performing for ghosts

Updated: Sep 5, 2018

This morning at 5:13 am, I woke up to the sound of rain. Rain brings so much-- nourishment for the earth, a hum of white noise, rejuvenation and reflection. I am reflecting now on my first few days in Bali and what a whirlwind it's been getting here.

On Friday, August 31st at 3 am, Erica and I said goodbye to my sweet family at the Portland Airport. From that moment on we would be traveling for 60 hours to arrive in Bali. From Portland to Los Angeles to South Korea to Singapore to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.

We stepped off the plane knowing - but not fully realizing - that we would be spending the next 8 months of our lives meandering around Southeast Asia and this was only the beginning. We arrived at 9 am, to pass time before checking in to our Airbnb, Erica and I headed towards Kuta where our taxi driver dropped us off at a huge mall with a beach side club situated right behind it. Everything is so inexpensive here - having done research prior to leaving the states, I knew that it would be but when you're looking at it in person you then realize how low the cost really is. We grabbed some food and chatted with our lovely server named Yuli. She gave us some recommendations for things to do and wished us well on our travels.

From Kuta, we traveled into Denpasar where we met our hosts - Tatok and Paul - a newlywed couple just 2 weeks in to a beautiful marriage. Tatok is from Java, Indonesia and is the youngest in her family, she opened her own juice bar in Sanur called Ginger Java Hut (Erica and I got the chance to go there and enjoy some of her delicious creations!). She is willing to share her stories and chat with us in her down time at home. Paul is from England, he came to Bali 3 years ago to travel and met Tatok - he says that she performed some "black magic" on him and now he can't leave. He teaches English here. They have both been very welcoming and accommodating - we feel very lucky. Their home is small and charming - most of the living space is outside. The kitchen is situated behind an outside bar, there are few small seating areas overlooking a small pool. The bedrooms and bathrooms are all behind their own door that exit right into the outside space.

The next morning, Tatok on her way to yoga, told us to check out Sanur for beaches and shopping. So we set off! We grabbed some curry for breakfast, played in the sand and swam in the calm beach. The water was so warm! I am used to the Pacific coast beaches along California where you have to brave the chill to play among the waves. Here I walked right in and the water was perfect. Clear, blue, salty, calm, and warm. After spending some time at the water we walked around the streets, window shopped and grabbed some juice from Tatok's shop. We then made our way to the grocery store called Popular Market. We quickly discovered that it's actually more economical to eat out here in Bali, unlike state side. We spent 513,265 Rupiah (which amounts to about $34 USD). We came home and pretty much passed out.

Yesterday, we took a slow morning. We have 3 weeks and Bali so there isn't a rush - though there is so much to see. After taking our time getting out the door, we went to the eeriest place I have ever been - an old abandoned theme park right off the coast of a black sand beach. The whole little town had a kind of spooky feeling to it - it was empty other than a few shops, a few stray dogs (and some not stray ones too), and a few people walking the streets.

We entered the theme park that's in ruins, cracked floors, broken windows, graffiti - the whole thing... but it was really beautiful too. Surrounded by a thick jungle landscape, you can hear the waves crashing just outside the park. It seemed endless - there was so much to see and so many paths to take. I could have spent all day there exploring if the mosquitos hadn't been eating me alive. We went into this pitch-black dark abandoned theatre on the property. We made our way to the stage and performed for the ghosts and guests of past. That's when it got really scary and I promptly said to Erica that it was time to "Get the fuck OUT of here". Then there was the journey to finding our way out of the park all together. It felt like we were in an alternate universe where once you go in to the abandoned theme park... you never. get. out. But we eventually found the exit and everything was fine.


I love that humanity is the same wherever you are. I love that people are working at their jobs, raising their children, laughing with their friends and enjoying their lives. It is grounding and humbling to see life move all around you and know that it will continue to roll on whether you are there to watch it or not. I love to see precious moments shared between people, I love to see average moments shared between people. I just really like people, I guess - who knew?

May a rainstorm offer you some peace and time for reflection.



spencer mcintyre