Bali World Of Green

Rice Field Outside Ubud

The days are flowing here and there is less “thinking” or planning necessary for an amazing experience to flow forth.  This morning, I was going to take my friend Lisa to see Eddy but she is suffering from Dengue and needed to head back to bed to rest.  My friend from Peru, Vanessa, was to head to Eddy’s with a driver early but since that never happened, she was leaving about the same time as I was so rode with me.

The motor bike opens a completely different world that the world of walking or of driving in a car.  Driving slowly, noticing shops, glass works, tables, furniture, statues, fabrics, textiles, rice fields, forest and such has made me feel a part of Bali rather than simply a visitor.

My session with Eddy was really great!  He told me last time that I was doing great but only needed a little balance.  Today, he provided that for me with his energy work.  For an hour or so after, I had that feeling of waking  in the morning, feeling really peaceful, not quite awake and not quite asleep.  Lovely!  And I learned from him how to maintain that myself in the future.

We went to the market in Sukawati but it was already closing.  Vanessa found two things she has really wanted to take home.

On the way back, we stumbled upon a small warung outside town that had been recommended.  I’ll post photo’s later.  It’s a self-serve place with prices posted.  You keep track of how much you get and then leave your money on the table.  Lunch cost 16,000 IDR or a little over $1.00.   We ate outside under a covering of passion fruit vines.

Last night, I was early to meet a friend for dinner so drove up the mountain to explore.  And suddenly, I was in the midst of old traditional rice fields.  Those are disappearing as I’ve heard the price of land in Bali has gone up 1,000% in the past five years.  Lots of resorts moving in seemingly everywhere.

So, after a quick cooling dip in the pool, I headed up the mountain again.  Earlier this time, with my big camera, I had the best time exploring and simply wandering about.  Ahhhhh!  How wonderful!  It was the third day with little or no rain.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to do the same to get some early photo’s of sunrise over the rice fields.  A lot of photo’s here  and I chose to share them to help warm the spirit of any friends suffering in a cold climate at the moment!


Two day connections

The thought occurred to me this morning that I’ve already met so many people in two full days here.  Part of what I love about travel is new connections and real connections with travelers.

I’ve already met people from Finland, Columbia, Norway, Italy, Holland, Australia, Seattle, New York, and India.  I’ve heard conversations in Japanese, probably Korean, German, British English and more.

When I went to see Putra the other night, I met two men from Italy, one living in Seattle.  The one from Seattle works with Rick Steves who has travel programs on PBS and writes the travel books.  Yesterday I met Sari, a young woman from Bali who contracted Dengue Fever in 2007, spent a month in the hospital and nearly died.  She feels “reborn” and runs a school for handicapped children, is starting a women’s leadership group and has applied for a leadership training program in Canada.  I hope to go visit her school.

Putra Photo 001

Much of the richness of travel for me is these “real” connections.  From Ryan inviting me behind the bar, working with his staff, making my own coffee, to Tina from Holland sharing her intent in life, to Sari sharing her life and other travelers sharing the inner journey taking place for them while they outwardly travel.

I believe this same richness is possible in the US, when people stop being so busy.  Going and going and going and doing and doing and doing!  It seems a bit insane really!  My Dutch friend Helen summed it up for me years ago this way, from her perspective.  “People are so busy doing and doing and doing, when they slow down all they have is a bunch of “do do”. ”

Now, off to this days adventures.  Ciao

Settling in to Ubud

I’m feeling settled in here.  In the past two days, I’ve seen old friends, visited old favorite restaurants, had good coffee, relaxed, been massaged, had some more coffee and seen a healer.  Yes, I’m feeling like I’m settled into the blessing and openness of Bali.  Yay!

Today, I woke early to the sounds of the birds outside my window.  To some, they may be annoying.  This morning, they woke me at 5:30.  I got up and slid the doors open to hear them more clearly.  I don’t know the name for the small singing birds but I believe the bird with the loud annoying sound in the background is called a “rooster”, among other names.

From there, the day unfolded like this.  Meet a new friend Tina from Holland at breakfast.  She left for tour and Stan (from Perth) joined me.  Then my friend Lissa came.  Yes, it was a three hour breakfast.

During that time, after being put in the “wrong” room when I arrived, the staff moved me while I was eating and chatting.  And, I had requested a motor bike and that arrived.  Yes, already, I’m traveling around the village on my motor bike.  There is a lot more traffic and many more cars than before so I’m especially careful!

I went to the Bintang Market for a few things including a large bottle of water and discovered one of my favorite restaurants from before moved up there.  Perfect for lunch.

