Crazy weekend

What a wonderfully odd weekend. To set the scene for Friday night… Actually, I’ll backtrack a little. So, right now, while I look for a place of my own, I’m staying with Nina and Ollie, a couple of volunteers who were in my previous intake when I went to Jakarta. I also work with them both and they’re great people. Last week, a friend of theirs came over, with one of her friends and we all hung out and had a bit of a chat. Ray, the friend of Dewi who we’d just met, said he was getting married next week and we should come along. So that’s where we ended up on Friday night.
Dewi, with her family, came and picked us up, and took us to the wedding/party in Denpasar. I’d never been to anything like it. Set around a beautiful pool and garden, there were bongo players, fire twirlers, guys on stilts, belly dancers and more. Scattering the garden were some beautiful b/w female portrait paintings. It was all very very cool. We didn’t stay long, because Dewi’s little man was a bit sick and he got tired and hungry, but I’m sure the party and many varieties of entertainment went long into the evening.

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Saturday night, by contrast, was a quiet night in with a twist. Having attended some films at the Balinale, we ventured home in the evening to discover a particularly rank smell coming from the kitchen. It smelled like something dead, but after a decent investigation, we decided it was something in the garbage and took it outside.
After dinner, as I was preparing to do the dishes, I discovered the smell was still strong near the stove. At first I though maybe something got into the oven and died, then a swiftly dismissed thought of it being under a burner. It turns out the smell was coming from behind the front panel of the stove, where all the knobs are. Upon removing the front, Ollie and I discovered the culprit;  a small gecko had gotten in there and fried himself on the wires leading to the spark buttons which didn’t actually work, because the wiring had been demolished. I didn’t get a photo because I was too preoccupied with getting rid of the awful smell.
This was far from the strangest thing, however. It turns out, there was a whole tube of Vegemite under there, between the stovetop and the oven, and the whole underside of the tube had been eaten out by (presumably) rats or mice (observe image). Somehow, not only had the rats stolen the vegemite, but they had found their way into the bottom of the oven and scaled the gap in the side, with the vegemite, to get it up and eat it beneath the stove, where they must have been nesting in the insulation.

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Sunday, not only did I ride a bicycle for the first time in probably 8 years or so, but I also learned to ride a scooter, so that was exciting. I tell you, riding a push-bike up hill, for the first time in years, in this climate, is bloody hard work. Maneuvering a motor scooter at low speed is also quite an art to master, as the accelerator can tend to be pretty touchy. That said, all went well and there no injuries and no damage to the bike, other people or property. I’d call that a win in my book. Ollie and Nina provided great support and the use of their quality helmets, plus we were on quiet back streets and not exactly being speed demons, so it was a pretty safe affair.

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Firefly and Nocturnal Happenings

Just now, as I was sitting here drawing, a firefly somehow found it’s way inside and landed on me. It moved off quickly, but I did get a chance to observe it up close. Fascinating little things they are. Quite unassuming looking, almost like a small moth, with a black head and a small tan neck before the tan wing/body section. Less than a centimetre in length, but more than a half.
The light they emit comes from a quite a large clear section of tail/belly and on this one it was a very bright green light, which flashed and pulsed like an LED. I did notice a faint glow once, but usually it’s either off or on.
The things you notice when you look hard enough and pay attention. I had also noticed an interesting insect shape against the window, which I’d planned to investigate. On closer inspection, it was a large moth, probably 3-4cm in length. What I hadn’t noticed before, was the little gecko off to the side, watching it intently. As I was trying to catch a photo of this gecko on the hunt, it leapt and caught the moth, both hitting the floor and disappearing from my view. A minute or so later, the moth reappeared, scuttling up the window, so obviously it was too large for the gecko. I suspected it was a little ambitious, but it did well, even if it didn’t get a meal from it.
I also saw a tokai (larger gecko, approx 10-15cm) go for something, then run off.
That was all rather magical. Who needs a TV.

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*** Written the other night.

It’s been a long time…

And a lot’s been happening. For starters, I’m now in Ubud, Bali, getting started on my new assignment with AVI and IDEP. It’s all been pretty crazy and I kind of jumped right in, but it’s also been really good. Everyone’s been very friendly and welcoming and IDEP does a lot of really interesting, exciting work.
Not only was everything really busy and crazy before I left Melbourne, but I found myself with less time online and concentrating on other things, which is why this blog’s been silent for a while.
After a while at home, settling back in, figuring things out and trying to find work, I actually managed to find the head-space to start writing again. Not simply writing observations and life stuff, but ideas for stories and projects, which was extremely exciting to have back.
For quite a while, I was just adjusting to things and I had also been focusing on drawing/art projects; trying to work on my characters, forms, anatomy, depth, backgrounds, everything. It’s what I needed to be doing at the time and it helped a lot. In amongst all this art practice, I’ve had a number of small projects running for different people and the two ran into each other.
The last week, and the last few days in particular, before I left, were just crazy catching up with everyone. I loved every minute of it and was exhausted by the time I hopped on the plane.
Other highlights from Melbourne include seeing Black Francis at the Forum with Bill and the Graveyard Train with Lepa, my bro and his friends. Well worth checking out if you’re in Melb, and they’re playing a lot of gigs at the moment. Also; Sat book market at Fed Square, Dr Sketchy, public transport that you can draw on and walking to Melb Uni from Northcote over Merri Creek and through Edinburgh Gardens.
I think I’m going to enjoy Ubud. It’s a small, friendly town and there’s just so much nature. This morning we saw a monitor lizard climbing way up to the top of a huge coconut tree, followed by a squirrel several minutes later, who turned and fled once it found the monitor. There were also several other varieties of lizard, chickens with baby chicks, ducks, cows, spiders, butterflies, and so on. Everything just thrives in this climate, though the heat and humidity does take it out of you.

*Written a few days ago.