Since coming to Bali I have had the intention of spreading the BootsnAll message to as many travelers as I can come across. Another of my goals was to meet up with members on the road and one of the one’s I’ve been looking forward to was Sima Cutting from Cambridge UK. Sima had just arrived in Bali when I met her a couple of days ago and was eagerly awaiting her college friend Steve, from Manchester.
I met Steve briefly after he arrived the other night and we planned to meet at 7pm at Internet Outpost and catch up properly. Sima and Steve were banging out some e-mail for about an hour beforehand and at 7pm strolled down to Jalan Legian to catch a taxi out to our place in Seminyak. I had prepared carefully for their visit ( 3 large Bintangs in the fridge and a packet of cuttlefish flavoured chips on the counter ).
We chatted about the beginnings of BootsnAll and how we felt like its been such a long time. Pretty cool knowing people around the world.
Steve wears his shades 24/7 and looks like some rock guitarist on a vacation (I look like his dad). He’s going to be out here in Bali for about 3 weeks and said he chose this place to visit Sima because it was hot. Wasting no time at all Steve and Sima had already hit the breach and were working on turning themselves from pale to pink to red to dark. I’m already bringing up the rear in the color stakes….give me a chance, I’ve only been here a few weeks.
We walked down the road from where we live and headed for Mykonos restaurant. Sima has traveled in Turkey and loves the food so it wasn’t hard to get her moving.
We ordered a bunch of starters: dolmas, hummus, pita, Greek salad etc and then a main course ( Sima..meat balls in tomato sauce, Steve…chicken kebab, me chicken souvlaki. We were happy to be on on of the outside tables which gave us some fresh air, it was almost like the table had been reserved for us.
After dinner we took a taxi to Santa Fe on Jalan Dhyana Pura, kind of a expat hang out with some neat places. THe place was packed but once again had 3 stools for us right at the bar. We ordered a couple of Bintangs and I immediately got in a conversation with a guy from Atlanta called Gary who is on vacation with his wife Michelle. Gary is interested in doing a video documentary on the bombing in October and had ideas as to how it was planned. I gave him the information I had and we discussed how he could gather more information. I suggested using a local as an interpreter like I have been doing with Ika. Gary is a member of a worldwide free news community which publishes online and takes submissions from all over the world, kind of like a NewsnAll.
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Our buddy Mark from New Jersey was there watching the band and I must say the scene was pretty hopping. Michelle suggested at around 1am that we head around the corner and relax at the house they were renting. As community manager I felt it only proper that I do my duty and lead the way in showing our guests a good time.
Gary and Michelle had been in Bali for almost 3 weeks with their 14 year old son Cassidy and their place was very cool, complete with pool, hammock, big bath tub, garden etc. Gary is a former Deadhead and kindly offered to give me the bootleg CD’s he’s brought with him. I told him I didn’t want to take his prize tunes away and as I didn’t have a CD player right now it was best that he keep them. Gary and Michelle love it here and are looking to retiring here. Originally from Chicago they have moved a few places in the last couple of years. The prices here suit them just fine.
We had very nice conversations about music. Michelle hates techno, likes George Benson, Al Jarreau but can’t remember the name of Earth Wind and Fire’s most famous song [ September ], or the songs on Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July album. That’s okay because Gary is an encyclopedia for music.
Cassidy is a smart kid and is being home schooled ( why couldn’t my mommy home school me in Bali?). I think he’s liking it out here and has done some snorkeling (he has no time for surfing or sports).
Like a lot of the travellers I’ve met Gary and Michelle are worried about the upcoming conflict in the Middle East and its effects on world politics, terrorism, economy, travel safety and how the US is perceived. Gary told me that the Patriot Act is an attempt to re-write the constitution. Michelle said some of their friends back home may say they are unpatriotic for not going along with the whole Bush agenda but she feels that saying nothing and going against her better judgement is totally un-American.
Gary & Michelle had done research online last summer with regard to coming out to Bali. Four days after they booked their tickets the Sari Club was blown up, but this did not stop them coming. They came prepared with International driving licences but did a rethink after seeing the road conditions over here. Their place also comes with a driver which is very handy.
Well, as we got into our conversations time slipped by and by the time we snapped a goodbye photo it was 5.30am.
Sima, Steve and I hailed a cab from Dhyana Pura, I got dropped off on Seminyak and walked home, they both drove to their place in Kuta.
It was awesome to meet both Sima and Steve as well as our new friends, Gary, Michelle and Cass.