Thursday, July 28, 2011


Well, we survived the road trip, and found very clean beds to lay our heads. I do not know what I was so worried about....after all Ketut told me I will live to be 100, maybe longer. Sitting in the back seat with a pillow to cover my eyes was the ticket. I only screamed out loud twice. Having navigated through rumored drug cartel waters during the middle of the night in Mexico, and also enduring 30 knot plus head winds, which made it seem like our hulls would split apart at any moment, was a piece of cake vs driving in a car here.

Our destination turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Having no expectations is certainly helpful while adventure traveling. Tulamben is a small beach village on the East side of Bali. It is known for its diving and snorkeling right off its black sand beaches. It is quiet and peaceful on this side of the island, and the smell, sound, and sight of the ocean warmed my soul. It took us a little over 4 hours to get here. We got lost only twice.....which is amazing, since the roads twist and turn and you just have to guess which way to go since there are no signs. Or at least none that really make any sense to an american. We found a Dive/spa resort and checked in for two nights. Patrick and Jack logged another 5 dives, including their very first night dive. The night dive was Jacks favorite. He saw his very first white tip reef shark, which followed them for awhile, in addition to several spotted manta rays, and black and white moray eels. The big guys come out at night it seems. Talk about a brave kid......there is no visibility at night, other then the flash light you get to light up a path. While my boys spent their time diving, I sat by the swimming pool reading and spent time snorkeling the beautiful reef which was just a few steps away from our ocean front resort. This was the best snorkeling I have ever ever done, and beats Mexico by miles and miles. So does the diving according to Patrick and Jack. The visibility was awesome, and there were so many different kids of tropical fish and brightly colored coral and brilliant star fish. Our under water camera is still on Santosha, so photos.

I am still debating if I should get certified to dive.....I did love the experience in Mexico, so one day perhaps. For now, I am completely content having time to myself, and floating above the surface watching the life below me swim around. I also took advantage of my alone time and checked into theonsite spa for a full body lulur salt scrub down, seaweed body wrap, and an hour long indonesian massage, followed by a hugh bath filled with lavender and fresh flowers floating at the top. Bliss is a word that comes to mind. ( total cost for this 2.5 hour spa pampering.......$40 ) And to think my Damn fear dragon almost stopped me from getting in a car to drive here. Living a fearless life started this whole year adventure, and I vow right here and now to put that Damn fear dragon right back where he a closet, shoved under a bed, tied to a dock, what more fear I say. When we plow through fear, It really is a powerful thing, and makes one realize, it is all just silly Maya. (Illusion) Although I did still sit in the back seat with my pillow on the ready for impact on the drive back......just in case.

On our drive back to Sayan, we stopped at the temple, Pura Goa Lawah. This, so far, was our favorite temple. It is home to over 10,000 bats. Thats right....bats. There was a ceremony taking place, and we were invited in. This temple is very important for post-cremation rites. On the beach, across the street, the soul is called in from the sea and a container is symbolically filled with seawater and brought to the cave. Everyone made us feel very welcomed, and did not mind being photographed at all.

The photos posted show many of the beautiful sights on our drive East to Tulamben. It was definitely worth the risk.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's 5 am

And the distant drums have woke me once again. The Balinese wake before sunrise, every day, and begin a ceremony and offering to start the day. It is simply beautiful to witness their daily devotion. The roosters follow in their lead and start their morning wake up call as well. As the sun rises, I take a deep breath....while I can. Shortly after sunrise, the sent of smoke fills the air, on and off, all day long. Each family is responsible for their trash, no pick up service once a week here.....And they burn it, when ever they want to. I wondered where Nyoman emptied our trash cans........ I figured it out as I peeked over a wall to the side of our house the other day. It was shocking to see the pile we, being a family of three, has collected in such a short time. In Mexico, they also burn their trash, so this is very familiar, and in many ways makes a lot of sense. No big land fills, and taking responsibility for ones waste, makes one not waste as much.

This is not the only smell that awakens the senses here.....there are obviously no smog checks going on around here, and let me tell inconvenient as it may be to get them, thank God we do. I have been directly behind many motor bikes, trucks, and cars as I walk along the rode, and give thanks for our smog check policy, on a daily basis.

On a sad note, the care taker of this home, Wayan, lost his brother the other day. Nyoman told me he had water leaking in his body, (???) and just one month ago he was fine. It made me realize this is not the place I want to be if I need medical attention. The Balinese treat things holistically, which I love, but let's face it, I wouldn't be here today with a purely holistic treatment a year ago. It has stirred up a lot of fear, and caused a few sleepless nights...hence the 5 am beg the question.....what if. We are here for 5 more weeks, and driving on very unsafe, crazy roads. Is this experience worth it? Being hospitalized in a third world country if the need should arise ? I would have to say no, with fear being the driving reason. That Damn fear dragon, that I know so well, and thought I left tied to the dock when we sailed away from Ventura nearly a year ago.....yet here he is again, disrupting my life. In this moment, I can not wait to get back home, to my boys, Alex and Blake. I can not wait to be with my students on our mats. I want to be home with my friends and the people I love. Bali is beautiful,

and I do feel so blessed to be here, to have taken a year off to sail, and now two months to merge in Bali and witness all that I am.....but.....I want to be home. I want to be done with this nomadic life, and place my feet on solid, familiar ground.

Trust Trust Trust Trust Trust.......that life will unfold as it should............

Tomorrow we head out to the east side of Bali for a few days so Patrick and Jack can dive. It is a 4 to 5 hour car ride from here. I plan to hide my head in pillow the entire way, to avoid the....OMG....we are going to die.....voice that shouts every 2 seconds when I am in a car here. We are totally winging it, no hotel reservations, just being hopeful we can find a clean bed to lay our bodies in.....if we escape death once again. Living on the edge, and trusting that this is what I need.....To awaken.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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 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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad