21.8.05

The vacation

I'm long overdue on a post regarding the vacation proper, but the funny thing about me and vacations is that I find it so damned hard to write about them once I return. I've only ever done it once, for last year's jaunt to the Pacific Northwest; every other vacation has been an unaccounted-for blank in this blog's record.

It doesn't help that people keep telling me to give travel writing a go, since I seem to be halfway decent at writing in general, and it's not as if the travel reports we see in our local newspapers or magazines are that eloquent in the first place. But while I have no trouble accumulating plenty of facts and travel tips about the places we visit, or in maintaining a thoughtful handwritten journal during the trip, it's in getting down to summarise the experience overall that writer's block hits --- big time.

So I say, screw it. Here's my version of the vacation, eloquent or not, and it'll just have to do:


Bali
Originally uploaded by Tym.


We zipped down to Bali for my best friend's wedding and all we did, really, was loll around on the beach like torpid teenagers. There was one day when we took ourselves off on a drive around the central part of the island and up into the mountains, but frankly, that was just an excuse so that we could resign ourselves to the beach again the next day. When someone asked me a few nights ago what we did in Bali, I had to shamefully admit, "We mostly just stayed in Nusa Dua." Upon his look of disapproval (it came pretty close to 'scorn', actually), I hastily appended the excuses: "Yah, I know, we'll have to go back again and do Bali properly. But it was a short trip, just zipped in and out for the wedding --- " and so on, and so forth.

I do want to go back and do Bali 'properly'. It would involve the black beaches in the north, more time in the mountains and villages, and zero time at Kuta. G-man might've thought that Terz and I were more Kuta/Legian kind of people, but I think we've outgrown that phase of life. While Nusa Dua and its attendant luxuries --- they turn down your bed while you're out to dinner! they bring you $8 Bintang beers on the beach! the bridal couple's villa has its own pool and indoor/outdoor shower area! --- were fun and precisely the sort of mindless indulgence that we were craving this time around, those were just trappings of the touristic Bali. They could've been replicated just about anywhere in the world that there's tropical weather and a good beach.

As for the wedding, needless to say, it was beautiful.


BaliPhoneCam-0508-014
Originally uploaded by Terz.


My part in it was deceptively simple: make the best friend's speech. Ha! One of my test lines for it went something like this: "When I got married, [the best friend] was my bridesmaid and she got the easy job, you know: drawing up a to-do list, sorting out flowers, and so on. She decides to get married, and what does she ask me to do? Make a speech. (droll laughter)"

I didn't use that line, because it's a very bad line indeed, but I did feel increasingly panicked as time wore on and the speech that I'd sat down to draft in late June just wouldn't materialise. After many drafts (including last-minute scribbles on hotel stationery at the dinner table, a scant hour before I was due to speak) and one-woman rehearsals (including practising on the porch of our hotel room on the day itself), it all fortuitously came together in a reasonably seamless expatiation of less than five minutes in which I did not embarrass the best friend (a high priority, when you've been friends eighteen years), did not "try too hard" (I think) and did not accidentally say a bad line from an earlier draft that would make me sound like a complete doofus (e.g. see previous paragraph).

As you can tell from the list of don'ts, I was aiming to not screw up rather than to excel with flair.

I'm going to have to watch the video of the wedding dinner some time, to see if the speech actually came off as harmlessly as I remember it. Without a doubt, it was overshadowed by the boisterous antics of the groom's best friend immediately after. But the best friend laughed at the right moments during my yammerings, which is all that really matters in the end.

So those were the two big moments in Bali: the beach and the wedding speech. Everything else is burnt out by the tropical glare: the brief reunion with an old schoolmate who now lives Down Under, the brief encounters with the groom's energetic friends, the brief moments of kindness from the couple's family (I say 'brief' because there was so much going on, not because they were stingy with their kindnesses), the brief two hours spent luxuriating at Ku De Ta.

Thank you to everyone who made lovely suggestions. We couldn't take up every single one of them, but will certainly file away useful bits for the next trip.

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3 Comments:

At 8/21/2005 7:50 pm , Blogger tscd said...

Kuta is crowded and touristy. I'm glad you enjoyed the unspoilt Nusa Dua beach. It is really beautiful.

 
At 8/22/2005 4:08 pm , Anonymous tris said...

Eh, you could have been sewing the bloody ties ok? Don't complain. I thought the speech was really good, and so did Stephen. Thanks for mentioning the 2 Masters degrees, I think it freaked a few people out. ;)

Also, the villa only had outdoor shower and bath facilities, which made it a bit inconvenient at times when all the family and friends trooped by to gawk. (At the villa, I mean, not at us...)

 
At 8/23/2005 2:25 pm , Blogger Tym said...

tscd --- I wouldn't mind spending a bit of time at Nusa Dua again, the next time we go. Just that it's expensive! And I'm also keen to see more of the rest of the island.

tris --- Why thank you, I aim to please. And I guess the villa really needs a "do not disturb" sign to hang on the gate, huh?

 

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