open space, which would project images onto the people and the show. I resurrected my Sixties Lightshow, The Retinal Blowjob, for the occasion which was something I had wanted to do for a long time.

"The Post-Apocalyptic Circus" was a great success. About six hundred people showed up, all but about four of them (who for reasons best known to themselves came in black and somehow looked very silly) dressed in white. It was a wonderful party but tremendously stressful and a lot of hard work for Sam and I. Simon and Robbie, for the first and probably only time in their lives, were rather subdued and even tongue-tied as MCs in their TV. But they got drunk and finally trashed their box and threw it away. They had somehow managed to get completely free access to the bar and had drunk a tremendous amount before we managed to control them. Most of the music was fabulous; Lorne from Loud's harmonica playing was a standout as was Sam's very hot reggae band. I practically had to threaten Shane with violence before he'd get up and play with his band as he had promised he would -a curse on all those sensitive artistes, drunkards and neurotic painters- but finally, with the help of a couple of stiff drinks, he lead his band through a couple of shaky songs. Hawkwind danced for a long time, starting off behind backlit sheets which threw his shadow onto the sheet and looked tremendously effective. But he went on too long in a self-absorbed, narcissistic sort of way and I wished he'd stopped a lot sooner. I thought that the projected slide show was a great success and that the Little White Lies were absolutely gorgeous. It was a thrilling night and one of my best theatrical productions.

Primitive Cool Phillip carried me off the next day to watch my "Lust in Space" silk-screen being made for Loud! and I met Susie who ran a big bikini business in Australia. She ended up buying my batik portrait of Catherine and her mother sitting side by side on the banks of the Goshen River.

It was a good piece. The two women, who look like sisters, sit with their backs to the viewer and the composition was somewhat akin to something Monet might have painted.

Our Bali life continued with little side trips to Ubud and beyond. I worked hard every day and we spent a lot of time with our two intimate new friends, Betsy and Laurie. For awhile, we had begun to feel a little alienated from the social scene in Legian and it was great to be hanging out with two good communicators who were genuinely interested in other people and even had some kind of social consciences. For Laurie's birthday, we organized a hilarious afternoon of Improv Theater at her house.

At the end of August, my work schedule suddenly went into hyper-drive when Loud asked me to come up with three meters of Fractal design-printed fabric for a clothes show that Loud wanted to attend and show at the following week. I had plenty of fractal designs completed but nothing on cloth and there wasn't time to batik such a complex and large piece of cloth in the time I was given. So I went to a factory on the outskirts of Legian which was run by a young Balinese man called Nick and enlisted the help of his best Javanese workers to help me complete the project in a hurry. The silk-screening factory was surrounded by a high wall and was basically two long open sheds, each with two thirty meter-long tables so that an entire bolt of cloth could be dyed each time. I showed up the next morning with my drawings, Nick cleared the decks for me and we transferred the drawing to cloth using the factory's lightbox. Working with my team of three young Javanese men, we spread the cloth out on a frame and started to paint dyes onto the cloth using a seaweed thickener to stop the dyes from flowing into one another. The Fractal design had many different colours and we took five days to complete it. The cloth came out beautifully, I had a wonderful experience and learned a lot in the process. My Javanese friends were incredible workers, quick, accurate and careful and fun to be around. They were all in their early twenties and had come down to Bali in a group to earn far better money than they could at home in Yogjakarta. Here their lives were solely about work. Their pay was minimal by my standards and they lived in the factory compound, which they only got to leave on Sundays to play a game of soccer for exercise. All the money they made was sent back to their families in Java. But they were indefatigably cheerful at all times and were really a pleasure to be around.

One, expensive and lovingly created shirt was sewn from my cloth and flown out to London immediately for the Fashion Show. I subsequently learned that the Fractal shirt was somehow held up by Customs Authorities in France for a week and never made it to the Show as planned. It went on show in the front window of Loud's main shop on King's Street in Chelsea, London eventually to attract orders.

