Leaving the Jungle

The past three months, I’ve lived in a room with a view – of a jungle. In fact, most days I’ve felt that I’m living right inside the jungle. And not just because of the calls of the wild – including early-morning rooster calls and evening porcine squeals.

To begin with: there are daily unannounced visits from the jungle’s (other) resident inhabitants. Geckos, love ‘em – even when they sprint across the walls when I step into the shower, trying to dash out of sight. Butterflies and dragonflies soaring in and out of my room, snails silently, patiently gliding up bamboo poles… ahhh, so beautiful. Ants, spiders and various unidentified insects, miniature in size, ok I can accept. Cockroaches: Not. Never. Not on your life. (Brian, are you hearing me?) Caterpillars, I’m still undecided (unclear as I am about the risk they pose). Little unidentified oval and pointy-shaped things that cling to the walls, appearing and disappearing overnight.

And then, the almighty fruit bats. I’ve only spotted one once, when it swooped low enough for a momentary viewing – so impressive in size. But still they could not disguise their dawn visits: oh, such an abundance of droppings! Not only poop, but chunks of rambutan (tropical fruit), whole and peeled (!), and crusty, peach-pit-looking seeds that would spread out across the floor of my terrace with a daily, near-punctual regularity. I could be almost certain, when opening my door each morning, to find a nasty but colorful mess.

While I was in Tabanan last week, I was unceremoniously informed (via text, unfortunately and indelicately) that I had to find another house. Some of the message seems to have been lost in translation, but this much I know: it had to do with money. And though my legal training kicked in momentarily (what do you mean? Don’t I have rights as a long-term tenant?!), it quickly dissipated; it’s best to accept that things don’t quite work that way in this part of the world.

My hunch is that, while I was away, Ngurah discovered that other foreigners were willing to fork out considerably more than I was paying; leading him to conclude that it was perfectly acceptable to kick me out.

Welcome back to Bali.           

After the shock of his abruptness wore off, I came around to realizing that it is probably precisely the kick I needed to move; after all, I’ve sensed slightly out of place and misaligned since the day I first moved in; little privacy, unpredictable access to water, but mostly, that it is undeniably, impossibly just too damn dark for me.

And so, in addition to so many other things that I’m supposed to be busy with, I am, once again, desperately seeking the light…


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