A DAY ON THE NORTHERN EDGE OF BALI
I walked out to the main road,
“hell-o!” called all the people.
“you come into my shop?”
“no thanks, I’m all set.”
I used the Asian wave,
Motioning with palm down,
To flag down a bemo.
One pulled up and I hopped in.
“Air panas banjar,” said.
“oh, oh. No,” he said,
And pointed in the other direction.
“oops,” I said, and hopped back out.
I flagged down another one, got in.
“Air panas banjar – hot springs?”
The driver nodded and began driving.
“how much?” I asked.
He pulled the classic nod and smile.
“no, how much? How many rupiah?”
He continued nodding and smiling,
I reached out and gave him three thousand.
He motioned that the fare was seven.
“I know it’s three. I was told three.”
“oh, no. I don’t speak English.”
The fuckin’ bastard.
I gave it some thought,
And watched plenty of camo clad men
Ride by in cars and motorbikes.
It was an argument over principle,
As usual, which these people didn’t have.
And it was an argument over forty cents,
Again, which these people didn’t have.
Fuck it, I figured, giving him seven thousand.
I got in the front and two women got in,
Huge baskets of grapes.
They gave the driver some
And he offered some of his to me.
We were friends now, because he’d screwed me.
No, we weren’t friends.
I shook my head because I didn’t want any grapes.
“no problem,” he said, pushing them at me.
“no, I’m not hungry. I don’t want grapes.”
I’d just eaten breakfast and really wasn’t hungry.
At the junction twenty minutes up he let me out.
“transport? Transport, boss?” called the moto drivers.
“nope.” I said, blowing past them.
I walked the rest of the way, maybe two miles.
What were two miles?
A walk through beautiful Bali,
Past vineyards and palms and mountains and rice paddies.