FRIDAY’S FACES & PLACES: photos from everywhere, each Friday at this time

Ketut in the street
Ketut in the street

You have to be wealthy to live in Newport Beach, California. It’s an affluent little city with high-end…well…everything. The people who live there do not worry about “keeping up with the Joneses.” They are the Joneses.                         

 At the last high school reunion I attended, one of my classmates said this to a small group of listeners: “I only moved to Newport Beach”…he pauses for effect, gives a wry smile…“because I could.” You could tell it was an in-joke among people who live there. To people who live in Newport Beach, this would be funny. They’d laugh, say “duh” and fingertip high-five, then down another crystal flute of Dom Perignon. But to someone who doesn’t live there, it might seem arrogant, as though he’s bragging. And just a tad off color, like any in-joke told to an outlier.

A while ago, I met a young couple, Shiva and Shakti—both spiritual and aware.  They’d both worked almost every day for two years, sometimes working two jobs, sacrificed spending money on anything that was not absolutely necessary for them to survive, each lost over 10 pounds/4.5 kg in the process. They saved every penny they could, and now they are traveling the world with their travel nest egg. You have to admire that kind of devotion and tenacity to accomplish a goal. They figured they would travel at least a year, and circumnavigate the world before starting careers and a family. When I met them, they had already traveled through South America, visited Easter Island (I am jealous of that!), sailed in French Polynesia, backpacked Australia, and were now in Bali. And Shakti was in her first trimester: shit happen out there in the world.

One day, we were eating dinner in the Yellow Flower Café. Shiva asked me why I keep returning to Bali so often. The short answer slipped out of my mouth before I actually thought of good reasons. I replied: “Because I can.” They both chuckled, nodded their heads in understanding, and gave me knowing looks. For that one moment, we were the Joneses, on the inside of that joke.

You know when you go to some countries, and you ask someone if you can photograph them and they become indignant, wave their arms in the air, and yell: “No. No photos.” Or in some countries if you snap a photo of someone, especially a woman, you might find yourself sitting in a jail that makes Alcatraz look like a country club. Depending on what country you’re in, there are various different reasons for people’s opposition. Different cultures, different strokes. One of the things I absolutely love about Bali is that most people here truly like having their photo taken, most will actually thank you after you’ve snapped the shot. For someone who loves to take photographs, Bali is Nirvana.

The little girl in this photograph is Ketut. She lives in Ubud on the island of Bali. This street begins at Jalan Raya, the main road of Ubud; runs through some stunning rice fields; climbs higher into the foothills and passes Tampaksiring, the holy water temple; and arrives on the rim of Gunung Batur, a volcano filled with water (Lake Batur).

As part of Blogging 101, I have created this assignment: Develop a Regular Feature. So every Friday, I will post a photograph of someone’s face (that I have taken in my travels—next week, maybe Shiva and Shakti?) and relate it briefly to the place where it was taken….because I can.


    • Yeah, I loved that little girl’s face. I’m wondering what you would have done to the photo on Photoshop? I think I’ll try to take a PS course sometime this semester. But I’m not really up for ANOTHER bit of learning curve, especially since I’ve signed up for the Blogging 201 course. This blog thing is time consuming. I wonder if I’ll be able to sustain it (my desire and the writing) as long as you guys??? I’m known for a lack of tenacity.

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      • Honestly there’s not a lot I would have done in PS – maybe crop the right side a little. I’m just learning Lightroom and loving it and finding it does wondrous things that PS won’t do. So now I edit in LR and only take photos into PS for PS specialties like cloning and layers which you can’t do in LR.
        I have an unshakeable commitment to the blog. I think you need that to sustain it.
        Just read a post on – apparently 60-80% of blogs are abandoned shortly after their creation, and that the average lifespan of existing blog is just under 3 years. I’ve been blogging consistently now for about 3 years and 4 months, though less than that time with WP. And yes, it’s incredibly time consuming.


    • Ha! Not really from the movie. In Balinese culture (hmmm….I just thought I might write a post about this sometime, thanks for prompting that!…anyway in their culture), there are only four names. Male and female are named the same in a numbering system depending on the order of birth in the family. First child born is named Wayan. Second child is named Made (mah-day). Third, Nyoman. Fourth, Ketut. So the child in this photo is the fourth-born in her family.

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  1. …interesting story… didn’t it freak you out a wee little bit when you replied “because I can”? What a funny twist! Ketut looks so beautiful – you can truly see how proud it makes her that you take her photo. Yes, these countries are indeed different – where they literally grab you and beg you to take their pictures… aaah, the differences in our planet always amaze me!

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    • You know, it DID freak me out a little bit. But it just seemed like the thing to say at the time…to them.
      People in Indonesia want you to take their photo, and like it. And then they thank you for it afterward!!! Yeah…differences!

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      • Ah, I see now. Yes, that makes sense.

        I had an inverted experience in Sumatra – I caught eye with young teenagers desperately trying to take my picture but always quickly turning around when I looked their way. I asked them if they wanted to take a picture with me, and they were so shy 😀 !!! It was so cute. In the end we managed all together, and they seemed happy 😀

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        • Right…Indonesia is made up of a 3000 mile long archipelago, and the people on the different islands are different cultures. The people in Sumatra are very different than the people on Bali, who are very different than the people on Irian Jaya! But you had a very cool experience, and how wonderful that you invited them to photograph you!! You are my kind of traveler…even if your room is a mess. Does your backpack look like that?

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          • Indeed! We’ve also travelled many islands between Sumatra and Timor – everywhere it was so different and yet similar! They would laugh at my “peasant”-Bahasa in Sumatra because they speak the “right” Bahasa and I had learnt some common expressions around Bali *lol* – but all in all, they are my favourite and the sweetest people ❤

            Oh – when I travel, my place looks like a mess as well…! I am planning to find those pictures and write a post with them some time, so, beware 😉 My backpack is absolutely lovely 😉 ❤ It looks very messy! I think there's a picture of it on a Friday Flow issue… yes, hang on – you can find it here: 🙂


  2. There were a couple of nice guest appearances in this post. Shiva and Shakti sound like an adventurous couple and Ketut is a cute little kid. I’ve never been to Bali myself, but my boss has and says it was wonderful. Maybe one day…


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