Yesterday, I stopped at Anomali Coffee and talked to them about the coffee they use.  Ryan invited me to come by around 2:00.  They had me come back behind the bar, showed me their system and invited me to make my own drink!  Lovely coffee!

It rained, I rested and then went to Utama Supa Dupa Spice to pick up some lotion and natural mosquito repellent.  That’s where the rice field photo’s below come from.

Then it was dinner time.  I walked down Hanoman Street and saw a friend who still runs the shop where I bought my Buddha statue many years ago.  He was excited to see me.  Across the street I ran into people I knew before at Kaffe and then stopped to see Dewa and family.  I stayed with them the last couple times I was here.  Great seeing them.

Finally, I stopped at my old favorite haunt for dinner.  The small and intimate family restaurant has had an upscale face lift.  The staff recognized me and the food is still good.

On my way back, I stopped at Warung Sopa, a vegetarian restaurant with great food and a lovely owner.  Sipping my fresh made ginger ale, I met Sofi.  She operated a school for handicapped children and is starting a women leadership program here.

And back here, Nyoman has a line of people awaiting sessions with him.  He left for school to teach at 7:30 this morning and often does healing work until midnight.  It’s a wonderful lesson watching him work, allow the energy to flow through him and he doesn’t tire.

Now, wrapping up my day so I can get an early start to go visit my healer friend Eddy in Sukawati near the market.

Three days and it feels like I’ve been here for a week at least!



Bali Arrival

Hello!  This is just a quick post to let everyone know I’ve made it.  After 35 hours of travel, I arrived at Sandat Bali yesterday afternoon.  Lots of smiles and reconnection there!  Had dinner with a friend and headed to bed early.  Got 11 hours of sleep last night.  Feel very good today.

Woke with the birds singing outside my third floor room!  Took a few sunrise photo’s and went back to bed.

I walked to see Ketut about a massage.  She’s normally pretty scheduled.  Her table was open and I got a 90 minute post travel massage.  Very excellent!  Lunch at one of my favorite local “warung’s”  (local food stall), a good cappuccino, and a nice walk.

When I got back, Nyoman was working on a couple clients.  One was screaming in pain which is the prelude to feeling really good.  Suddenly, the energy shifted and her pain diminished.  She got up feeling very different and much better.  Then, Nyoman told me it was my turn.

Bracing myself in preparation for the pain, Nyoman told me it was no problem, “no pain”.  Looking at my energy, he could tell I was in a really good place.  He was right.  The pain was minimal and the session very refreshing on many levels.  Not only did it balance my energy more but reminded me that I’ve been doing a really good job of taking care of myself.

After one day, it feels like I’ve been here a week or so already.  And, no sigh of jet lag!

A mixture of today’s photo’s follows.  The green of Sandat Bali, my cappuccino, Nyoman working and others.  Plus, the first dose of “market colors”.  There are brilliant colors EVERYWHERE!  I took a few photo’s of random shops including the “Eat Pray Shop”.



Final day in Bali

It’s my last day here. I’ve been up since before the sunrise listening and writing. Now, I’m headed to the pool. Later, I may go for a massage or healing session with Nyoman and have dinner with friends. I know, so many plans for my final day. First, the pool for some reading and relaxing. I’m feeling very complete today.

Last night, I organized my pack and stuffed everything I don’t need. Since I had practice before, I’ve loading everything I might need at the hostel in Singapore at the top. Gradually, things are going into the pack that won’t come out until I’m home.

Time is winding down or winding up depending on what perspective I see though. Being present pervades both views.

Yesterday, I went out for a day long adventure through the Bali countryside. For years, I’ve intended to do the bike trip with Bike Bali Baik. They are the original company that started the route, are locally owned, hire only local guides and all the money stays with that family and their employees. Other companies have sprouted up, some foreign owned, so I prefer to spend locally here.

I was picked up in the nicest van I’ve ridden in maybe ever while on an adventure. Two families from Melbourne joined me and we set off for Lake Batu to the North and breakfast overlooking a marvelous view of the sacred lake. The lake is special and only used for ceremony so no jet ski’s, etc.

Breakfast was delicious, the coffee noticeably different than most of the Bali coffee I’ve had. They are in Kintamani which is coffee country here so it figures they’d have good coffee.

We visited a coffee plantation and you’ll see the chart of the different types of coffee and tea we sampled. The coconut coffee was especially delicious and surprising.

Once we mounted up on bikes, we traveled about 25 kilometers though Balinese villages, through rice terraces, past temples, amongst villagers going about their daily life and really had an amazing day. I’m posting photo’s below and there is something in those photo’s you probably haven’t seen in my previous photo’s. Brace yourself for the surprise and I’ll explain it for you so you understand clearly. That bright blue space you see is a CLEAR sky on a SUNNY day!!! Amazing, the nicest day since I arrived. It didn’t rain at all until we were returning to Ubud.

