Have you ever looked for something so long that it drove you to the point of utter distraction? You just wanted to tear your hair out because you know it existed, or you know you had it in your hand only five minutes before, but the universe refuses to show it to you? Like when you ran around the house screaming 'I just had my keys in my hand!' and then you found them in the freezer a week later?
Well, we were looking for cable and that's where it all began.
'What kind of cable?' I hear you ask. Well, the kind that salt does not eat and can be used for bracelets and necklaces for the 'man on the water who likes to fish'. The kind that is smaller than the one used for lamps and much smaller than used for extension cords. The kind that looks black and uninteresting but is rounded and not flat on one side. The kind that every hardware store in the universe has except, ALL stores in Bali.
So we made our final foray into Denpasar, fighting the incessant traffic, list in hand of the items we had to find on the day and a 'note to self' at the top of the page in chicken scrawl which said:
'Remember...if you have this list and it is 15 items long, if you get a total of 5 today, without incurring painful circumstances to get them, you are doing really well. Remember...this is Bali'.
A constant reminder is always needed in times such as deepest and darkest forays into places where the men are men and terribly unhelpful and the women are at home cooking for the unhelpful men.
So poised with list clutched in my hand, Nini at the helm, we hit Jalan Sesetan and made for the tokos where we could buy our blades for the coping saws lying helpless in our studio and to get a bit of chain to finish a customer's piece.
Then it happened.
'BOOM!' 'POP!' 'BLAST!' the back wheel bursting open and the bike slides and drives us into oncoming traffic. Brakes and the smell of burning rubber.
Nini swerves to avoid a car and we come to a halt in the middle of the road. Laughing nervously and getting off the now defunct bike, we almost hit our chests like King Kong, knowing we cheated death. Nini looked with rounded eyes to the left of the road, while still standing in mid traffic. Its a look I have seen before on others here. Even felt it on myself. As though you have found a tomb full of gold in the desert.
Which she had in fact.
'I don't bloody believe it!' she says pointing, her mouth open, trucks zooming past. I glanced over a little scared and there, it was.
In the dirt and grime, with windows that look like the Sahara sandstorms had been through recently, is a car park full of reams and reams of cables of every size known to man. The sound of Hallelujah rang out and we both looked at each other and smiled and shrugged our shoulders (this has come to be known as the 'Bali Shrug of Serendipity').
It has a funny way of creeping up on you in this part of the world. Or just smacking you in the face when it's ready to make itself known. Bali. Island of The Gods. Or should I now say.... 'Cables.'