In those days Ubud was for the hard core Bali-loving travelers, the artists, the people interested in Balinese culture without leisure. We Beach Hippies loved Bali for the lazy life, beautiful coast and great surf but would not go up to the inlands unless we'd have to. It would rain, up there. Nothing ever happening up in Ubud. ever.

Esther had rented a nice cottage in an Ubud compound, but left for Holland. She gave me the rest of the rental time. I gave her a painting. This is how I came to live in Ubud.

Ubud was different, indeed.

I cycled, I continued painting, I played chess with a friend, I visited friends I had met while down in Kuta.

Lorne Blair was one of those friends I was told to go visit. When I entered his house, near a waterfall, he seemed happy to see me, as if he'd been waiting to show someone his project. It was a house. If not art, I would have wanted to study architecture. I was able to understand his drawings for my uncle had always made me read those blue prints he was drawing. Lorne was planning a house made of old Javanese houses put together. his drawings were intricate and perfect, but his workers would not be able to read them. So it came that I started helping by making a model.

My days with Lorne Blair were amazing. He was funny, he was famous, he had lots of friends, he was much older than I was, but it seemed not to matter. Until, of course, he died.

Having his daughter I became a foreign single parent living in Bali. Unfortunately neither me nor his daughter were acknowledged in any inheritance and I returned to the rather sober lifestyle I was used to as an artist. I managed barely but luckily I had many dear friends who would help and support me in every way possible. I rented a small house in the center of Ubud town, had a lovely helper, a car and friends.

The support of my friends was amazing, while I was going through rough times after Lorne's death. Especially Robin Lim, who had a loving home for me and Carolyn who was amazing for me in every way possible. Most of Lorne's friends remained wonderful, like Rio Helmi, who was assigned Xenia's godfather, and Linda Garland, who would always offer support and welcomed me warmly.

But at one point I decided it was time to move on: too many controversial issues with the heir of Lorne's estate that would keep returning to darken our lives, my responsibility to provide proper education to my daughter, while I did not have the means to send her to International school, the introduction of computers at immigration, making it harder to travel in and out time and again on a tourist visa and, last but not least, my stagnation as an artist. I felt like I was a famous artist in Bali, now selling regularly small paintings but not developing in the 'real world'. I wanted to go and see how I compared in the Western World where I came from...

Still working on this...



To be continued...

My daughter Xenia in her father's car
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