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Purple Passion

So I suppose you're wondering about the purple hair. The incident has its origins in a rather sad story.

Last week one of our dogs was suddenly sick. Our smallest dog, Sasa, was poisoned. We're still not sure how. The indiscriminant and rampant use of pesticides is a constant concern. We woke up early in the morning because she was yelping. She was in really bad shape. We were able to force milk into her, and the vet came and gave her a vitamin injection. She stabilized, but we kept our eyes and our minds on her all day.

During the afternoon we had a respite from the stress. Emily wanted to get her mind off things, so she decided to cut my hair. Emily is trained as a hairstylist and beautician. Fine enough. She'd also decided it was time for some more color. Okay, she's done it before. My hair was in her hands. Previous dye jobs have given me a head of reddish-brown hair.

My hair - her decision, my complete faith.

This time something unusual happened. Either the ingredients were suspect or her mix was less than accurate. I washed the solution out of my hair. I toweled vigorously. I raised my head even with the mirror.

"Emily?, Emily? ... Emily, there's a problem."

"Wayne, what's wro ...oh, OH. I'm sorry honey."

"Emily, I love you ... but can you fix this? I cannot teach like this. My students are not mature enough to accept a teacher with purple hair."

Eventually, after two more colors, and four shampooings, the hair was rendered a more neutral color. There are no pictures of this occurrence, but witnesses were reportedly shocked and amused.

I had to teach. The student's reaction to my hair, which still has a purple color, was expected and personally traumatic. I weathered the storm.

The situation at home was not so easy to cope with.

Sasa, the puppy, suffered a relapse. Her breathing became shallow, her heartbeat was erratic, and she was vomiting. We had Sasa looked at by two more doctors, but in the end she died in my daughter's arms.

The kids, Grace and Adryan, were shook up, as was Emily. I had to hide out in the bedroom. I've never been comfortable expressing grief in front of others.

On Saturday we went into the mountains for three days. The planned trip to Bali never happened. We had a hell of a time arranging a room. The Australians and Europeans were taking advantage of the exchange rates.

The foreign presence drives up prices and eliminates vacancies for hotels and flights. We finally found a hotel. Then we needed to arrange a van. On Thursday we were able to get a van.

The plan was to drive to Banyuwangi. We would then take the ferry to Denpasar. We would then drive to Kuta Beach. Kuta is the happening place, ya know.

The Balinese closed their ports.

We decided to go to Tretes. We stayed at the Surya Resort. It was great to be outside of Surabaya. It was my first trip to Tretes. We went to Skydisc.

Grace, Emily and I danced. I did manage to get Adryan drunk. He seems to think the only good beer pitcher is an empty beer pitcher. He might have a future as an English teacher. Hey, it's cool ... it was his birthday. This was the first time he's been drunk and he survived without a hangover. My penance came on Sunday. My brother-in-law had decided it was time to see me drunk. I turned green after the second beer, and had to quickly exit to save face and my brother-law's shoes.

I had a massage in the hotel's fitness area.

Tretes is cool. There are very few mosquitos, and the pool is heated. I rented a pony and rode around the town. I had planned to be out a bit longer, but apparently the sight of a purple-haired bule (foreigner) was a bit much for the locals. They couldn't stop walking in front of the pony and touching my legs. I know I'm cute, but it was a bit too much appreciation.

We returned to Surabaya and the business a few days ago. Amazing how the stress comes back so quick.

Our thanks to Wayne Duplessis for his series of short narratives on his years living in Indonesia - working as a teacher, raising a family, traveling and generally enjoying life - from 1996 to the present.