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Bloody Chess Anyone...?!

Written on: Wednesday June 18th, 2008

A journal entry from: Asia


"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning."

I have been neglecting my blog or late. I have been in Indonesia for the last month, but reluctantly I must leave, or face a forceful removal by the Indonesian government upon the expiration of my visa. Indonesia is paradise. My rate of travel has slowed a bit of late, especially after India, but I still have been to a number of beautiful places on Java, Bali, the Gili Islands, and Lombok. I will briefly paraphrase my travels here thus far. I started off in Jakarta after a flight from Kolkata via Bangkok. People say the city is nuts, I guess it is, but after Kolkata, well, anything seems normal. Jakarta seemed to me to be modern and efficient, but who knows. I departed quickly to Yogyakarta to the south - a  university town and a centre of arts in Java surrounded by ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples. Unfortunately I got catastropically sick there, so most of my time I stumbled around in a delirium, mostly to the toilet, except for collapsing in a heap in the front street outside my guesthouse when I couldn't make it to the store, only 100 metres away, to get water. Quite an experience. It was on to Gunung Bromo next for spectacular early morning views of the crater, sea of sand, and Mt. Seremu (Java's most active volcano). From Java I headed for Kuta Bali, touristville, full of Aussies and drunken yaboos on footy retreats etc. Certainly a light year from authentic Indonesia, but I'm not complaining. It's a good time none the less, a nice beach, the surf is good (but gets massive at times), and wonderful cold Bintang beer (something I have regained appreciation for after my sobriety in India). Some strange observations though. The cats here have no tails. I have enquired with many Indonesians as to the reason for this and they say that they are born this way. I am not convinced. I think there is some wierd secret satanic back room practice that keep hidden from tourists. I don't know why they would cut the tails off the cats, but I remain adament that for whatever reason, they do it. Also, they love the word 'bloody' here. Everything is bloody this, bloody that. For instance if they want to play chess with you, they don't say "hey friend, would you like to play a game of chess with me?" In Indonesian english they would say, "HEEEYYY MMMAAATTTEEE, you want to play bloody chess?!" I don't know what bloody chess is, but it doesn't sound that appealing, perhaps it has something to do with choping off cat tails..?

The Gili Islands were next and were a great time. Parties, diving with sharks, snorkelling with turtles, filled lazy days in the glorious Indonesian sun on idillic beaches. Great times vainly working on my tan. I headed for south of Lombok next to Kuta Lombok. Certainly an underated place with virtually no tourists, great surfing, and some of the most beautiful beaches I have had the priviledge of lying on. Such a nice place, and essentially no one goes there. Now I am back Kuta Bali. I leave here on the 20th for Kuala Lumpur. Plan on making my way down through Malaysia briefly to Singapore, and then well...at long last...I am on an airplane back to the Great White North. I'll miss Indonesia that is for sure. Nice locals here and infinite areas to explore, I haven't even brushed the surface of this land of over 13000 islands.

It will be strange returning home, but I guess it is time. Looking back on my arrival in Hong Kong and then Bangkok, it seems like a lifetime ago, I guess it was 8.5 months ago. Travelling is such a blast, and the people you meet along the way make it even better. As Thoreau said, " Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes." Travelling for me was times spent in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia with Jason, culminating in our arrival in Sihanoukville and finally the ocean after 2 months inland, or times tubing in Vang Vieng, they are all golden memories. Or times in Thailand over the silly season with the legend Sir Richard of Blackburn (miss ya mate), and his subsequent love affair with diving. So many memories of the Full Moon Party on Xmas eve with Pete, Megan, Dillion, and the Karl Dawg, New Years on Koh Tao - such good times. India...where do I start, don't know if I can ever do it justice, can anybody? The trek through the Annapurnas in Nepal and staring up monumental sized peaks and then heading through the snow laden Thorung La Pass. The last 4.5 months or so completely on my own. Amazing times, and now I am in Indonesia. Not too shabby. Definitely it's the way you ride the trail that counts when travelling. At times its been rough, hard, a pain in the ass, but always golden. All my memories, even the more dire ones - I am thinking particularly of my exprience in Jodhpur with one Sanjay Sharma, bring big smiles to my face. I'll miss the road, having the luxury of not knowing where to go next or just winging it and taking a risk and having it magically work out. But the fat lady has sung, and there ain't much more my friends. Back to Canada, Vancouver, and sigh, to reality. Hope to hell the weather is good. Ha. Tony signing off. Hope you enjoyed our correspondence over these last 8.5 months, I certainly did. Taker Easy. See you all soon.




From John Kendler on Jun 18th, 2008

You're a legend Blair Goldsmith. Nothing less. Hope to catch up with you in August.

From Ryan on Jun 18th, 2008

Blair, I've lived vicariously through your blog the past 8.5 months. Hopefully we can meet up when I eventually make it back to Vancouver this summer. Cheers buddy!!!

From Karl Warner on Jul 9th, 2008

I not one for the compliments, but the blog was perfect man. You should be well proud of it. Make sure you don't loose it in this digitisation society. You prob won't be able to access it in a few years. Paper is the way forward

From fancy pete mcdong on Jun 3rd, 2011

wow, what timeless description of what being a ticklish fish stick is like. What's that? you like fish sticks. o, so you're a gay fish. no big dea.

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