Sarah and I took our rented motorbike on another ride west of Lovina, and this time we ended up at --- hot springs. It was kind of dirty there, and warm water in a tropical climate isn’t something we were accustomed to. But we had already paid. Plus I had managed to make two vendors pretty angry by working them against each other while trying to get the best price for a sarong, so we couldn’t go back the way we came right away.
Hippies, apparently, really gather at hot springs. I guess it’s great place to rinse out the dreadlocks and that hippie funk that’s been accumulating on the body for the past few weeks in the back of the van. There were also a lot nice locals there with their families fortunately.
One guy I talked to had Slim Shady tattooed across his shoulders. Now in the States, this would have told me it was time to go, but seeing this on an Indonesian for some reason put me at ease. He was holding his, I’m guessing, year-old son (which he proved to me) in the water. He began to talk to me – where are you from, how long have you been in Bali, where are you staying, the usual stuff. Often Indonesians will want to practice their English on me, so I’m used to this. I obliged. But before long I found myself with more in common with this guy than I imagined.
He said he worked at a brewery. I asked if he worked for Bintang. (Bintang is the Budweiser of Indonesia and is truly one of the blandest beers I’ve ever tasted – about as bad, in fact, as Budweiser.) Oh no, he said; I work at Storm Brewery. This was a sense of pride for him, I could tell. He explained it was a small company there on Bali. I told him there were lots of those kinds of companies where I came from, and I introduced the term microbrewery to him.
We talked about pale ales, golden ales, stouts and amber ales. We both felt satisfied about our connection with someone so different. People who’ve spent a good amount of time tasting stuff tend to geek out about these sort of things – whether it’s about coffee or beer and to a certain extent wine. It’s something that can surpass language limitations. (Though wine is really a whole different level of geekdom and snobbery.)
Later that night Sarah and I found a small (expensive) specialty store and bakery owned by a German. He carried Storm and to Sarah’s and my elated surprise Kettle Chips – the very ones made in Salem, Oregon. That evening I felt the ghost of Portland for a few minutes. The sky was gray, and I was sipping on a microbrew, eating Kettle Chips.
You may not be the real Slim Shady, but you’re OK in my book.