Sunday, July 24, 2011
Bali in a new light, Ketut Liyer, and Jessica
We are heading into week three in Bali, and much has taken place already. My friend Jessica just left after a week long visit with us. It was so wonderful to have her here, as we explored this island together. My most memorable day with her was our visit to the healer, Ketut Liyer ( yes, from Eat, Pray, Love ) Because of this book and movie, he has become a very busy man. You must get a number the day before to see him. When we arrived, there were 10 people ( all women) waiting for their turn to sit with him. Our numbers, 7 and 8, had already passed, so we were up next, and did not have to wait at all. When I went to sit with him, he told me he had to pee very very bad, and laughed. After he took care of that and returned to his seat. He then told me that what ever he sees, he must tell the truth or he will go to hell, and he really really does not want to go there, he laughed again. He asked if I understood ( his very broken english) and I told him I did, as I braced myself for what he was about to tell me. Then he handed me a letter and asked me to read it to him, since he can not read english. It was a letter from Elizabeth Gilbert, that she had just sent him. In the letter she said she has been praying for him every day as she heard he was not feeling well ( his health is not so good at 96 years old, which he also talked about) and she also said how much she loves him, and thanked him for teaching her so much about love. He asked me what she meant by I love you, and what it means to be prayed for. He took this to mean that she is in love with him, which made him smile from ear to ear with a near toothless grin. He then began my reading by looking and commenting on my ears, cheeks, lips, eye brows, and forehead lines. Then he took my hand, a began tracing the lines in my palm. His reading of me was spot on, and he kept telling me I am very very lucky. I will live a long life, past 100, and will have much success in my life. He said a few more personal things that made me cry, and then he hugged me, and told me not to worry, not to cry, and repeated that I am very lucky, very smart, and beautiful, and I will have a long long happy life and will be beautiful until the very end. He told me I have three children. How he knows these things is beyond me. He also checked my blood by running his finger down my arm, he checked my knees and legs, and last my back, just by the neck, between the shoulders. He said he was looking for a flower. Sometimes he sees them, sometimes not. He got very excited and said he saw a lotus flower, which is very very lucky. Jessica's reading was also very accurate. Athough he repeated himself many times, perhaps do to age. For the cost of $26, it was worth every penny to sit knee to knee with this amazing man, and it was an experience I will never forget.
After our visit with Ketut, we continued our girls day out and headed into Ubud to shop and enjoy a meal. While the food is much cheaper here.....the shopping is not. There are very few bargains to be had, and the town of Ubud has a Venice beach vibe. Lots of junk for sale, lots of tourists, lots of traffic, but there are a few good finds. There are tons of wood carvings all over the place, and stone statues. Which again, are really no bargain. The jewelry is also expensive. I had expectations of finding really inexpensive things here, but this is not the case at all.
While Jessica was here, we took her to the monkey forest, had a reflexology treatment ( massage and feet stuff is cheap cheap cheap), we visited temples, took a 12 hour car ride and explored much of the island in a day. Patrick rented a car for a month, and after this road trip, I was happy to be alive. The roads here are horrible. The traffic makes the 405 freeway seem like a dream come true, and I will never ever complain about driving any where in the USA again! Most people travel by motor bike, and they come at you in all directions. We saw a family of 5 on one bike, and we often see mothers holding very small children, and very few people wear helmets. The steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car, and so you drive on the opposite side of the road. The roads are narrow and each time we pass another car, or motor bike, it feels like a crash collision will occur. Surprisingly we have yet to see an accident. I can only conclude that It must be due to all the praying and worship that goes on around here. In the midst of all this madness, there is a profound sense of spirit, that I feel all of the time. This is a blessed place.
On our road trip, we were pulled over by a police officer. We stopped when we should have kept on going in a mad turn lane. He said, in very bad english, "You wrong, you wrong, you very wrong, do you understand? If I give you ticket, it will be very very bad for you. You have to go to justice, and it will be very very bad for you." He told us to pay him 20,000 rupees. ( $3 ) Patrick tried to hand him the rupees, and the scary police man, with long pointy finger nails said, " No No, too many people watching......so I slipped the rupees under the road map, and he took the money, pretending to give us directions. So traffic violations are cheap here, and the police are corrupt. With the average salary being $150 per month, Bali breeds corruption, petty theft, and much poverty. It also seems everyone is looking for a way to cash in on, or rip off, tourists who arrive here. If I hear, I will give you good luck price, one more time..........just give me the real price please.
So behind all the beauty, another reality has surfaced these past few weeks. It has been disappointing to say the least, as my dream of Bali did not involve a dark side. With that said, I feel that one can find what ever they are seeking here. There is so much good that comes out of seeing what we are seeing. And so much appreciation emerges after traveling to far more flawed places then where we live. There simply is no place like home, and I feel blessed to be born in the USA.
Bali is a beautiful island, and I feel very safe here, as long as I am not in a car! Today I walked into Ubud alone. Patrick and Jack went surfing, and I was not ready for another Mr. Toads Wild ride to the beach. We are about 1.5 or 2 hours by car to the beach from our place in Sayan. Ubud is a nice 15 minute walk from where we are staying. In our village, everyone I pass by, especially the children, say hello and smile huge smiles. I found a sweet little cafe that has Internet, since our house does not, and I have been loving the coconut juice, and fresh fruit plate, as I catch up on my e-mails. The cost.....$2.50. No tipping here either, which keeps the cost of going out to eat very low. Although, we have been eating most meals at home since Nyoman is such an amazing cook. She is in one of the photos posted with a tray of offerings that she placed around our home. We give her money for food, and she cooks up the best meals I have ever had in my life. This home is a real bargain. We are paying just $25 per night, and this includes the service of Nyoman and Wayan. They make our beds, shop for food, cook it, clean everything up, and they have been a huge help guiding us in the right direction for so many things.
There is much more to uncover and discover, and I am glad we have the time to do so.
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