Back in Paradise

It’s been a busy week here at Chez Shanghai. Meredith’s spring musical is coming up and I’m pretending to be a lifashi (hair dresser) for the week. Quite the pretense, I must say. Saturday was the first dress rehearsal, and we got to see how much of a pretense it is.

But back to the soothing breezes of Bali or Bali Dao as it is called in Chinese. Apparently the word for Paris in Chinese is Bali. You can imagine my confusion when my Chinese teacher started asking me about Paris, France when I told him I was going to Bali!

When you arrive at a hotel or restaurant in Bali, you are given a chilled wet towel, often beautifully scented, or if you have been traveling during the day, the driver will whip one out of a cooler to give to you. Also when you check into a resort, or are given a massage, you may be given a lovely fruit drink of some concoction.

Fifty percent of the Balinese work in the tourist trade, so they understand service and for the most part really try to do everything possible for you. We found that we had a much more difficult time making ourselves understood in Bali than we do here in China, though. Often we would think we had gotten our message across and then nothing would happen. Either that or they were being sort of Japanese, saying yes even if they meant no because they didn’t want to disappoint or lose face. It was hard to get too upset about it though, because they were so nice!

In general,  everyone seemed very happy and relaxed–quite a bit less tightly wound than the Chinese. Just as an example, one night a driver stopped in the road to drop us off to go see a Hindu dance and he needed to give us his card so we could call him after wards. He was scrounging around quite some time in the car because he couldn’t find one. He eventually emerged with a kleenex and pen on which he wrote his number.

The point of this story is that in China, people would have started honking as soon as the car stopped and very well might have gotten out of their car and started yelling at the guy after he had been stopped for as long as he was. In Bali? A long line of cars gathered behind him, but there was silence, and then finally after a couple of minutes, a timid little “beep, beep.”

The pictures are now in a gallery. Clicking on the first picture will make them appear in the middle of your screen. Then you just need to use the arrows on the right and left of your screen to scroll through the pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the show! I probably won’t get to post again until next week. Seems I need to run out every day for more hair spray and pins. The first show was tonight and the kids were great despite props breaking, mikes breaking and not working due to cell phone interference and another main character coming down with the stomach flu. Yes it wouldn’t be the spring musical without hurling and fevers!

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About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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4 Responses to Back in Paradise

  1. Linda Mahoney says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. It is so interesting! Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    Are you sure that you weren’t a travel agent in another life? 🙂

  2. Greenhouse says:

    I feel refreshed just reading this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Heidi says:

    Hi Marisa,
    I had a question-do they have “spirit houses” in Bali, or China?
    Heidi

    • Hmm. I don’t know. I don’t think I really know what a spirit house is, actually. I suppose Bali could have them.Everyone in Bali pretty much is Hindu,and very much so, so I don’t know whether spirit houses would fit in with the Hindu religion. Spiritual things like Buddhist temples and Catholic churches are tightly controlled here in China, so I’m pretty sure they’d put the kabosh on anything “alternative.”

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