After a week at the factory, Catherine and I took another trip around the island. This time we went to the extreme east end of Bali with Betsy, to a rather remote and undeveloped village called Ahmed where we rented a cabin by the beach, swam and rested up. There was a large and beautiful fishing fleet of simple,one-masted sailboats with fantastically carved and painted prows drawn up on the beach all day. Actually I mainly remember stopping my manic coffee drinking there and suffering from severe caffeine withdrawal for a couple of days before we moved on round the coast to Amlapura and eventually home.

We were starting to get to know Bali quite well and so were ready to show my dear friend Kristin around the island when she showed up to visit us late that summer. It seemed strange that we had been newcomers ourselves to Bali a few months before when Phillip had first showed the island to us. But now we were fairly well established there and it was our turn to be native guides and hosts to the next generation of visitors. First of course, we had to show Kristin the shops and help her choose some new clothes. She needed to get acclimatized although she now lived in Maui and had found a tropical paradise of her own.

We made a trip back up to Bedougal and then to Lovina and the Hot Springs on the Northern coast. We drove onto the furthermost Western point of the island, Menjannon, where Java could clearly be seen across the Straits and rented a boat to snorkel there. Then we followed the coast road round to the South and went up the Balion River where we stayed for the night. It was peaceful, there were few tourists there and we lay around in the shallow water where the river ran into the sea. The following day we completed our circuit of the island by driving all the way down the Southern coast road and back to Seminyak. I remember that we picked up our mail when we got back and there was a letter from Mukti offering us both work in India whenever we wanted it. I could help start a Batik cottage industry in the villages in the Interzone between India and Tibet. Perhaps Catherine would be interested in starting a local youth center in the Almora area. It all seemed very appealing. We also found that our tickets were confirmed for Sydney for October Ist. One condition of my US Green Card was that I only be absent from the country for a year at a time and it would soon be time to check back into America again.

We had time for one more beautiful trip into the interior of the island before moving on. Kristin went off on her own to visit Ubud and we drove up the following day with Betsy and Laurie. We rented fabulous rooms at Sayan Terrace above the gorge through which the river ran into Ubud. It was a spectacular spot. The balcony of our cabin was on a level with the tops of the palm trees and the terraces and palms fell away into the gorge below us. The colours were intensely green and we sat and looked at the view for hours. We drove up to Tampaxsiring where the finest woodcarving was to be found and bought three exquisite flying angels before eating at the Dirty Duck in Ubud. Later we all talked for hours on the floating balcony back at our rooms above the river gorge. We were heading towards our last days in Bali and wanted to absorb as much of the magic as possible to take with us.

I had watched friends getting ready to leave the island and had observed (with some amusement) how chaos and disorder seemed always to accompany their departures. I was determined that we weren't going to go through such scenes when we flew to Australia on the first of October. Alas, chaos was integral to departure from Bali and our leaving was fully as traumatic and crazed as everyone else. It seemed to me that either one doesn't want to leave -or the island itself doesn't want to let go. In spite of all my careful preparations, advance packing and countless lists, we found ourselves unsure on the very morning of our flights whether in fact we would be able to get away that day. In order to catch flights on the 1st, we had had to extend our visas for a week. Typically, on the very morning that we had to leave, we had still not received word whether our extensions had been granted or for how long. The Indonesian authorities had been holding our passport for weeks meanwhile. Somehow, at the last moment, everything fell into place. With Loud's help, the visas came through by mid-morning and our passports were returned to us. Then Catherine could go to the US Embassy in Denpasar to get an extra section fitted into her passport, which was filled up, with entry stamps and visas. Next we took a taxi to the Australian Embassy where, mercifully, visas were granted to us immediately, with out the customary three days wait. We could leave that night! We spent the day shopping and doing little errands and had a final meal at D.J's with the gang before going out late to the Airport to catch an 11.30pm flight to Sydney.

 

 

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