October 23, 1961 – Bali

Beach Sagara Hotel, Denpasar, Bali – Clear, warm

      I woke up our third morning in Denpasar hoping our day would be a good one.  Our group met early for breakfast because we were to leave for a day trip to the mountains and our guide wanted to beat the heat.

      Breakfast here had become the same thing every morning and after getting sick that first morning on the food I ate, I stayed away from most things.  I chose to just have some hard boiled eggs and bananas again.  I smiled though when I remembered that I was probably losing some weight.   After eating Edith and I discussed skipping the trip to the mountains.  She didn’t want to go because of the arthritis in her feet and I didn’t feel right leaving Edith behind.  The day trip this time was going to use busses and I really didn’t want to spend another whole day riding in one.

      In the end Edith and I decided to sit on a chair under a tree near the beach to enjoy the day.  I was surprised when Arthur, a man I had met on the beach while watching the funeral the other day, showed up with some cold coconut water for us to drink.  He had seen us sitting there relaxing and thought we might enjoy a nice drink.  I was surprised how good it tasted.  Arthur sat with Edith and I for awhile so we had a nice visit which made for a change of pace.  

      I was glad I’d stayed behind to keep Edith company.  It gave me a chance relax and catch up on my letter writing:

 Oct 23, 1961 – Denpasar, Bali

Dear Ramona;

     Well this is the place you didn’t want me to miss and I have just one thing to say –  you can have it.  It is a lovely beach but the coral sand cuts the feet and stingrays are all over the bottom of the water so I didn’t go in to wade a bit.  It is hot here and the flies drive you crazy.  I can’t drink the water and the food is impossible.  Bananas and soft or hard boiled eggs are the only things one can eat or at least that I can eat. 

     The other night a girl came around and dressed us all in Balanese costumes, and then we went to a banquet served on low tables.  We sat on cushions.  Everything on the table was on leaves and we had leaves for plates.  They served rice, soup, fish, pork, chicken, altogether and, oh yes shish kabobs.  And we were expected to eat with our fingers.  I couldn’t eat hardly anything last night.  I got a little sick and was taking Kaopectate so it was just as well. 

     One of the dancers asked me to dance and I did – Balanese style.  While we ate our dinner the Balanese dancers danced all around our table continuously.  I didn’t get any pictures – too dark.  I like the Japanese dancers best. 

     Everyone here is griping, “Why do we have to stay here 5 days?”  But we have figured out that it is cheaper for the tour to keep us here than send us to Singapore.  Tomorrow we go to Djakarta – a lousy hole if there ever was one.  We stay there one night then on Wednesday move on to Singapore where I will mail this letter. 

     The people here are all very nice and try to please except once in a while they get mad.  They serve one way – if this is upset or changed in any way they get very confused.  The waiters are confused every time Edith sits at the table since she refuses to take the soups and wants hot water instead of tea or coffee.  These little changes drive them crazy. 

     Last night we drove for about ½ hour and watched a Monkey Dance – about 100 men sat in a circle around a fire and chattered and sang a story.  These people are black or brown and they looked like monkeys sitting there.  It was very interesting and when they sang, it was like a deep organ. 

     This morning the group went on a mountain trip but I am staying out of busses for awhile.  They are pretty rough.  I’ll be glad when we go on to Singapore. 

     I sent 2 packages to Pearl and Rose.  Will you explain I ran out of names and these are really for us not them.  Also did you get my letter asking for $500 instead of $300 to be sent to the hotel in Rome?  Also I want Ed’s address in La Jolla.  Also find out about the church letters.  We either have to have Visas or letters from the church to get into once country later on and we have neither. 

      Half way through my letter to Ramona, Edith and I were hungry so we went to the dining room for a light lunch.  Once I was back in my room I decided to finish my letter:

     Later – just came back from lunch.  The soup was good so I ate some then some sliced cucumbers some bean sprouts and the banana and hot tea.  This was the best meal we have had. 

     I wish Bob could read some of my letters.  I don’t get time to write him at the same time I write you.  I write you more because I want you to keep mine.  If you could send them to him with the request of sending them back I would appreciate it.

     My friend (I met on the beach) brought me a coconut and broke it for me.  The water from it is sweet but better for drinking then the water we get.  I am enclosing his address that he gave me. He has two sisters and he wants a lipstick for them.  Find out about mailing it and if there is no duty or extra charge I’ll send him one when I get back. 

     It’s hotter than Hades here so I’ll end this and go down to the beach.  We are leaving here in the morning.  I dream about the Ventura Beach with no flies and heat and dishes.  Love Mother

P.S. Mr. Hall representative of the UN and from the US is here on a tour and had lunch in the dining room at the same time as I did.
P.S. Nope – you can’t send my friend anything.

     I felt better after finishing my letter.  I tucked it away in my purse so Edith wouldn’t be able to get it and read it.  I’d found that she had a habit of reading my letters if they were available and copying them.  I’d asked her several times if she wanted help but she always turned me down.  She seemed to want credit for all the articles herself.

      When the tour group arrived back I made a point of seeking Flo out to visit with her to find out what we had missed.  When I found her she was taking some aspirin to ward off a headache and looking for some water.  She told me about the temples and things she had seen.  Then she said she wished she had stayed had stayed with us instead of going on the tour. 

      Despite the heat I decided to take a walk on the beach, dip my feet in the water and it felt good because there was a breeze.  There were some Bali dancers a short distance from the hotel and I stopped to watch them.  They were all in a circle with the musicians nearby and I found them delightful to observe.  I was amazed at how they were able to make their bodies do some of the contortions they did.  I took some pictures of them before heading back to the hotel. 

Bali Dancers

      Dinner turned out to be more eatable than some of the other meals we’d had in Bali.  It was American style on the beach which meant we didn’t have to sit on the ground on pillows and it was cooler than being in the dining room.  I was pleased once again when we had the delightful Balinese dancers to entertain us while we ate. 

      Edith and I decided to walk back to our room by way of the beach so we could enjoy it on one last time.  However, it turned out to be a mistake because Edith stepped in a sand hole and fell on her wrist.  I panicked and ran for help.  There was so much confusion and people milling all around Edith trying to figure out what to do and how best to help her.  It scared all of us and the hotel called for a doctor from the village to tend to Edith. 

      Several of us helped Edith back to our room.  We waited for almost an hour for the doctor to show up but once he got there and had a chance to examine her he told us that it was just sprained.  He wrapped her in bandages and told her to take aspirin or Tylenol for pain.  I went to the hotel lobby to get some ice for her but they didn’t have any so I tried to make her as comfortable as I could.  I listened to her for a good hour as she talked about how much she wished she hadn’t gone on this part of the tour.  She told me was going to write warnings about Bali in her letters back home to the Fillmore Herald.  When I asked her what she finally decided to say she told me she wrote:

  “I would advise no one to come to Bali until something is done to change conditions there.  It is filthy dirty, no running water, flies everywhere.  No soft bed to sleep on.  The weather is hot and humid and we are happy to be leaving for Singapore.”

     While I thought her comments were rather harsh, I had to agree on what she had to say for the most part and thought they were accurate.  While I lay there trying to sleep all I could do was think of was getting some more soap.


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