Horns honking, scooters everywhere some loaded up with desks, kids, shopping. Shrines everywhere you look, offerings of flowers, incense, sweets and cigarettes outside shop doors and at junctions on the roads. Trash everywhere, ramshackle buildings alongside beautiful carved stone walls and decorative gates. Scooters coming from all directions, some headed the wrong way down the street, into the traffic. Tattered signs and flags fading in the sun. Petrol for sale at the side of the road in old vodka bottles. Frangipani everywhere. Smiling, friendly open faced people say hello, a lovely surprise after the coolness of Perth. Sparrows chirp and swoop in the morning. Rice fields full of water, storm drains full of rubbish. Beautiful carving on gates, a lady walks down the street balancing a basket on her head. Buddha smiles out from the stone wear shops. Huge kites flutter in the skies. Giant penises carved from wood stand on the pavement. I’m not tempted to buy one!
Bali Bird Park
They all smell different. A Hornbill girl nestles into my shoulder for a cuddle, so sweet but her mate gets jealous and we have to break it up. Anna Maria the Palm Cockatoo whistles and clicks at me as we snuggle up and she scratches at her neck to tell me watch she wants. How can I refuse. She is majestic, beautiful, she can fly and she could leave but she doesn’t. She taps at her beak so that her handler will offer up another peanut. Her beak is so perfect and she strips the skin off of the nut with the delicacy of a jeweller. I’m instantly in love with her and she accepts my kisses with gentle sounds. She rests her giant beak against my nose and then my cheek, the soft, warm, red skin of her cheek a surprise. I expected feathers there. When I wake the next day, she is the first thing in my mind. I know she will be for some days yet. She is perfect.
Two hours turns into four and I could stay for longer but we must leave. I stop to say goodbye to a salmon and white coloured cockatoo on the way out. He accepts a scratch and then climbs back up to his usual spot. I smile all the way back through the traffic, gasping at the daring of the scooter riders.