A note on my blogging methodology, if you can even call it that.
When we arrive to any given country, I search for one or two books to download to my Kindle. In Indonesia, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I downloaded Elizabeth Pisani’s Indonesia, Etc. In New Zealand and Australia, I read introductory books on the history of those countries and I also bought a few bound copies of bird and tree books. Buying the bound books is a bit of a problem because they are more expensive and they are also heavy–we are all still carrying one backpack and we’ve even lighted our load by shipping things home periodically so anything we buy has be fit in one of the packs.
As an aside, I’m not generally a savvy or interested shopper, but shopping in Bali was intoxicating. There is stuff everywhere and it’s cool and off-beat and cheap, so you just want to purchase things everywhere you go. We’ve been relatively careful, though. Before we left Bali, I gathered up the things we bought, sans the Garuda and dancing dolphin miniature woodcarvings that the kids bought (and had already been wrapped up). It’s not too much:
Oh but I forgot to mention the sauer wood dining table we purchased from Ketu, a woodworkers in Ubu:
Back to the methodology: I’ll read the Kindle and bound books at night, if I’m not too tired, and I’ll take notes on some of the things that I think will make it into the blog.
During the day, I try to talk to as many people as possible about anything that has to do with the history or culture of the place where we are. The reading helps with this, because I know just enough to ask questions that are laced with a modicum of intelligence and, I hope, demonstrates my interest in the place to the person I’m talking with. I’ll take notes on these conversations, sometimes as I’m talking with the person, sometimes after I get home.
In Bali, it was easy to talk to just about anyone. The Balinese are a gregarious, friendly people and they want to know where you are from, how you like Bali and what you have seen. They are also very keen to talk about Hindu ceremonies, the village banja or entertain questions about Balinese culture, like rice production or wood carving. I did not find this to be the case in Australia or New Zealand. It wasn’t that the Aussies and Kiwis were unkind or rude, but they are more closed off and suspicious of strangers, more like Americans, I guess. I generally have been waiting until we leave or about to leave a country before I write my posts because I feel like I’m gathering information that builds and builds.
I write the posts pretty quickly, usually within an hour, although, I might start one, leave it for a bit and then begin another one.