A combination of Fuji 200 from Jun and I, on Contax T2 & Nikon AF3.
The time spent in Ubud could be many things but mostly it was a time of presence. Vivid dusty sun and glowing night outlines; tickle of an invisible stream; full glasses of sweet wine and haze-tinted conversations; fresh meals and choices, laughter, salty anticipation, quiet affirmations, blue blue wonder…
Here’s an extract from a communal Google doc (Snorkelling in Nusa Penida):
It was first a cloudy dip. I was choking, trying to breathe through the mouthpiece, and remembered that in the water—let go. So I did, and found myself able to breathe, able to see, and we moved through the seaweed farms, through the wooden sticks and over the nets, and then—wonderland.
I fear I can’t remember it anymore. A vividly blue starfish Wayan picked up. The waters got clearer, the corals magic. Wayan waved my hand away when I reached towards one of them. He grabbed my hand, I reached for Jun, and we swam with the fishes. Schools of them, mostly small groups that flitted around like butterflies in water. A few multi-coloured lone ones going about their own steady ways. Big flat creamy coral slabs with reddish seaweed sprouts waving in unison to the current, bricks and stacks of them in so many colours, mountains of many shapes, sloping, natural. To think I had always thought of the sea to be blue.
This is a world so new I can’t visually hold it. Part of me wishes I was an artist so that I could try to hold these colours and texture and magic in another form. I remember Wayan grabbing Jun and pulling me away from a mid-sized fish he later said was poisonous and hungry. I remember his pleasure and wonder, emerging from the waters as exhilarated as us, though this must be only one of the countless trips for him, and an extremely tame one. His love for the sea. I never wanted it to end though part of me worried where we were. It must be extraordinary when sun breaks the surface and pools into the seabed.
Bali—can I ever feel that connection that makes a place a possible home? It’s easy to imagine a life here, freelancing, with the low cost and proximity to food I love, but it just feels…too easy. I can’t trust something that feels too easy, just like how I can’t deeply connect with people who seem “too nice”.