Leaving Lovina

My last full day in Lovina was much like them all: relaxed. I have developed a routine here that has been most rewarding:

1. Breakfast
2. Walk to internet cafe for update
3. Cold shower
4. Self-catered lunch on my porch, listening to music
5. Walk around town, enjoy the people and the views
6. Nap
7. Dinner, perhaps a beer at sunset.
8. Conversation
9. Bed

I spent $5.40 today. Breakfast is included at my homestay, my lunch was a few pieces of bread and some peanut butter, and dinner was $1 nasi campur at a local warung. It was a bit spicy, but MAN was it good! My sweet tooth got the best of my and I got a piece of chocolate cake at a small place on the main road. It was $2.40, which doubled the rest of the day’s purchases. C’est la vie.

Tonight all of us (Roberto from Spain, Sophia from France, and the owners Harris and Betty) sat together and talked. Harris brought out a bamboo mat and a small clock radio he used for old rock ‘n roll CD’s. Harris is a thin old man with an ever-present smile. His father was Chinese and his mother was Indonesian; when he was young, he moved to Indonesia to escape his father (rather strict, he was) and from 1978 to 1987 he lived on the beach in various circumstances. He was more than happy to bring out some old photobooks that revealed a long-hair younger Harris selling paintings and custom t-shirts on the beach. He started in a little bamboo shack in Kuta, sleeping under a sarong. and eventually became the city’s first tattoo artist. He says this was before electricity was widely available, so his tattoo gun ran on batteries. On more than one occasion, the batteries would die and he would run to the store while his customer waited patiently. When I mentioned that I had some work done, he lit up and asked to see it. He studied my back for awhile and nodded in approval. He showed me a lot of the artwork he has hanging in his house, and some t-shirts that he still makes on request. In the late 80s, Harris went to Germany and worked in a small pub for a time, selling coconut wine and weekending at flea markets with his art. He met Betty there and married in 1988; he had a son the year after. He says that no one ever dies as long as their name continues, and he will die a happy man as long as his son is standing tall.

Harris is Buddhist. We were all held different beliefs at this conversational gathering (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, and Athiest) and we had a good talk about how many of the world’s religions pare down into the same basic beliefs and tenants, He also showed us his routine for prayer. It was very touching and I was honored. Roberto turned the conversation to politics not long after (there is a presidential election here on July 8) and the two of them talked energetically about the candidates for a long time. At the end of the night, as we all said goodnight, I noticed a gleam in Harris’ eye. He was truly happy and relished the chance to share his journey with others.

I regret not speaking more with my grandfathers. What stories did they have that I never heard? Who were they in the decades before I knew them?

I leave for Surabaya in four hours, for a 12 hr bus ride. Whee!

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