Tonight, I’m going back to Nyoman’s and meeting friends who I got acquainted with while staying there. We are going out for some type of dinner. Lisa’s birthday is April 2nd, it’s my final night, we are going to share some time together. I stopped to have desert (chocolate cake drizzled with white mango ginger sauce) with Teet and Yuen who where at Nyoman’s and a friend of theirs.

Desert was great, made by Dayu who showed me how to make peanut sauce the other day. Amazing that even here, while having dinner together, foreigners spend a lot of time checking emails, surfing and talking on the phone while supposedly spending time together? What a phenomenon this is?!

I’m off now for the pool.

Enjoy the photo’s and arm chair travel through the countryside.

Birthday and Ubud update

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a lovely day. Actually, as my friends from England would say, it was “Brilliant”. After a lazy start to the day, I went out for coffee, shopping for some herbs to bring back, bought a necklace for myself and went back to drop things off at Nyoman’s. Teet was there and I told him I was thinking of getting a massage. He recommended a place just up the road that had been recommended by Raylene who is a massage therapist from Australia. She’s the woman in the picture with me and the head of the Ogoh-ogoh. He also suggested I go by and set up an appointment as there are only two people working there and they get busy.

I went by to schedule, walked in as they were finishing a man and the table was open and I got right on. Lovely massage! I traded books at a used book store so have a new read and went back to Nyoman’s where I was promptly told to go “take a shower”. Secluded in my room, I knew everyone was up to something. When they called my name, I walked out to see a flaming cake headed my direction. The family, guests staying there and a few friends all sang me Happy Birthday! Here are some photo’s. What a lovely evening it was!

Today, I moved over to Dewa’s Bungalows for my final few days in Ubud. Everyone at Nyoman’s was going to Sebatu to the healing waters this morning at 7:00 am. When I got up before 7:00, Nyoman, his son Wayan and Teet were talking. Nyoman got up, looked at the Balinese calendar, and realized it was NOT a good day to go so we canceled plans. When breakfast was finished, everyone went about their day, I finished packing and headed off.

Wayan told me to take their motor bike rather than carry my big pack, now heavy with shopping items. I dropped it off, got my room, and had Bayu call Eddy to see if he could fit me in? He confirmed an 11:00 appointment. That was very short notice and I felt happy to be able to see him.

I went back to drop off the motor bike and pick up my little pack. Wayan told me to keep the bike today even when I told her I was going to Sukawati. I dropped what I didn’t need and headed to Sukawati ahead of my appointment with Eddy and finished some shopping. I’ve got everything I want except vanilla and powdered red ginger.

After Eddy’s amazing work, I had vegetarian lunch next door and got on my motor bike heading back. However, I felt a strong pull to go see the healer Tjokorda Gde Rai on my way back. Eddy was very slow and quiet today because of the ceremonies taking place today. That’s how I got in on such short notice.

I headed up the road and was feeling adventurous so drove a different way feeling like it would take me there as well. I stopped where a small shelter by the road said “police” and two men were sitting inside. I asked if they knew where Tjokorda Gde Rai was? After consulting each other and another man sitting near by, one officer got on his bike and told me to follow. Now, I was off with police escort.

He stopped at a shop with similar name and the two men there, after me re-pronouncing the name several times, realized who I wanted to see. They pointed up the road I was on, did the windy thing with their hands and I realized I knew exactly how to get there. I was off.

Once more time, listening and following brought me to the right place at the right time. The day before, I was first in line for the next massage. This morning, I was able to get in to see Eddy on short notice and not even one person was waiting for him so we had lots of time to visit. Then, I walked in to see Tjokorda Gde Rai and he was sitting chatting with two people he had worked with. It’s very unusual to see Tjokorda Gde Rai without a line waiting. By the time he finished with me, four or five people had arrived for sessions.

He told me there wasn’t much he could do for me as I was very good! The issues from before were gone and he consulted the Balinese Calendar letting me know my birthday yesterday was a very good birthday!

On the way back, I stopped at Kopi Bali for a good coffee. I remembered one of the staff had a daughter with a birthday near mine and asked her about it. She remembered mine was close so I told them it was yesterday. The coffee was great and as I spoke with Dode there, he asked me for some tips on making latte art. He also brought out a journal so I could write the names for a couple of video’s I thought would help him and then he asked me for the proper spelling of my name since sounding and spelling can be really different. I got behind the bar nervous as I’ve not made coffee in nearly two months but was able to pour some art for him and the staff to see.

