October 15, 2002

FULL MOON BALI BONFIRE - Monday, Oct 21, 8 pm
I've never been to Bali, but, like everyone else, I'm just sick about it. You, and anyone you care to invite, are warmly invited to join me for a bonfire at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. We can talk about Bali, or baseball ("The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!..."), or just roast marshmallows and admire the full moon. (Directions and more details at bottom.)

We hadn't spoken in perhaps four months, and - shazam! - there he was on the other end of the line. He said he just had to call - he hadn't heard my voice in far too long, and I assured him it was just the same for me. I called him right back, and our mouths were instantly off and running. His October 6 birthday party for little one-year-old Bradley went very well: "Like the party you had for me in your backyard." His new guesthouse is well along, although "there is still a lot of work to do." However, two things made him sad, he said: The fact that I couldn't be there, and Tony's own perception that "most people think I am not like before." I tried to explore this latter statement, but the long-distance aspect and our language differences got in the way. I told him that I'm trying to get a magazine to send me over in January so that I can see him and write a story about whether my invitation/his trip were a good thing for him or had this all been a little much? He cut in immediately - on, no, no, he said, coming to America and meeting everyone and doing all of those fantastic things had been the best, most amazing thing in the whole world for him! Just last night he had been watching the videotape of his visit - it was all so "overwhelming" (a word he learned during his first couple of days here). He said, "Now I dream every night that I will wake up in the morning and meet my friend Brad." I said, "Soon, soon, I hope." He said that he, too, was sick about Bali. In Banaue now there is maybe one tourist per week. Tony had recently gone to Baguio to look for work, and he's hopeful that something will come of that. He said that there are still zero terrorists in his area - "Maybe some in Manila - we don't know. But not here - here...we KNOW!" He said everyone is praying that there is no war with Iraq. I told him I hoped that the people in the Philippines weren't too upset with America, the way much of the world seems upset with us. He said, quite passionately, that this just wasn't the case in the Philippines. "People here are still in favor of America. Our government supports U.S. at the U.N. Nobody wants these terrorists. The Abu Sayyef - those kidnappings they do when I am in America - this we hate! This was the worst thing for the Philippines."

We talked for twenty-five minutes. Toward the end Sarah put her ear to the receiver and listened to Tony's "early birthday wishes" (she turns six in November). After we hung up, Sarah asked me if we were "at a war." I did my best to explain.

My radio appearance on Pamela Michael's travel show, originally scheduled for Thursday, October 17, has been bumped due to a fundraising marathon - it has been rescheduled for Nov 21, 8:30 a.m., KPFA 94.1 FM in the Bay Area.

LOCATION: Ocean Beach in San Francisco, about a third of a mile south of the Cliff House. There is a big windmill at the western end of Golden Gate Park, where John F. Kennedy Drive meets the Great Highway. (Don't let the smaller windmill a third of a mile farther south mislead you.) Draw a line from the big windmill straight to the nearest water (due west), and somewhere right around there is where we'll have our fire. Sometimes there are several bonfires at the beach, so just ask around - you'll find us. Please pay attention to the parking/no parking signs. Some scofflaws at previous bonfires have been ticketed.

I'll be there from about 8 p.m. (maybe earlier) to about 10 or so (maybe later). It's a good idea to dress warmly - the weather probably won't be nearly quite so tropical as Bali's. If conditions seem ridiculous, forget it - we'll try another date. If things look iffy that day, call my answering machine (510) 601-1840 - I'll leave a message by 4 p.m. if it's canceled - otherwise it's on.

I'll have marshmallows and coat hangers. You really don't have to bring a single thing, but you might consider bringing something to eat or drink. Also, a campstool or something to spread in the sand to sit on (not necessary, but often nice to have). Flashlights come in handy. Musical instruments are nice. If you have easy access to an extra piece or two of firewood or a fireplace log, please bring them - the driftwood at the beach is sparse (and stinky when burned). Monday, Oct 21, 8 pm

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