Destinations, and they all seemed to be a time for resting. Denpasar (Bali), most of it spent catching up on our reading. Whiling away time hunkered down in a hotel room with a stack of novels suited us more than sightseeing and beach combing. By then we’d had a fill of people. Kids begging for money, the first kids to do so in Indonesia, had clearly dampened our Bali experience. Getting to Denpasar on our bicycles had been enough commentary on the island for us. But the Hinduism there, with all its color and ritual, often enlivened our senses: the picture-post-card scene, the music, the flowers, the scents, in combination, made it all worth while.
But we all go to different places for different reasons. We take to destinations our journey; and what we do there is, or should be based on our needs. Because we exhausted ourselves, really, to get somewhere like Bali, we needed to sometimes stop. And our destinations, the sights, sounds, scents of the place, became less important than our renewal.
It came to us that the “change-of-air stations” in Malaysia such as Cameroon Highlands or Maxwell Hill were for sleeping. We had no coats; we weren’t used to the “cold:” after the heat of tropics a change of air gave us an excuse to burrow ourselves under the covers and read. For days on end, we read. The colonial world had it right when they retreated in mass to their stations: just as Peg’s family would retreat each summer to the cabin in the mountains of Southern New Mexico, where they took long hikes for relaxation and picked wild strawberries for jello. But back to Bali, where fatigue had stripped us of romance and where reality set in: preferring to read to doing anything else, when we had an exotic world just outside our door, a world people from everywhere flew to see. It was right there, when it could’ve been so far away.