As I sat back down sipping my coffee, my table was surrounded by staff when one member came through the door with a brownie and flaming candle on a “birthday” plate. What fun!

Now, I’m tired and relaxing at Dewa’s ready for an early night.

Candidasa, Tirta Ganga and Tenganan, Bali

Once I left the Gili Islands, I had smooth sailing all the way to Padangbai, Bali. The captain on the boat said the water the day before was still very choppy and he had to steer around surges. This day, the water was calm and smooth. I went up to a bench behind the captain at his invitation and saw five or six dolphin jumping along side us on the way back.

I’d booked transport to Candidasa with my ticket and after a brief wait, I was the only one going to they loaded me up and headed off. The place I picked in Candidasa was very random. It was the only name I could remember so I gave it to my driver and he knew where it was. It was nice but a bit noisy at times with voices from the back bungalow carrying through the bamboo roof. The noise wasn’t a bother and since I got there in time to get their last bungalow, I was pleased!

My full day there, I rented a motor bike to see the old traditional village of Tenganan where they do a form of weaving practiced only three places in the world. I hadn’t realized how pricey they were compared to other weavings. Soon, I realized the process of making one weaving can take two years or more from the preparation of the cotton through the dye process through aging the colors and finally the weaving. Amazing!

I headed on to Tirta Ganga from there stopping, of course, at the German bakery I’d discovered along the way. Tirta Ganga is described as a temple of healing water but the center piece of the property is a hotel. And, the holy water there was empty so I gathered it’s not as popular with local’s who do water ceremony before every major celebration so I was a bit disappointed in that aspect of it. The disappointment was only brief though as I feel fortunate to have visited other special places where water blessings take place. Guess what, it RAINED on the way back!

People in Candidasa told me it was only an hour to Ahmed but it’s closer to two hours so I skipped that for this trip. It was a lovely day and I headed back to Candidasa, visited with friends from Vancouver and went out for dinner. I stopped at a restaurant that had Dadar Gulung, the crepe filled with coconut palm sugar mixture and oh so delicious. This was a tourist restaurant and one of the few places I’ve found that had Dadar Gulung. Desert along cost me much more than my dinner at the local Warung I’d found. It was good but not my favorite. I’ll be buying more palm sugar here to take home with me so I can make my own!

Surfacing in Ubud

It’s been a while since I updated here. The last I wrote, I was stranded on Gili Air. The boats were to start running on Sunday when I was there. I arrived early for the 10:30 boat only to find it had already left. Surrendering quickly to the reality that there was no boat, I headed back to Scallywags for one more night of relaxing. The next morning, I arrived even earlier getting there before 10:00 since the boat left around 10:00 the day before. This day, the boat left closer to 10:25. Such is the meaning of schedule in Indonesia, it’s at best a rough estimate. The best policy is to ask multiple people the same question, and arrive extra early.

I spent two days in Candidasa, Bali once I returned here. For years, I’ve wanted to visit that area and was finally able to fit that in. Since so much time was spent on the island, I wondered if I would do justice to the Candidasa area with only two nights and it was fine.

It rained a lot while I was there and continued raining once I returned to Ubud. I’d sent an email letting them know I was arriving early. They didn’t receive it and they were full. “No problem” Wayan said. Ten minutes later, I was settled into a new bungalow at the neighbors. Wayan told me to leave my bags and take only what I needed. The experience of being here, of staying here, is marvelous. What a loving family! Wayan cooked dinner the other night and insisted I join the other guests for dinner. The food was very good!

People I had met before were still staying here so it was a reunion of sorts. The next morning, I moved to one of the deluxe new rooms that weren’t here last year. That was the day before NYEPI and I thought I’d have Nyoman work on me. When I mentioned it to him, he said “you have no problemmmmm” and said it would be OK if I wanted. The day filled with other activity and I didn’t have a session with him.

My ear has been bothering me. He saw me rubbing it and grabbed a spot on my thumb leaving me ducking in pain. It’s a point for the jaw and ear. I’ve been working it for the two days since he showed me.

Yesterday, I hooked up with Alyz, a friend I met on Gili Air and a friend she is traveling with, Melinda. We met for coffee, and I would up bringing them back here to introduce them to Nyoman. Both had sessions which were very good. I asked Nyoman once again if he had time to work on me. Once again, he smiled and said “you have no problemmmmm Larry”. Alyz, Melinda and I went to an organic local Warung for lunch, where I’d been before and met Dayu. She’s such a lovely lady, made wonderful lunch for us and told me to come back for lunch and she’ll show me how to make peanut sauce for my lunch! I spent the rest of the day with my friends and got back to Nyomans around 7:00. I went out for coconut ice cream and came back tired expecting to turn in early.

