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Toilet Seat, Specificity & Koko’s Blues

January 16, 2013

My toilet doesn’t have a seat. The windows in the bathroom don’t lock – though it’s probably hard to get to it. Still – It pays to be specific: know what you want and what you are willing to pay.

Ibunda pool

The first three rooms I’ve had have been successive downgrades:
$42-Bali Ayu, Seminyak – beauty big room & pool, 2 beds, AC, nice staff, breakfast, tv, clean, quiet (2 nights)
$30-Ubud Terrace Bungalows – big room, 2 beds, AC, pool, nice staff, quiet, no wifi (1 night)
$20-Ubud Terrace Bungalows -1 bed, 2 fans, pool, nice staff, noisy, no terrace, wifi or toilet seat (1 night)
$20-Ibunda – 1 bed, fan, pool(?), nice staff, terrace, breakfast, wifi; not so clean or quiet, and the pool has green tiles(water is green not the usual coveted blue) but it’s grown on me. (4 nights)

Art Café

Walked around Ubud, breakfast at Art Café: carrot-apple-cucumber cleanse drink and scrambled tofu with guac & salsa ($6). Stopped into healer Wayan Nuriasih’s (of “Eat, Pray, Love fame). $85/65 for body reading, balancing, massage, healthy lunch, month’s herbs, 3-4hrs/no lunch, 2wks herbs, 1-2hrs. Might be the western prices but I’m going to say the healing I need isn’t herbal.

I am grateful for… having the streets to myself, though it’s rainy and I didn’t bring my umbrella. Massive downpour this past hour and again a half hour later. Today was the day I overruled my intuition. Twice. And it bit me. Twice. (scooter crash, rain and no umbrella) I imagine it’s easier, life, when you listen to yourself. Let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

CoolTone Blues
I didn’t feel like going out, but I was meeting Wayan and wanted to hear Koko’s band. $3 cab (‘No meters in Ubud, it’s far, rain…’- which lends me to believe that half the folks asking, ‘Taxi?’ are just random drivers, scooterers and those bored of sitting on the sidewalks waiting for something to happen) to Warung Lezat – I arrived just before 9pm, Wayan and Koko were there, first set already over. Seemed like an ex-pat sort of place, only the band, Wayan and three others looked Balinese. Wayan introduced me to Philippe (San Fran) and Peter (the boss/owner). “Will you give your voice?” Koko asked. “Maybe, but I don’t really sing the blues.” They started first set with Robert Johnson’s Crossroads – man, can Koko sing the blues! It took all of one song and life was good, great in fact. I was happy, comfortable, sitting next to Wayan, listening to blues in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

They played Muddy Waters, a Dutch woman sang Summertime, Ain’t No Sunshine and another tune, a local girl did a duet with Koko for an Iwa Fals (Java, the guy who buys Wayan’s guitars) song and third set they did requests: Stairway to Heaven, Another Brick In The Wall, Sultans of Swing. The night before the trio at Upstairs had done Sultans of Swing and completely skipped the solo. CoolTone‘s guitarist – Ago? – ripped it up, and they altered and extended the song. From blues to Pink Floyd – they killed it. Koko didn’t miss a pitch, nailed screams like Robert Plant, growled almost like Louis Armstrong, and then pulled it back with soft, sweet moments, and all the while bouncing and grooving, his hands never stopping. It was fabulous. Every night of music here features the cajón too. Baby’s got a brand new band to love! CoolTone !

‘Koko’s got no mother, no father,’ Wayan told me after the band finished. “He is like my son.” I said I had thought so. What happened? His mother died of cancer a year ago and his father was on motorcycle, he was good, but he was hit by a drunk driver. Koko alludes to ‘small pay’ for playing, not complaining so much as pondering how to make a living. Wayan said he asked him about teaching singing. Koko’s smile is wide and frequent, yet in photos – more likely a testament of my phototaking than anything else -I capture downward glances and a straight face. But he is probably just whirring in the moment, as while the music plays, he sure is ‘in it,’ bopping no stopping, movin’ and a groovin’ – Koko’s got the blues in him!

CoolTone Blues

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