Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chasing the Night

“You can’t chase the night.  When the night is over, the night is over.  That’s just the way it is.  You just gotta wake up tomorrow and hope for a better day.”Worldwide Wes, as quoted here (below #8)

Any American that has ever felt the joy and relief of finally turning 21 years old knows that a true birthday celebration starts the night before ones actual birthday.  For my 23rd birthday this year, this night started at a bar across the street from the beach on the Indonesian island of Bali watching Everton FC* (my Premiere league team) take on their rivals, Liverpool.  While Liverpool is widely seen as the better team (ok, right now they are the better team), my team put up a good fight before losing the game 1-0.

*As some of you might know, sophomore year of college my roommate and I somewhat randomly chose Everton to be the team that we supported in the Premiere League.  We bought jerseys and a flag, and attempted to follow games online.  While we didn’t follow them as much junior year; supporting them senior year was a joy as they reached the FA Cup final and had a great second half. 

Today, Everton has two of the best American players (Landon Donovan and Tim Howard), and ESPN is apparently trying to push them on the American public.  I’ve been first on the bandwagon for ‘The Office’, Tony Romo’s fantasy viability, and ‘The Hurt Locker’s Oscar chances, so hopefully I can add Everton to the mix.

Anyways, while watching the game and drinking some Bintang, Gavin and I began to talk with two guys from England that were also watching.  These two were Tottenham supporters and weren’t really pulling for Everton as much as they were rooting for Liverpool to lose.  We conversed for the rest of the game and afterwards the four of us made our way to Paddy’s Bar.  We specifically chose Paddy’s Bar because it was the target of terrorist attacks in 2002 (albeit in a different location, as the original location is now a memorial).  This is how two Americans and two Brits determine what bar they want to go to.

Standing there in the middle of a bar that was the Kuta version of Finnegan’s, I followed my clock down to midnight as sweaty Australians were dancing in each direction I the final seconds ticked away of my 22 year-old existence.  Not really wanting to make a big deal about it, I didn’t mention it to anybody, and figured I’d only mention it if somebody specifically asked me how old I was (which was highly likely considering how many times it had already happened on our trip)

After a few drinks at Paddy’s, I decided it was time to make like Sarah Palin and go rogue.  As per usual, this seemed like a good idea at the time, and I was off to my second bar of the night. 

The second bar I entered was Bounty and featured a huge pirate ship that had a dance floor on the top and a foam room underneath.  While I’ll happily admit to being fairly intoxicated at this point, I’ll probably never be drunk enough to think that a foam party is a good idea.  Let’s just say they look A LOT more fun while watching Wild On ‘E’ from the comfort and cleanliness of your own couch. 

Turning away from the disease filled location of the foam party, I made my way to the upstairs dance floor where I got another drink and started walking in circles looking for an upright standing 19-year old Australian girl that might be willing to dance with a guy that appeared two years younger.  A couple drinks later, and I decided it was high time to head to bed.

Our hotel was essentially in an alley that was lined with hotels and storefronts.  During the day the alley had a dangerous mix of pedestrians and motorbikes moving down it, with the occasional car driving through causing havoc (it was roughly the same width as most cars).  The storefronts were open all day with Indonesian men and women constantly trying to sell things that I didn’t want.  A simple walk down the alley from the beach to our hotel would include roughly 8-10 Indonesian guys saying, “Yes, transport, motorbike, yes.”  Walking in the other direction from our hotel to the bar street would not only include a different 8-10 local men offering to rent us motorbikes, but probably 3-5 local women offering massages.

What annoyed me most about all of these hawkers and sketchy street merchants wasn’t necessarily that each and every one of them had to make their offer as we walked past, but it was how they all would use the word ‘yes’ while doing it.  It was like they were assuming we were going to rent a motorbike or get a massage, even though it was probably rare that anybody actually paid them for these things (not that people don’t rent motorbikes or get massages, but I’m pretty sure the supply of massages and motorbikes in this alley was much higher than the quantity demanded).

Through this alley of motorbikes and massages I was making my way back to the hotel when drunken Bob realized that he missed his friends and decided that it was a perfect time to go to the internet bar and send them an e-mail (the traveler equivalent of a drunk dial).  Since there was a readily available converstation in my Inbox related to the upcoming “Puppy Bowl” on Animal Planet, I sent out this marvelous piece of work:

So I was debating whether or not to reply to this, but since sharks did, and it is my birthday, and I am in paradise, here it goes:

(I am pretty drunk right now)

In China, the puppy bowl would be much more comparable to (say) things Michael Vick likes.  It's not that the Chinese hate dogs, it's that they love how these animals taste.

(note, I have eaten dog meat twice, and think that it is far too tough).

In China, the puppy bowl would consist of two dogs fighting each other on the street, and the loser becoming dinner.  What is worse, is that to become dinner a dog must be beaten to a pulp so that the blood drains out (apparently this makes for great meat).  

I wish I was joking about the fighting, but in China we don't get The Price Is Right, which means no Bob Barker, which means that the dog population is NOT controlled at all.  I had never seen a dog with female organs before Asia, and I had never seen two dogs doing the dirty deed before Asia.  Now I have seen both of these things, and I have seen dogs fighting on the street.

I hope you all are doing well, and that my DC friends stockpiled plenty of provisions (I hope
[NAME OMITTED] has enough condoms) for the Snow-pocolypse that has apparently hit the east coast.  I won't be at Tostal this year, but I will see you all in September.

Go Carrie Underwood, hold your notes long and make the over.

[The last line about Carrie Underwood was a reference to her singing the National Anthem before the following day’s Super Bowl, and my bet that she would go over 1 minute and 42 seconds singing it]

Soon after clicking send on this e-mail that I am not at all ashamed of, I walked back out into the alley and made the critical decision to return to the bar street and go to yet another bar.  Five minutes later I was on the roof of Sky Bar buying a drink for a somewhat attractive Balinese girl.  I don’t have the slightest idea what the drink was, but at 90,000 Rupiah (roughly the cost of four 750mL bottles of Bintang) I had purchased the most expensive drink on the menu.  Of course, since this was Indonesia, it was still less than $10.  Regardless, I had clearly not thought this through because soon after I purchased the drink, this exchange occurred:

Girl: “So where are you staying?”
Me: “I don’t know the name of the place.”
Girl: “Do you want sex?”
Me: “Ummmmm, no,” as I get up and walk out of the bar, leaving my beer on a table.

When you have a close call with a Balinese prostitute at roughly 4:00 in the morning, the only option left is to stumble back through the alleys past mongrel dogs and peddlers back to the comfort of an air conditioned hotel room.  As I made my way down the alley this time, I was again heckled by Indonesians saying, “Yes, transport, motorbike, yes,” but this time I couldn’t take it anymore:


I yelled at the hawkers and peddlers that would appear around ever twist and turn in the alley until I was in the final stretch towards my hotel.  As I rounded the final corner and had the hotel in sight, I also saw the light of a motorbike coming straight towards me in the alley, and stopping 20 feet ahead of me.  In the shadows of the street and dim lights of other hotels I saw a large women get off the motorbike and come towards me. 

Now I’m not good at judging things like size and weight, but I imagine this woman probably weighed in around 250 pounds, and she was walking right towards me at four in the morning saying things like “blow job” and “sex” while she tried to act seductively and stand in my way.  I somehow made it around her and to my hotel, but I think I had a nightmare about her after I went to sleep

When I woke up the next morning, I got some breakfast, watched some Lost, and hoped for a better day.

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