I fly down to Bali when I’m in Bangkok quite often. Take advantage of one of Air Asia’s sales and the roundtrip flight can cost under $200. My relationship with Bali is a bit strained. I’ve never found the island to be the mystical, magical paradise that it is suppose to be. More like a land of pimps, whores, and thieves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. And it is incredibly cheap. More importantly, Bali is a great place to party your ass off.
I think travel writers are lazy and perpetuate myths rather than dig out the truth about a place. Ubud is a good example. It is suppose to be an oasis, a small art colony of New Age tranquility in the middle of the island. It’s not. The art is mediocre, mostly reproductions of other artist’s work. Even the local stuff; same painting over and over again. And the market in town features a humongous garbage pit in it’s middle filling the entire place with the smell of rotting fruit. And tranquility? Lost, thanks to the hordes of screeching monkeys that anchor the forest on one end of town. I think that’s why I prefer Kuta. Even the good press it gets says Kuta is a pisshole. I appreciate honesty in advertising.
Guys in Bali are readily available. Lots of money boys. Walk down any street in Kuta and you’ll hear a nonstop offer from those you pass and those passing you on motorbikes. “Massage,’ they call out. ”Young girl.”
Show your disinterest and they quickly follow up with, “Young boy.”
As money hungry as all the locals seem to be, finding a guy who doesn’t expect to be paid is not a difficult task. Many are happy with a free meal and a nice hotel room in which to sleep. And in my experience, they all bottom. Not well. But willing. Bali boys lack that sweetness about them that Thai guys all seem to have. There’s something a little wild, a little dangerous about them. No problemo. On this trip I was coming prepared, packing in my own meat. I’d arranged to fly my friend Damen in from Sumatra.
I’d met Damen on a trip to Penang the year before. We’d also spent some time together in Bangkok. An Indonesian in his late twenties, Damen is tall, dark, and handsome. He speaks excellent English and has a wicked sense of humor. We’d stayed in contact since our last time together via email and an occasional chat session on Yahoo. He was in college but school break coincided with my planned trip to Bali so I invited him to join me.
Damen, like me, is a camera buff. So we’ve enjoyed each others’ company in the past, out taking photos for the day. He has a weird code about being gay. It kinda works out to that he is not gay except when safely ensconced in his home, or in a hotel room. It seems to work for him. And all those repressed hormones means he explodes when he finally gets where he feels safe and can let go. I’ve experienced an affectionate Damen curled up on my lap late one night in Penang. And a playfully sexual Damen waking me up with a blowjob one morning. The last version of Damen I experienced was a pure ‘come fuck me’ hot and sweaty session unlike his previous versions. I was curious as to which I’d find in Bali. I was expecting a somewhat subdued Damen since he was going to be in his own country for a change. Ya know, that ‘gay’ thing.
I’d arranged for our flights to arrive at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar around the same time. Air Asia, for once, arrived almost on schedule so it was a short wait once I’d cleared immigration to meeting Damen. He’d put on a bit of weight since I saw him last. It looked good on him. A quick handshake, a pat on the back (remember, no gay dude!) and we were off via taxi to the All Season’s Hotel.
I’ve stayed at a few different hotels in a few different areas of Bali and have settled on All Seasons in Legian. Decent rooms, at least their deluxe. I like the location. It’s within walking distance of the beach. And the room has a ‘Bali style’ shower: outdoors. The first hotel I stayed at in Bali had that feature, too. But the toilet was also outside in the enclosed courtyard. Privacy wasn’t a problem. Trying to take a dump while under attack from swarms of mosquitoes was. All Seasons sensibly installed their toilets inside the room. With a nice large deep bath tub, to boot.
Damen didn’t bat an eye at check-in when I ensured we had a single bed in the room. Neither did the guy checking us in. That boded well. I’d hoped Damen wouldn’t be too skittish, especially since the Bali style shower was technically ‘outside’ the room – his delineation mark for where he could and couldn’t be gay. We unpacked and Damen, having never been to Bali, wanted to immediately hit the beach. So much for reunion sex. Or trying out the shower.
Unlike a Thai guy with his ‘up to you’ attitude, Damen had a list of places he wanted to visit. I’d hoped he would have known of some non-touristy sites, it being his country and all. But nope, every place on his list was a well known tourist trap. And I’d been to them all before. The problem with the familiar stops in Bali is the Balinese. Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, and Pura Besakih all are beautiful settings. Just the kind of place you’d want to see in an exotic tropical paradise. Except that the locals have turned them all into a souvenir stand. An understatement. You’d have to experience it to know what I mean.
I nixed Uluwatu. It’s a long drive with nothing else around to break up the monotony of the ride. And overrun by local monkeys who share the worse traits of the local humans. They swarm around the trails and attack any touri who happen by, grabbing whatever they can make off with. If you’ve been prepared for the assault, there are large piles of bamboo canes at the entrance that you’ll arm yourself with. First monkey you see, start swinging. It pisses them off and they run away screeching in anger. If you are unarmed, they swoop down and grab hats, glasses, cameras, whatever they can. It’s not a permanent loss. A monetary bribe to the locals who work there results in your items being returned to you. I’m not sure if it is the locals who have trained the monkeys, or the monkeys who have trained the locals.
When you pay your admission fee at Uluwatu, you also have to rent a colorful sash to wear around your waist. They tell you it is because the temple is a religious site. I think it is so that the monkeys know who to attack. I’d already done battle with the creatures, both simian and human alike, lost, and had no intention of doing it again. But at Tanah Lot you are only preyed upon by humans, so we rented a car and driver from the hotel for the day and headed up the coast.
