Crystals, Ninjas, and Boho’s Booty

I am deep in conversation with an intense Persian woman. We are at a book launch at 3 Monkeys Cafe and they have just delivered my small Bintang beer that looks much bigger than I remembered. I never liked beer, but in this climate I’m acquiring a taste. The author has arrived and is about to begin when a plump, Boho-hippie type with painfully tight blond curls plops into the chair beside me.

My Persian friend seems to know her. Boho confirms my suspicions and launches into a continuation of a conversation they evidently had at their last meeting. She acknowledges my presence by looking at me in a slanty way through half-closed eyelids never missing a syllable of her monologue. I steal a peak at Persia. She has an undefinable look on her face.

The emcee interrupts our one-sided conversation and the author, Sue McPherson, begins reading from her book. As book launches go, this one is brief, but I find myself wanting to read the story, Grace Beside Me. The applause has barely faded and Boho is speaking again. Soon we are deep in the voo-doo of crystals, energy transference, and ninjas. Yes, ninjas. I begin to suspect something isn’t quite right. After five minutes my flesh is crawling. I don’t even bother to glance at Persia who has become mute. I rise, excuse myself, and run.

Fast forward to the following night. It’s the Closing Celebration for the Ubud Writers Festival. The setting is the magnificent Antonio Blanco Museum. The entertainment is world class. Afronesia, is playing and people are dancing on the dais in front of me, blocking my view. I leave my seat and skirt the crowd to get a better look at the musicians and their exotic instruments. The music feels African with driving drums and a hypnotic beat.

Afronesia Photo by Miyoshi – 2012 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

I get close and see a woman dancing on stage. Her shorts grab at her gelatinous cheeks and the V-plunge of her top reveals too much. It’s obvious she’s not a professional dancer and I wonder for a moment why this phenomenal group would hire a curly, blonde, floozy…I look more closely. Now she is harassing the lead guitar player, shaking her ample bosom in his face, mussing his hair, taunting him while her jiggling booty assaults the crowd. Then she turns. I watch aghast as her tongue darts lewdly in and out of her mouth and her pasty arms and legs flail wildly. My stomach lurches. It’s Boho.

Photo by Miyoshi, 2012 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

I have to hand it to Afronesia. They don’t miss a beat. They don’t make horrified faces, like I am. They play their music with panache while Boho shamelessly upstages them. An emcee approaches her. Some words are exchanged and the offender is led off stage. I have about a half a minute of relief before I notice that, through the crowd, Boho is making her way directly toward me. Does she recognize me? I have a moment of sheer panic, then I do what I would do if I were face to face with a deadly animal. I turn ever-so-carefully away, avoiding eye contact. I force my legs to walk slowly into the crowd. When I have the exit firmly fixed in sight, I bolt and don’t look back.

Much later, safely at home, I scan my memory. Where did she say she was from? Seminyak? Sanur? It was an ‘S’ word. Note to self:  Avoid all towns in Bali starting with the letter ‘S.’ This is a very small island.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Gloria Cullins
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 13:44:26

    Great story, Sherry! I could visualize every second with Boho!



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