Wednesday, October 7, 2009

some days are diamonds

To those of you at work today, especially those that do not like their position, I take no responsibility for the suffering you may experience in comparing your day to mine.

A cool wet-season morning in Ubud, and I am up and eager for the early bird class at the Yoga Barn. All shapes, nationalities and abilities salute the day in the open-air pavillion, as the Balinese instructor asks us to “find your gazing.”

Nyoman delivers tea and fruit salad to my balcony, and with it I devour a whole punnet of strawberries, tossing the hulls into the tangled jungle below. Breakfast number one is complete, so it must be time for a green smoothie and coffee chaser at Kafe.

Now that Tom has entered the computer age, there is competition over who gets to use the precious battery during the day, and who gets first digs when the power comes on at night. When I mentioned taking the laptop away to Bali, it provided the impetus for Tom to offer me an early birthday and Christmas present offer I couldn’t refuse. You are now reading a post from my new Asus Eee PC – all gorgeous 10 inches of it. Who said size doesn’t matter? Light, strong and fast, just like my husband, but more portable.

Ubud is buzzing with bookish types: people with glasses and sensible clothes. There are visitors from all corners of the globe here for the Writers & Readers Festival, “one of the six best literary festivals in the world”, a curious slogan - not the best, or second best, but in the top ten. I have volunteered to help over the week, and my first posting is possibly the most unappealing item of the schedule – “A workshop for inspiring poets on writing political poetry.” Blah. I didn’t know such a genre existed, let alone warrant a workshop in the finer details.

Back to the Vitamin Blast with basil and spinach. Every girl needs retail therapy in her perfect day, especially the girl who lives in a village where mass produced sarongs and polyester shirts at the weekly market constitute the latest in fashion. Don’t tell Tom, but I bought a pair of pants from the yoga shop...they were having a sale...

With food, beverage and internet needs met, it must be time for a massage? Next door to the guesthouse is a small sign offering traditional Balinese treatment. The brochure explains that Mr Win learned from his father, who in turn learned it from his father, and “we are professional masseurs.” Mr Win greets me wearing his motorbike helmet, and offers the customary limp handshake, before showing me to a dimly lit room decorated with plastic flowers and a poster of New York. This is not your five-star day spa overlooking a river valley with hanging gardens and cool water features. Here the sounds at the heart of Ubud infiltrate the roughly painted plaster walls; motorbikes, roosters and the rhythmic clunk of the overhead fan.

Mr Win is about 50, has a plaited beard and soft hands. It takes a certain amount of trust to stay relaxed as I lay face down stark naked while a male stranger climbs up on the foot of the table. As his hands sweep the sciatic region, I wonder if my butt crack requires the attention and if he notices my cheeks clenching. I chant, “we are professional masseurs” like a mantra in my head. Rolling over to expose my full frontal glory, I wonder how many different bodies this man has seen in his 17 years of practice. The breast rubbing part of a Balinese massage has always amused me, and Mr Win doesn’t neglect to include it. Overall, the massage is firm and focused, and I emerge 90 minutes later, puffy eyed and wobbly, ready for afternoon tea.

The sweet crunch of an apple brings a contented sigh and much salivating after months of banana and papaya. I reflect on the simple joy of nature’s bounty then wander off to Kue for a pot of Darjeeling tea and date cake. The leaf tea is organic and strong, the cake dry, and the music is painful Indonesian elevator-meets-Kenny G genre. The mix with traffic noise below has me sipping my tea in haste. Their bread and chocolate truffle selection is worthy of take-away, but I won’t be rushing back for the serenity.

Now if you will excuse me, I have an appointment to listen to Bach, played by an international concert violinist, in the shadows of a candlelit temple.

1 comment:

thanks for taking the time

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