Tanah Lot is a popular spot for viewing the sunset. That means the ginormous parking lot is filled with double decker tour buses from about 4pm on. During the earlier hours you’ll only share your experience with a few hundred of your fellow touri. At sunset, it’ll be a few thousand. Admission to the temple site is cheap; the souvenirs are not. After paying at the entrance you are immediately dumped into a lane of souvenir stands manned by persistent locals demanding a purchase be made. It’s a bloody gauntlet best traversed at a full out run. The temple is kinda cool though. It’s built on a small island just off shore. You get to look. Not go in. And then brave another gauntlet of souvenir sellers when you try to leave.
For dinner that night I suggest a stroll back up the beach to where a paved road dead ends, filled with bars and restaurants on the street side of the beach. I doubt any of the joints have exceptional food, but their offerings are decent enough, and it’s almost beach side dining. And cheap. That’s one of the things Bali has going for it. Everything is incredibly cheap. A nice dinner for two with wine will set you back less than $20.
We walked along the street and Damen picked out an Italian place I’d eaten at before. Not a memorable meal, but pleasant with the balmy breeze blowing in from the ocean, making the candle flame lighting our table dance about. Almost romantic. Though we’d spent the day together, we hadn’t really caught up on each others’ lives, but we did at dinner. Until we were the only diners left and the staff started making grumbling noises about wanting to close. We decided a slow stroll back up the beach to our hotel was a perfect way to finish the evening.
Now everyone will tell you it’s dangerous to be on the beach in Bali at night. Dark, deserted; you’re easy prey for locals out to do harm. We ignored the warnings, but kept an eye peeled for anyone lurking in the shadows of the pandanus trees. Damen had his heart set on a moonlight stroll along the shore. As we walked along the edge of the sea, the tranquil waters of the Indian Ocean set a romantic mood, a serene sheet of glass throwing off tints of moonlight, the waves gently lapping at our feet. Damen started in about some movie he was trying to tell me about. But couldn’t remember the name, the actors, or the story. Something to do with a beach. And waves. “The Beach?” I guessed, taking a stab with an obvious answer.
“No, older. Not Leonardo,” he said.
“The Blue Lagoon?” I tried, realizing my knowledge about beach movies was limited to those with male stars I’d once lusted after.
“No! Old. Black. White.”
Well, shit, that little nugget of info would have helped out. Then it came to me: Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster. “Ah,” I exclaimed, “From Here To Eternity!”
A confused look on his part. So I described the scene I thought he’d meant. Waves rolling in as the two passionately embrace, soon to be rolling around in the sand while the foaming waves crash over them. “Yes! That one!” was his excited reply.
How old was he again? That damn movie was from even before my time. But I guess the romanticism of the shot transcends age. Having lived in Hawaii, I can tell you though that the reality of the scene is two cold, soaking wet people with tiny grains of sand irritating all the ‘romantic’ spots on their bodies.
He smiled at me. Crazy Damen smile. And ‘I don’t do gay outside the room’ Damen all of a sudden had his arms around me and his tongue down my throat. Oh, shit. He didn’t think . . . But, yeah, he did. His shirt came off as he pulled me down into the sand. Forget the dangers of being on the beach alone at night. Forget about the whole ‘no gay outside’ thing. And forget about the reality of beach sex and the irritating grains of sand. The boy wanted to reenact his favorite movie scene. And wouldn’t be denied. I’m pretty sure he had this in mind the entire flight over to Bali. If so, you’d think he would at least found out the name of the movie so we didn’t have to play twenty questions first.
Fortunately he’d timed his move a bit off the mark so we weren’t actually laying in the surf line. The sand was damp, but still warm from the afternoon sun beating down on the beach all day. And by pure luck, since it was quite dark, we landed on an area that didn’t have broken beer bottles embedded in the sand. He pulled me on top of him, his excitement obvious from the hardness I could feel pressed against my leg. I laughed, and rolled us over a few times expecting we’d soon be brushing off the damp clinging sand and heading back to our hotel.
Damen had other plans. From Here to Eternity needed to be rewritten. His production of the novel needed a higher rating. He didn’t want the G version; he wanted the X. With me on top of him once again, he reached down and shimmied off his trunks and shorts, now laying naked beneath me. “Fuck me,” he implored.
“Let’s go back to the room,” I suggested.
“No. Please. Now,’ he pleaded tightening his ass cheeks to rub his erection against mine.
“Dude! Come on,” I said. “We don’t have lube.”
He spat into his hand, using it to wet himself. “Please!” he moaned.
Shit. I wanted to explain to him that the sand we were laying in would soon turn into sandpaper and it wouldn’t be a pleasant ride. But he took matters into his own hands. So to speak. He lubed my cock with more spit, spread his legs and grasping my hard dick thrust it inside of him. My little brain took over from my big brain. It is after all the more intelligent of the two. His hand worked furiously on himself, my motions just enough to give him what he wanted. He came quickly, forcibly, with a low moan, his eyelids fluttering.
That soft glow of aftersex vanishes quickly when you lay exposed on a public beach. Even in the middle of night when no one seems to be around. He tried washing the mixture of sand and cum off his chest without much success. It only served to dampen his T shirt when he pulled it back on. But it was a short walk through the dark narrow streets to get back to our hotel. Cleaning up, finally in our Bali style shower, I got my chance and he had a second helping. The rain started before we were done, the raindrops mingling with the water from the shower. We slipped naked into bed, the soft susurrus drizzle a lullaby inducing a deep, restful sleep.
So Damen version #4. The Romantic Damen? Maybe the Crazy Fucking Looney Damen? It sure in the hell wasn’t the Repressed Closeted Damen. I couldn’t wait to see what Damen #5 would be all about. And my opinion of Bali went up a few notches.