Storms over Bali

Already nine days in Bali and it seems like I’ve done nothing, although I have moved almost all of the files to my new server and set up the new mail system and done a few podcasts and fixed up a few things around the house. So, I guess that I haven’t been exactly inactive.

Rain, rain, rain. It seems to never cease. The constant rain has made it cooler than when we first arrived. Last night we had an incredible storm – since we’ve had so much rain lately, I just ignored it and continued to download new photos of Paige, my granddaughter. The rain had actually stopped, and while I could hear the waves crashing along the seawall, I didn’t give it too much thought. A storm…hmm. The waves had been high in the afternoon, but I’ve seen them like that before. About 10 o’clock one of my brothers-in-law came up to the third floor where I spent most of my time with my books and computers and views. Did you see the flood? hpaige in a big chaire asked, dressed in a stocking cap and long flannel shirt.

I’m downloading photos of my granddaughter. Floods, everyone exaggerates things in Indonesia except emotional states which tend to be subdued. Where have you been lately? Oh, my father died. Flat, affect hidden or suppressed. This has always fascinated me – this manipulation of emotional states and suppression of pain. Despite the insistence of some observers, both amateur and professional, the pain and turmoil and intensity is there, but channel off somewhere else –sometimes to come back in extreme outbursts in seemingly inappropriate situations, but the trigger is there somewhere.

So downstairs through the Rambutan House and out to the Beach House that is shared with the rest of the extended family. Down from the second floor through the kitchen and out in to the tiny courtyard.

30 centimeters of water fills the courtyard like a small lake. The waves crash and explode up over the seawall delivering cascaded of water into the courtyard. A young brother-in-law comes up. We had an octopus here just a minute ago.

Now this is all very interesting. The octopus is already back in the ocean to my disappointment. We could have eaten it raw with some sauce. Some looks of amusement from the brothers and sisters-in-law who have all gathered in the courtyard to watch and assist and kibbutz.

We move out in to the New Beach Road that skirts the Bali Sea in our small Muslim neighborhood. The houses just to the west of us have streams of water flowing in to them. A neighbor, grizzled and looking like he just woke from a deep sleep pulls me down the street to a small gang – the water there is over a meter deep. Men and women are pulling furniture and bicycles and floating containers up out of the water and placing them on tables above the water level. No one is panicking, in fact there’s something of a party atmosphere as people go about moving from house to house surveying the damage.

The roiling sea continues to fly over the sea wall and the water level everywhere continues to rise. No children around – curious as this neighborhood is normally filled with children going in and out of houses, eating snacks, playing tag, tormenting some insect or small sea creature that they’ve chanced upon. But, tonight, they are all hidden away in the houses as far to the back away from the sea as possible. My troop of children – my own and nephews and nieces are all hidden away in the back of our house, huddled around my daughter’s bed.

The gutters along the street are overflowing. Men begin fishing out pieces of wood, handfuls of sand. A group of young men wander up and down the street checking out the action, gossiping, helping clean out the drains. A sampan left on the sea sinks – it’s still tied to the seawall. The owner – the best fisherman in the area – says we’ll get it tomorrow.

The drains are cleared and water begins to flow. I grab a shovel and begin pushing water out of the courtyard and into the drains. After an hour, the courtyard is almost free of water. Lightening, but no thunder. Where is it? The sea explodes again and an hour’s work is obliterated in 30 seconds. Suddenly rain and the sea calms down. Water levels begin to lower. It’s after midnight. The party begins to break up. Groups wander back to their houses; I retreat back upstairs to finish downloading a few more photos, have a whisky and end another day in the tropics.


~ by drbrucepk on December 24, 2007.

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