At our bungalow the big sister found a machete inside the bench on the patio. I love that it's an accessory thought of as a necessity that comes with every room- just like a Bible in the US. Just in case we want to go coconut hunting I guess...
We left our little place in Ubud to head to the seaside for a bit in Candidasar. While there we found quite possibly my favorite hotel to date anywhere, The Water Garden. All the rooms are spread out along well...water gardens!
This is the closest thing to my real life fantasy house that I've been to. There is somethings so unbelievably tranquil and relaxing about lily pads up against the dark wood for me. In the version of my fantasy house I have a yoga platform in the middle of the pond that I could jump to. There would be another platform across it where my private yoga instructor would lead from- you know the one that would show up at my house at sunrise with a glass or freshly made juice and say in her soothing voice, "It's yoga time" Ah, dare to dream...
Oh ya, I live in a semi-arid climate zone- I wonder how much water would evaporate each day?
Another major perk was the saltwater pool. Leaving the chicks pooped!
One of the most relaxing experiences of my life is walking through the rice fields of Bali. Even Sting sings about it. They say looking at green is good for the blood- something to do with the complementary color- who knows. There are little paths between the fields and sometimes just the edge of the field itself, which is about a foot wide. Once you get into it a bit you see no more tourists- just the occasional farmer- and today one of those farmers was a woman who offered to chop us down a coconut from a nearby tree. She created a spout from which to drink with the outer peel of the coconut itself. And boy did she have a way with her machete. I felt like I could walk forever- the girls were in good form too even though it was quite hot- near 100 with high humidity. I really do think I could live like this forever.
Oh, these birds were so beautiful! Some of them talked and most of the birds were out of cages. We could pet them and hold them and they walked around the park at leisure. It was a real treat. Again, this alone is worth traveling to the '3rd world.' Last time we saw a bird like this was at the animal park and the worker held in while wearing large leather cloves and the bird was chained to a large cage nearby by the foot. These birds were put in cages at the end of the day.
The funniest thing happened on our way out- one of the peacocks also left! Three workers were chasing it around the parking lot trying to get it back inside. Good humor!
Although Bali is a Hindu island, Indonesia has the highest population of Muslims in the world and there are still quite a few in Bali. Our little bungalow comes with housekeeping and she wraps the girls' babies' heads in our play silks to look like little Muslim babies whenever she comes. They are truly adorable!
Monkeys, monkeys, everywhere! I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record but it is so refreshing to be somewhere not obsessed with law suits! Today we went to the monkey forest where monkeys roam loose. Some can be aggressive, they sometimes jump on people and you really have to pay attention. It would do so many kids and especially modern parents so much good to spend time in a place like this where real danger, adventure and fun exist simultaneously. For all those parents that choose only safe and fun places really do their children a disservice. Children that get out in nature and hike along a ridge, handle animals and other natural elements like fire are so much better equipped for life than those who only play in residential parks with foam cushioning beneath their feet.
It was an adventurous day full of laughs and cries and even theft. One hairy little guy swiped a bottle of water from my bag and the little sister really howled! She was sobbing, "I'm thirsty right now and want my water!" It was pretty hilarious.
I'm always struck by the similarity between them and us...
The people here have hands down the best teeth I've seen anywhere. Keep in mind dental care is rare - these teeth are naturally straight, big and beautiful. I'm reminded of the work of Weston Price, the dentist who traveled for 10 years studying the best teeth in the world and their correlated diets. The Indonesians are one of the people he studied- they have wide arches, virtually no cavities, straight pearly whites. Their diet is very high in coconut, veggies, rice, fruits, fish and some meat. They eat little wheat, little dairy, and little refined foods, including sugar. The evenness of the bottom of their teeth is due to filing- an adolescent rite of passage.
I love societies that give living offerings to their gods. I find myself wondering why we only give money to ours? Why do we consider it wasteful to give living foods back to the maker of the food? We have no issues at all with filling landfills with packaging for our food- that does not seem wasteful to most, so why not give a little food to God? hmmm...
I love the restaurants here! I know it's the tropics and it's warm so they can have all these lovely outdoor places, but Bali does it in a way that most other places do not. Why not build a platform around a huge living tree and throw pillows and a table on there? Again, it's living in a non-litigious society that allows for this. What if someone fell off?- and then the whole lack of dexterity that our society exhibits is a major issue that Asia cannot get over. When I was in my early 20's living in Japan there were some guys my own age who could not sit in 'seiza' or on their knees or 'indian style.' It was so funny to watch older Japanese women who would stare in bewilderment as some westerner would be trying to reel in their own legs unsuccessfully and end up with one outstretched and one bent, back in a semi-circle. It is strange how inflexible we've become as a society.
note: the black and white check in Bali is like the ying and yang symbol of China. It symbolizes good and evil. As one of the young dancers said to me, "good and bad- always together."