Friday, August 19, 2011

Freezing my Balis off

When I first travelled south of the equator, I optimistically wrote about looking forward to cooler temperatures - but didn't realise how soon my dream would come true.

Heading up volcanoes in Java before sunrise was an opportunity for frosty titillation, sure, but things sadly got a lot more temperate when the sun put his hat on and came out to play (the sun has to gets his hats specially made, what with them being 870,000 miles in diameter and composed of a magical fabric that doesn't burn at 5,505 °C).

Now I'm back in Bali, an island not exactly renowned for its arctic temperatures. But like the non-conformist hermit that I strive to be, I eschewed the beaches and bikinis of the coast for the nippy highlands of Bedugul. It felt like coming home, if I'd ever lived anywhere so scenic.

Central Bali

I got to Bedugul swottily early in the day after 14 hours of buses (my angsty relationship with Indonesian bus drivers continues) and literally jumped into the first warm bed I could find to escape the chill in the air. Weather and climate are the things I miss most about living in Edinburgh (Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast has been perfect for curbing any festival withdrawal I might have had otherwise), and covering my head and frosted facial extremities with a blanket felt nostalgically festive.

Crawling into this cocoon, making sure my jeans and extra T-shirt were within easy reach and making the dash to sit on a freezing toilet seat took me right back to childhood Christmastime. It's as if all those intervening winter mornings in Sandbach, Lancaster, Edinburgh and Taipei never happened.

It's weird how the memory can selectively skip over all those miserable pre-work frozen mornings in adult life, and still associate the feeling with more care-free times (admittedly, my life at the moment is about as care-free as it's possible to get after being cursed by pubic hair). There's possibly a similar mental mechanism in play to the one that causes women to soon forget the agonising pain involved in childbirth so they're tricked into doing it all over again. That's right, I've read some Robert Winston books and now think I'm a neurosurgeon.

This place is a bit nicer than the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia - the strawberries are more edible and I didn't get massively rained on here (yet). That sort of thing would never happen back in Blighty. Perhaps my brain is tricking me again.

Listen to me, cursing the foreign weather like a provincial old woman. I've come to Bali to spread my icy dominion and ruin everyone's fun like a Narnian witch. I even have the appropriately shaped nose, buried somewhere under this blanket. Cold is the best, I'm with Ebeneezer on that one, though that's where our similarities end. Enjoy your summer, suckers!


  1. Whether it's latitudes or hemispheres, all I know is I've been mostly uncomfortably hot and sweaty since February. It's refreshing not having to go inside a shopping mall to get refreshed, or bleeding sweat all inside my clothes just because I want to be outside. Shopping malls are so goddamn rubbish.