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Page 3

Selamat Datang - Welcome

the smell of this place assails all your senses

breathe it in deeply

a heady perfume

of kretek trasi incense and spices

the note is fertility and rich humus earth

a welcoming warmth

your body’s enveloped

this feeling maternal.

excitement is mounting walking the tarmac

then resignment . . . the wait

the exit through customs

the temperatures rising

impatience beginning to show

then the tumult of men at the entrance

I have the best price please where do you go

berapa how much how much did you say

mahal too expensive only half will I pay

the beauty of Bali surrounds you

palms and hibiscus and bamboo in groves

frangipani waringins pavilions with thatching enclosed by high walls

a horn sounds a warning

all move swiftly aside

whatever is larger has right of way

children call greeting with friendly hellos

graceful lithe women with brown smiling eyes

ask softly ke mana where do you go

but swiftly I pass for its Ubud I’m bound

lotus temples wayang festivals dancing

farmers and carvers and artists in plenty

offerings stray dogs mountains lush vistas splendid

to Ubud to Ubud

my journey will end there.

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