The family and guest gather together here throughout the day and evening. Everyone sat about chatting and laughing last night. There’s always a lot of laughter! I thought several times I’d go to my room for an early night. At one point, Nyoman saw me rubbing my thumb, pointed at my ear and asked if it was still bothering me? Moments later, I was on the table and he was working on me. The pain in my ear went away, the tenderness in the thumb point is gone, and before I knew it, I was heading to my room at 11:00. So much for an early evening or needing one.

Here are a few photo’s of Nyoman’s and my rooms here.

Still stranded but, not because of the storm

It’s been a couple days since I wrote an update. I’ve been told to check with the “agent” near the jetty for the Sea Marlin fast boat schedule and information on when they will resume travel. I have, did again, did again, did again…it wasn’t a pretty picture as they knew nothing.

Via Skype, I called the office in Bali three days ago. The man sounded weary, frazzled and completely overwhelmed telling me “we don’t know”. Yesterday, I had a very “non-Indonesian” experience when I asked the man at the desk of Scallywags Mango Villa to call for me. He called and got a recording. He turned over the ticket cover, found another number and dialed it. A voice answered telling him another number. He did, chatting away in Indonesian, before he gave me a summary of the conversation. The department responsible for “sea” travel hadn’t lifted the ban on boat travel. They might today. He told them where he was calling from and they said they would call to update us on boat status.

What was unusual was initiative. Having someone here be proactive and aggressive in helping is extremely unusual among Indonesian’s. Most are content to tell you they don’t know and ask tomorrow. One other man called for me the day before and gave up when he heard the recording. I was impressed with the level of help!!!

This morning, hopeful, I had an early breakfast and headed to the jetty. Several days ago, the agent told me the boat leaves at 11:00 am. Yesterday, they told me to be there at 10:30 am. I arrived about 10:15 with time to spare.

I had only one small problem though: the boat had ALREADY left!!! I was early, it was gone, and there was nothing to do about it. That’s the more usual experience in Indonesia, misinformation, confusion, and such. Tomorrow, I’ll go back extra early to make sure. I thought about leaving earlier this morning but was having a visit with my friend Dina and thinking I had plenty of time saw no need to go so early.

Fortunately, this is still a very nice spot to be stranded! I came back to lounge in the beach chairs reading. Then went for lunch at the local Warung. Then a dip in the pool and visiting with two ladies who are also guests there. Now, I’m sipping an iced latte at Scallywags sitting in a huge oversized cushion chair, listening to the ocean and writing. Not a bad place to be! Perhaps tomorrow the ocean will be even more smooth and calm?

If all goes well, I should be in Candidasa Bali by mid afternoon, find a room, have a day or two to explore and then travel to Ubud. If I need to, I’ll travel on March 22nd, the day before Nyepi. Traffic will be really heavy as everyone is heading back to their home village for the Balinese New Year celebration.

Below are some photo’s of where I’m being forced to chill and wait. Rough job!

Gili Air: I made it and am now stuck!

The wind was horrendous last night, really loud all night long. The only thing louder were the people from Russia partying below me! That was loud. When I did get up and look out shortly after 6:00, I was surprised to hear the wind but see calm trees. It wasn’t the wind but the ocean.

A storm came in yesterday and the ocean was really rough! When it came time to go get a ticket to travel to Gili Air, the ticket office told me the water was too rough and we’d have to leave from the back of the island. A trek of 25 minutes with pack got us to the backside and calmer water.

Shortly after arriving in Gili Air, I discovered that I’m now stranded here. The ocean is really rough, the government cancelled all boats to Bali until further notice so it sounds like I’ll be here until March 18 or 19th or later. Dang, I’m going to have to stay on an island with few people, no more arriving because of the seas, enjoy myself and get acquainted with the locals. I’ll make the most of it!

There is more internet available here but it’s questionable. Earlier today, it was knocked out by the storm. I’m safe, in a good place, have comfortable room with outdoor shower and bath and a hammock on the porch. There is a good book store here as well so I guess I’ll just have to settle in and make the most of it.

Here are a few photo’s of Gili Air:

Today, I ran into old friends and met some new ones. This island is smaller than Gili Meno but has more restaurants, shops, internet spots and business in general. I like the balance and available options while the island is still very quiet. I saw a man selling DVD’s earlier so I may buy a couple movies to entertain myself during the rainy evenings.

And for a short experience of sitting by the ocean, a video: