BALI, INDONESIA – 5 a.m. I wake up abruptly. I’m not sure what woke me but the constant crowing of the roosters in the yard adjacent to the house where I slept is what kept me awake. Me and my buddy Roger, a mother black cat, both stretched simultaneously. Roger has taken to sleeping by my side over the past week. If you are wondering why her name is Roger the story goes like this:
My friend Emily invited me to stay in her extra room in her house in Bali. She told me that she had to get the cats out of there that had been sleeping in there prior to my arrival. Once I got to Emily’s place I saw the mother cat. Not knowing the sex of the cat I just called it Roger. I honestly can’t remember what the cats name was before, but for some reason Emily agreed that the name fits. Since the cat seems to love me I figure it will stay. Emily calls it Roger too now. Ha!
Since I was awake and I had work to do I just decided to work for a few hours before I had to meet my new friend Wekku. Wekku is a Finnish guy that has been living in Bali for the past 17 years. When I got to Ubud about a month ago I met up with my friend David that said I should meet him due to the nature of my business (film). He showed me a video he shot for Johnny Fresh that featured a lot of stunning drone footage. I knew then that I had to meet him.
At that time he was in Java shooting and I was in Ubud. Then when he came back to Ubud I was in Java. By the time I got back to Ubud three weeks later meeting Wekku was not on the forefront of my mind. But Bali was not having it. I was casually sitting in SENIMAN coffee studio when my friend Jacob who I had not seen since my trip to Bali in the summer of 2013 strolled in. We started talking for awhile and to my chagrin he mentions Wekku and implores that I meet him. Being a man of action I asked him to put us together immediately. He did.
A week later I am finishing up my work and rushing out of the door to meet him for the third time. We are scheduled to go and handle some business in Denpasar (the business center of Bali if there really is one). He wanted to show me a cool laser etching place and photo printing shop. We meet up at 9 am, have a coffee and then we’re off.
After he shows me the print shop we decide to hit up a warung. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a warung is just an Indonesian style restaurant. Usually open aired serving either nasi goreng, mie goreng or nasi campur (Google it). This is a quaint little place down a street that surely doesn’t see many westerners if at all. The lady who runs it is laughing and smiling about everything. It is a very hot day and so we both have an orange and gula juice (what I call it). Gula meaning sugar. I compound my sugar rush by having a bottled Coca Cola. It just fit with the scenery. Hot day on a desolate street. We could have shot a commercial. We get our fill and then we’re off to the next destination.
Wekku decides to meet one of his dear friends Ron at his glass making shop. It was a very nice drive to his place and a refreshing reprieve from the fumes of traffic exhaust. Before we got there we picked up some Bintang (Indonesian beer) because… why not? It was a good way to celebrate mid-day and it was bloody hot out! Ron is from America but I think he forgot that long ago. It was evident because his recent news of America was all 5-10 years ago. We had a good laugh about it and he plainly said (paraphrased), “Man, I’m in Bali. That’s all I care to know.” He was right. Why be concerned with all of the bullshit from the outside world when you live in paradise. There’s no need to bring that negative energy here.
After a couple of beers a couple more people randomly show up on a motorbike. They take a tour of the place and then the magic began to happen. As I was making a call off to the side I heard a beautiful sound coming from the strumming of a guitar. That soon followed by a sweet voice that belonged to Ron. Little did I know that the man that was responsible for all of the beautiful glass-work surrounding me was a pretty damn good musician complete with his own music. Here is one of the songs he played for us.
His friend joined in, who’s name escapes me, and started playing his guitar. It was a full on jam session. What a pleasant afternoon. That’s Bali for you. Full of artistry whether its coming from the scenery or the people. There seems to always be a magical experience just around the corner. Speaking of which, Wekku got a call and then we were off.
Once in the car he told me its drone flying time. An impromptu opportunity for me to see the man at work. Really, at play, when you do what you love its never really work.
I was in for an unexpected treat. Wekku’s friend Chris and his friend Doug are currently developing a very nice piece of land in Bali near Ubud. I have to admit I wasn’t ready for the sheer beauty of the place. It was like walking onto a resort, but it was the man’s house that is being built.
On the way over I grabbed my GoPro out of my bag and stuck it out of the window to try and capture some of this gorgeous drive. Little did I know what I would capture next. Take a look at this video and it will give you a glimpse of what went down.
After being shown around this amazing estate by Chris and Doug Wekku and I hopped back in the truck and headed back to Ubud. On the way we saw one of his dear friends from the UK sitting at a bar whilst driving by. A quick maneuver later and we were parked on the side of the street. Time for more Bintang.
I can’t remember his name but he was a great character. He reminded me of one of the older chaps from the movie Layer Cake. How apropos because he’s know Daniel Craig since he was an adolescent. I will just call him Old Boy because that’s what he is. He was accompanied by two friends that had worked years with him for British Airways. The lucky bastards get to fly for free for life! What a company policy, eh?! He regaled us with several stories that caused us all to erupt with boisterous laughter one story after another. Travelers, I tell you, have the best stories!
A couple of Bintangs and a few smokes later we departed finally to Ubud. A full day of laughter and good stories. It was nice to bond with my new friend Wekku and I got to meet his good friends from around the world. Bali is a special place. So many fascinating people come here and stay. We are all here together randomly. Living our lives in harmony and fully appreciating the beauty and spirit of this magical island they call Bali.
Until next time… Cheers!