SHORT-CUTS IN TRANSLATION
I’M DISCOVERING THE INTRICATE NATURE OF BALI AND THE QUIRKINESS OF HER PEOPLE, ONE RUNG AT A TIME
Lost In Translation was a pretty good movie back in the day and I reckon I could write a pretty good sequel in 2019.
Over the past seven months, apart from working, I have spent a fair bit of time in Bali due to a family drama that some readers will know about, but that’s not what this is about.
It’s about translation and our new family friend Chock, who is a Balinese local and has been an enormous help to our family over this period.
I could say his English is not bad – far better than my poor efforts in speaking the local lingo – so I can’t complain, but sometimes we have slight miscommunications.
A couple of weekends ago is a prime example.
Now, one of Choc’s many talents is that he seems to know when I need something.
So, after a stressful week, he suggests we go to Nus Penida for a night with his family who have friends over there. I agree, but ask him to suggest some accommodation for me near the beach in my budget (cheap as possible).
He assures me the accom is $80 and only 100m from the beach. You beauty. Translation hiccup number one.
So off we go on the hour boat ride to the promise of a beautiful tropical island that is still mostly in its original fishing village state.
The idea is that my host is going to take me to this Hindu temple on the other side of the island where he goes to meditate and wash in the holy water in a natural spring/ waterfall that is 700 steps down from the top.
It sounds wonderful. Translation hiccup number two.
On arrival in the beautiful bay, he points out my digs which are overlooking the water, 100m from the bay. All good.
We go to check in but have to go by road which is a 30-minute goat track ride which I think strange as I could have hit a seven-iron from the beach onto the front lawn.
I check in, they then drop me back off in the village as there is no credit-card access so I need cash from the only ATM in town that, of course, isn’t working.
So I go to walk along the beach back to my room. Problem number one: the tide is in, so I am told I have to walk back along the goat track or I can walk through some scrub, climb a little cliff face and arrive at my destination.
Translation hiccup number one: it was 100m from the beach as long as the tide wasn’t in.
I take the scrub and cliff face which, unbeknown to me, would be a good warm-up for the next day.
So the next day at the peak of the heat, we have a one-hour scooter ride to the 700 steps and nirvana.
Beautiful ride. We get there and then get told I have to wear a sarong and Hindu headdress to enter.
No drama, apart from it being about 100 degrees. Off we go, and I soon find out that instead of 700 steps, translation should have been: 200 steps and 500 rungs of a ladder down a sheer cliff face.
The whole way down, all I can think about is how the hell I am going to get back.
It was outstanding, but if I had known the truth, I never would have gone.
It actually turned out to be a bonus. Thank you, Choc.
“THE TIDE IS IN, SO I AM TOLD I HAVE TO WALK BACK ALONG THE GOAT TRACK OR I CAN WALK THROUGH SOME SCRUB, CLIMB A LITTLE CLIFF FACE AND ARRIVE AT MY DESTINATION.”