Saturday, August 27, 2011

on the black sand beach

on the black sand beach,
boats painted like flying fish,
a dice gambling game

Ida Bagus and his wife have invited us to supper on Lebih Beach, south of Gianyar. Nice to see some different country. The beach has black sand and hundreds of jukung, traditional double-outrigger canoes used for fishing, with a marlin-like prow and triangular lateen sail. A group of boys are sitting on the sand around a dice board game. The board has six squares containing painted pictures: Lord Shiva, a naked woman, a sanyasi in a yellow robe with rudraksha beads carrying a bundle on a stick over his shoulder, a grimacing warrior in armor, a fanged monkey-man, and a pot-bellied demon. The three huge square dice have the same images. The gamblers put their money on a picture. The dealer, with sunglasses pushed up on his forehead, places the dice on a round tray and covers it with what looks like a black flower pot, shakes the pot and uncovers the tray. If you put your money on a picture that turns up, you win, but if your picture doesn't turn up, the dealer takes your money. We sit at an open-air restaurant at low tables on bamboo mats right on the sand. The meal is huge and delicious: rice with sweet potatoes and sampal, satay languan (fish satay) on skewers, pepas ikan (roast fish wrapped in banana leaf), spinach with soy nuts, hot fish ball soup. And then, when I thought we were done, a huge swordfish steak. Robin orders Green Sands, an alcoholic apple drink, and I try the Lime Fanta, which comes in a cracked glass and tastes disgusting. The music is so loud it hurts, so Ida Bagus has them turn it down. He is such a loving father, feeding his daughter in his lap, kissing her, taking her to the toilet. My only regret is that it's too late to go for a swim.

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