Right now I'm taking a time-out, in the preschool sense, where the teacher puts you in isolation for awhile after doing something bad. In my case, it was more something stupid, and I'm not really in isolation, but it feels that way because I'm staying right by the beach at the most beautiful surf break I have seen in my travels, and I can't surf at all.
Stupid thing – I've been keeping up with some strength training while on the road. Regular gyms are pretty much out of the question, so that leaves bodyweight exercises. There's a great book on bodyweight exercises called Convict Conditioning
, that takes you through 10-step progressions in 6 big exercises to get eventually to crazy things like one-arm handstand pushups (I seriously doubt I will ever be able to do 1 of those).
Although the exercises are bodyweight, you still need to locate something you can do pullups off of, and for me that's usually tree branches. Being in the tropics here in Bali, a lot of the trees are palm trees, which don't exactly have pullup-able branches, but there's another type of tree scattered around that is suitable. At
first I bothered trying to find tree branches that were roughly horizontal. But then I realized that slanted branches were great, as they put more strain on the upper arm, which is a useful transition into one-arm pullups.
Anyway, I wasn't having much luck finding a suitable branch on my last morning in Pemuteran, so I settled for one that was a bit higher than I wanted. I was going to start incorporating some half one-arm pullups. This proved to be pretty difficult, compounded by the difficulty of gripping a tree branch much thicker than a pullup bar. I found my grip wasn't up to the task, so I bailed from the high branch. I hadn't noticed that there was a segment of tree-stump sticking up in the tall grass, and although I was wearing sandals, for some reason my sandal got displaced and the base of my right toe landed right on this pointed stump with most of my weight on it.
Within seconds my foot was a bloody mess, and I limped home to clean up and assess the damage. A 1.5-cm piece of wood was lodged into the base of my
big toe, so I tweezed that out, and used some alcohol swabs and iodine I had in my med kit to sterilize things up. Only after doing that did I Google to find that actually some authorities don't recommend sterilizing cuts anymore, as apparently the damage you do to your cells can outweigh the damage you do to any invaders. They instead recommend using copious amounts of clean water to thoroughly clean the cut, with a fresh toothbrush to help remove debris, if necessary, and then having a doctor evaluate whether or not you need stitches.
Anyway, I did the best I could cleaning and bandaging, and then checked out of my homestay (of course only after finishing my workout!) and followed my plan of heading around the Northwest corner of Bali through Taman Nasional, Bali's only national park, and heading down the West coast to the surf spot Medewi. It was pretty clear to me that I wasn't going to be able to surf, at least for the next several days, and that maybe I should even go to a doctor to evaluate for stitches.
I got to Medewi, found a nice room
by the main surf break, and then went to a local clinic where I could see a doctor (dokter actually, in the Dutch-influenced Indonesia). I realized that I was pretty short on funds though, so asked where the nearest bank was. It turned out that the only ATMs in town were those of BRI bank, which accepts Mastercard, but not Visa! I can't recall ever having seen such a picky ATM. The nearest Visa-accepting ATM was 45 min back up the coast in the larger town of Negara. In retrospect, I probably had enough money for a doctor's visit here, or if not they would have been cool with me paying a bit later. But I heard that there might be an ATM at a gas station halfway back to Negara, so I decided it was worth it to go check that out, and not finding it, that it was then worth it at that point to go all the way to Negara. Once there, it somehow took 8 ATMs or so to find one that was both open (it was 530pm by then) and accepted Visa (BNI, you are my hero).
So I headed back, and
started to think that the clinic might be closed by the time I got there. A more pressing issue was that it was getting dark, and I had only brought my prescription sunglasses with me. I have driven at night in a car on familiar streets without my -1.75 prescription, but driving on a motorbike in SE Asia under those conditions didn't seem like such a great idea. But I happened to see a “dokter” sign on the way back, and couldn't resist stopping in to have him take a look. He called himself a general practitioner, but was kind of goofy, laughing at everything, and didn't seem to take seriously the idea that I might need stitches. He superficially cleaned the cut, bandaged me up, and charged me $3.
As I left, I was telling him and the nurse that I needed to be more careful. Seconds later, I somehow didn't pay enough heed to the fact that I was pulling out on a steep slope of gravel, and managed to spin my bike out, land it on my injured foot, and knock over someone else's sparkling brand new bike in the process. Fortunately, none of those elements involved in the accident were badly damaged. There was a very minor damage to the guy's bike, and I encouraged them to name any price and I would pay it (with my newly withdrawn stack of 100k's). The crowd estimated “1000-100's”. Being a math PhD, I recognized that 1000x100 = 100x1000, equivalently about $10 US. I gave him $200k to be sure. Actually, my bike was a bit worse off, with some scratches and a cracked plastic housing on the light. But it seemed OK to drive, and the light was really getting dim now, so I carefully pulled out and made it home, by the end literally driving in the dark with my sunglasses on.
By the end of this day, I reflected and felt like I had made a number of bad judgments/decisions, and that they had to some extent compounded on one another. For one, I think I was a bit on-tilt after driving in pain behind horribly-fuming trucks for 3 hours down the coast, then having to back-track 45min. No one should operate a motorcycle in any degree of tilt. As I learned from watching many episodes of Aircraft Disaster (AKA Mayday), serious accidents in seemingly redundantly-safe systems often have causes due to some degree of cascading failures. So as things start to go wrong, it's important to back-off, recalibrate, and be conservative with your initial plans/ambitions. All-in-all things could have gone a lot worse, and I resolved to learn from this and be more mindful all-around in the future.
Here I'm sitting two days later. My cut is healing slowly but surely, and doesn't seem to be infected, but I'm still staring these beautiful waves in the face. Ahh well. . .live and learn.
Tot: 0.115s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 12; qc: 49; dbt: 0.014s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb