So, the next couple of posts about my experiences in Bali were hard to break up into themes as there are many. I decided in the end to theme them around colour – green and blue. Nothing to do with colour symbolism like Picasso’s blue period – but rather more simply, the dominating colour of scenery in each space we stayed.
Fast forward to Ubud (but have to sneak in a mention of the amazing flight and Singapore Slings onboard, getting to know my sunshine ladies – and the most memorable layover in Singapore, where I got to experience that amazing place like a dream, before sunrise… through an airport window… Pitch black. But with an airline like that, I’ll sure be flying there any chance I get!)
So the green part of the journey made me instantly feel at home. Ubud has a good combination of breathtaking nature and beauty (the brightest green rice-paddies, and the cute-yet-terrifying-when-wearing-open-shoes-if-you-think-one-might-have-rabies-and-bite-you Monkey Forest.) There’s some great shopping to be done if like me, you love Yoga clothing, jewellery – and very cheap reflexology when your feet get tired. It’s also wonderful drawing cash at an ATM. It’s the first time I’ve been a millionaire since the days of the Italian Lira.
Now, initially, this trip grabbed me as I liked the idea of all the active components. I did not realise there would be components to work on one’s mind and soul too. I was most excited about a Power Vinyasa Session at the Yoga Barn, and a day cycling through a mountainside village.
It wasn’t long until I realised my travel companions were going to turn into some awesome friends, and it was just as quickly as I realised that there was more to this holiday then being active, and going shopping. On a visit to the Yoga Barn, a few of us immediately decided to block off one night for a Tibetan Bowl meditation session.
In and amongst all of this, we were exposed to some culinary delights and great beverages. I had my first cat-poo-chino. Well, not quite, but Kopi Luwak coffee does go through an interesting process from tree to cup… I must say it was quite pleasant, definitely not shit coffee. When it came to eating, I thoroughly enjoyed our biggest ‘om’ challenge (we normally had daily ones, from ‘no-phone day’ to eating a meal in silence, to wearing flowers in our hair), this challenge was to follow a vegetarian or pescaterian way of eating for our ENTIRE holiday – basically avoiding all animal protein, except fish. What I enjoyed most about it was the variety of tasty, imaginative food available in Bali to accommodate this challenge. So much so, that I need to go back for longer, just to work my way through more of the Yoga Barn Cafe’s menu! Such a change from the standard in the Western World, where you have a choice between a plate of sad, watery, lukewarm roasted veg, or a salad that consists of a kilogram of lettuce, and about 3 olives – or the kind of place that’s like ‘Vegetarian? No problem, we have chicken today.’
Eating time became one of my favourite times, not only because I love food, but because this is when the Power Thought Cards came out. Everyone got to draw a card and share it’s significance with all of us, and a little bit of a journey began. It was a great way to learn very quickly, and care very deeply about a group of amazing strong, fragile, powerful, talented, brave, beautiful women. The greatest was to also see we all had something in our lives we did not quite enjoy, but someone else in the group was striving for, or wanting similar. It also taught us that something we did not necessarily appreciate or embrace about ourselves, or our appearance, someone else was really admiring.
My greatest ‘warm and fuzzy’ moment from the ‘green part’ of the trip was definitely when I looked up after reading a particularly powerful, positive and pertinent card, and looking back at me were 7 jubilant faces, all celebrating the success of that moment, and the future moments with me.
That moment, just as amazing and bucket-list-like as whizzing down the steep streets of a village built on the slopes of a volcano, on a bicycle, past luscious rice-paddies, waving at kids greeting us, being invited into a private family compound, trying our hand at harvesting rice, riding through a river with our feet in the air like kids, learning how to cook some traditional dishes, drinking hibiscus tea and laughing with a local, seeing the oldest Banyan tree in the region, eating black rice – that moment everyone needs to witness just once in their lives. Anyone who thinks a bunch of women are competitive, jealous biatches needed to see that moment. It showed me that the automatic reaction in all people is to immediately celebrate that that is good.
Definitely a point to ponder, so I’ll leave you there for a bit till we catch up in part 3.