Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Heart and Soul of Bali. Ubud.

Now that I'm so far behind on my blog, I'll have to backtrack a bit, but it's okay. I've been keeping a diary! Now I am in Java (as of last night) and just climbed an active volcano, which was...amazing of course, but first things first.

After leaving Ubud, the next stop was another amazing surf spot, but more on that later. I simply cannot skip over the best part of my trip thus far...Ubud, Bali.

Leaving Ubud was bittersweet. It's always nice to continue on in your travels, but when you stumble on a place that "feels right" to you, parting is such sweet sorrow. There were so many routines and nuances about Ubud that I really enjoyed. Getting to know the people and the ins and outs of the place was so exciting.

Balinese people, in general, are like angels. If someone catches your eye, it's almost always followed with an immediate hello.The Balinese really go out of their way to make you feel special. Even the Polisi shook our hands and asked where we were from before insisting that we bribe him for our mistake in driving without an international driver's licence!

The "homestay" or "guesthouse" was quite hospitable as well. The staff was so friendly, they made you feel like family, literally!Their attention to detail in Bali is extraordinarily as well. Exotic flowers accompanied ever breakfast dish and the employees swept the ground 5 times daily in order to remove any debris that may have collected from trees and plants. All this, including breakie for just $4 per night!

Ubud, as I mentioned before really takes pride in their cultural background. One night, we attended a traditional Balinese dance performance known as Kecak Fire Dance. This is one of the several dances said by numerous locals to be the best of the best. Upon arrival, I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up backstage where I was intercepted by one of the performers. Ended up getting the VIP tour complete with music and explanation of the Balinese story behind the performance. Amazing. I was almost in tears! They really made us feel like we were part of the show, it was a really special moment! The whole time I was in Ubud, I felt like I was just that, "part of the performance". It is surely a place that will always have a special spot in my heart.

So, I had been counting down my days of tree plating with a vision of spa treatments and immaculate beaches lingering in the forefront of my mind. Some days, that was the only thing that kept me going! My spa day wasn't quite as I'd imagined it, but I must say, it was pretty good value for the one. Let's just say that I should have stuck to my work and checked out the insides of the place I would choose for my day of luscious pampering...Momma always said, you get what you pay for! And damn, was she right. While parts of my indulgence left a bit to be desired, the majority of it was actually pretty darn good. While the mani and pedi were pretty much non-existent and I could have done without the hair cream bath (which was actually a really painful scalp massage) and flower bath in a dingy tub, the facial, body scrub and massage were actually quite nice. All I had to do was go into meditation and try to block out the sound of the whizzing motorbikes and anxious street vendors. I did realize something about my adult-self however. I'm a lot less modest than I used to be! Boob massages and stripping naked are pretty much second nature to me these days. I used to be so uncomfortable with nudity, and now, it's nothing! I guess spa-treatments and women's locker rooms are the same when you get older. You'll show your whole kit and caboodle to pretty much any other woman with no problem!We've all got the same thing under there, don't we?

More time is running out and I've gotta catch a bus to the largest Buddhist temple in the world in 45 minutes! So much more to tell...