Sunday, January 24, 2010

25 / A Taxi Driver In Bali

Marilyn and I have now seen an impressive Kecak Dance, and a Fire Dance, performed in Sanur Beach. On Saturday night, we attended a splendid Legong Dance, performed in the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Ubud, and accompanied by a wonderful gamelan orchestra. Last night (Sunday), still in Ubud, we attended a Wayang Kulit "Shadow Puppet" play, as my picture proves.

You might think that we're here for the culture (instead of just for the snorkeling)! Well, in a way we are. Santa Cruz residents have some built-in ties to Bali, thanks perhaps initially to composer Lou Harrison and the Cabrillo Music Festival, which brought "spangly," gamelan-inspired music to Festival performances year after year.

Coming home from the Legong performance in a taxi, we were asked by the taxi driver where we were from (a frequent question, we've found, as we travel in Bali). "We are from California, in the United States," I said, "a little town called "Santa Cruz."

''I know Santa Cruz,'' said our taxi driver, ''I have many friends from Santa Cruz.''

I assumed that this was somewhat of a creative response, intended to establish a bond with two late-night passengers. It has been my experience in Bali that taxi drivers tend to claim absolute knowledge of the things you mention (like where to find a particular address) though they in fact have no actual acquaintance with the place at all.

But I was wrong. "Yes,'' he said, ''do you know Judy Slattum?''

Well, as it turns out, that is a Santa Cruz name I know. Judy Slattum is another reason that Santa Cruz residents have some built-in ties to Bali! Check out her website, linked above.

Greetings from Bali to all its many friends in Santa Cruz!

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