Our guest house owner, Ketut, looped us back around in a circle and pointed our path back toward town and I couldn’t help but shoot a quick eyebrow raise at my travel buddy for the day.
Mo, a San Francisco native camping out in Bali for three months, sauntered beside me on the dirt pathways lined with tall grass as we eased into our second hour of wading through soupy humidity out in the rural Balinese rice paddies. We had both anticipated that we were on our way to a ceremony in a nearby town.
Whoops. See, we hadn’t actually confirmed that little detail. The day before Ketut had mentioned in passing a ceremony in the outskirts surrounding Ubud, a lively little new-agey tourist town in Bali. So the next day we both assumed that we were heading to the ceremony when Ketut loaded both of us on the back of his motorbike (and if you’re paying attention – yes, that means we had a sandwich of three full grown adults on a motorbike with me in buffering in the middle).
Ah assumptions. Instead, Ketut wanted to take us for a walk and show off some of the deep valleys and sloped rice paddies in the surrounding area. For me, as soon as I saw our path I had my camera on the ready, looking our for playing kids…it took a full hour before we rounded a corner and voila!
Back Stateside my life is full of kids – I nannied through University and visit those two kiddos and when I’m at home I get poked awake to giggles by my niece and nephew every morning before they head off to elementary school.
So, when I’m traveling the kids on the road fill that spot in my life; I love kids and kids love cameras! I know that even in the most crazy of circumstances if I can find a group of kids to play ball with – or even watch them play ball – that it sets me back to right.
So when we passed by a group of kids struggling with a chicken and puppy I couldn’t help but crouch down and start photographing them after a nod of permission from their nearby fathers.
The kids clicked into wild mode and started performing tricks for me – chicken and puppy included, and the peals of laughter ringing throughout the open space were contagious. Even the dads perched nearby avidly watched as they all posed elaborately and then ran toward me to see the image displayed on my camera!
As we resumed our long walk back to town I loved my walk; it outside of the motorbike frenzy of Ubud and interacting with those pockets of kids along the walk made my day – the smile plastered to face was a clear indication that I had completely forgotten that whole confusion about a ceremony nearby. My friend, on the other hand, was a bit more focused and it seemed as though without the ceremony payoff the whole walk was a bit of a bust.
I countered him – not even the kiddos?! The puppies?! He conceded on the puppies point so all there was left to do was skip ahead and take in the late evening smell of wet rice paddies and dense humidity.