The Great Bali Man Escape

I’m too friendly. It’s a problem Katie and I both have. You think you’re being nice by chatting with everyone, making friends. But what you’re really making are admirers who want to take you to a deserted beach, get you drunk, and have their way with you. And that’s where this story begins.

I was in Indonesia for work, and decided to treat myself by flying to Bali for the weekend. For those of you who don’t know Bali, it’s an island in the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia, and a tropical paradise.

I didn’t know anyone in Bali, or where to stay, but a friend I had made in West Java while traipsing around filming rice fields (Yanti), had recommended Wedha, a Bali guide. She called him up from one of the fields, and let him know an American was coming to see him on Friday. So when I boarded the Lion Air plane, all I had was a cell phone number for Wedha in my Indonesian phone, and my backpack.

I ended up staying in Kuta, on the beach, and the first thing I noticed strolling along the beach were the Bali men. I wanted to learn to surf, and there was no shortage of attractive Balinese men offering lessons.

Manny, a really great surfer who had been offered a sponsorship in the US. But he's been unable to get into the US, even with a sponsor (it's really difficult to gain entry to the US if you're an Indonesian citizen). He told me next time I come to Bali he'll give me all the good waves.

I ended up making friends with a group of guys where I had rented a beach chair for the day, one of whom took me out and taught me to surf- which was AWESOME. If you can snowboard, you can surf. I have a secret fear of the water, (I’m convinced I will die drowning, AND I’m a Pisces. Coincidence? I think not…) but surfing completely took it away. The borrowed surfboard was huge, I got horrifically burnt, and the tops of my legs were completely scraped raw, but by the end of the day I had a huge grin on my face and had made some friends. ‘Friends’. So that’s when the beer came out, and we all sat, watching a huge group of Indonesian guys playing soccer on the beach in the sunset. One of the guys asked me if I had a Bali man yet, or if I was sleeping alone. uh- “No, I’ve been sleeping alone.” All of a sudden, I was the lame American sleeping alone. One of the guys, who spoke just about no English, managed to convey he was available to help remedy that sleeping alone problem. My surf instructor, Ketut, decided we needed more beer, and asked me to come with him. So I’m riding on the back of this scooter, down an alley that’s no more that 4 feet wide filled with 90 degree turns and possible pedestrians. By the time we get back to the beach, it’s pretty much deserted and dark, and Ketut decides we should have a picnic- picnic meaning trying to get me drunk for a makeout session on the beach. Now, Ketut speaks very little English, and I only knew one word in Bahasa: Terima kasih. Which means thank you. So you can see the problem. So there I am, trying to avoid eye contact by making comments about the beach which are, obviously, not understood, and cramming my face with cookies so there isn’t any chance of mouth to mouth contact. “These cookies are really good, mmm.” And other inane things. But nothing deterred him; he kept advancing and offering beer so it was time to go.

I just barely escaped, mimicking yawns and ‘long days’, and fled down the dark path to my cozy room where I had a good book waiting, and to sleep in my bed, alone. Sleeping tandem is sometimes overrated.

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