August 8th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Dance display

Planned on a lazy day today, just washing + then writing letters etc.  The first stage went pretty well, + we managed to get our accumulated laundry clean again, + hanging up to dry.  Then we went to see if any of the shops were open, today being Sunday, + on the way we learned from the guy who rented us our bikes that there was to be a Tahitian dance today at 1 at the Bali-Hai Hotel.  So we just had time to check the shops (they were shut), grab a coke each (expensive), change our clothes for something which would pass for luxury hotel wear, + set off.  We got a lift almost straight away, so were there in plenty of time.  A really plush place, + unfortunately they were just serving the buffet lunch as we arrived.  It looked utterly fabulous, + we almost contemplated joining on the end of the line.  We certainly couldn’t afford it – it was 2000f a head for the likes of us.  We couldn’t even afford a drink at that place.  The dancing was OK, tho’ to my mind it fell firmly between the two stools of amateur enthusiasm + professional slickness, + managed neither.  The girls were much better than the boys, being older, prettier, + more committed to what they were doing.  The boys ranged from 10 to 14, + didn’t give a damn.  The girls went up to 20, + a couple of them were really very good.  In a tamurai, the girls move their waists + feet a tremendous amount, + the rest of them barely at all – it’s very erotic.  And the music was good, + so were the costumes, + I’m glad we saw a tamurai.

Managed a lift home very easily, but maybe that’s because Val looked very pretty, with her flowery dress + a woven head-dress, courtesy of Bali-Hai.  Lit a fire in the evening, + cooked up rice, peas + fish.  Unfortunately, the spilt alcohol seemed to have contaminated the food – at any rate I could barely eat any of it.  To Val’s understandable annoyance.  I seem to have become fussier rather than otherwise during the trip.  The bad news we’d heard during the day was that the only ferry that was of any good to us left at 6 am, meaning an impossibly early start.  We could do nothing else but head off to bed for an even earlier night than usual, + then trust to luck.

There were generally very few occasions when we thought more money would have opened up opportunities, and I suppose this was one of them – it certainly would have been nice to tuck into the buffet. However, in general we felt that our relatively impoverished state did the opposite, forced us to deal with local people, made our experience that much less cultivated. In the end, I think I really did prefer to be on the beach, making a fire and cooking our own dinner, rather than just turning up at the restaurant.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I agree–I think of it as the difference between being a tourist and a ‘traveler.’ Travelers may have a rougher time of it, but they meet locals and have the best, most authentic experiences. Says she who traveled on a very thin shoestring.

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