Hey all! I am safely in Melbourne, Australia!
Before I post about that, I wanted to take a moment to post about my time in Ubud. I had the pleasure of living in Ubud for almost a month during my time in Bali, and it’s quite a special place. Here are some things I really loved:
The shopping in Ubud is some of the best in Bali. Ubud is where all of the artists tend to congregate, so all of the art is influenced by that. You can find plenty of traditional Balinese art, modern art, and Bali tchotchkes. All up and down Hanouman street (which is the main drag) you can find sarongs, jewelry, leather goods, clothing, and toys.
In addition to Hanouman street, there is the Ubud Market. WHOA is all I can say about that. Shopping in the Ubud Market is kind of what I imagine having ten children would be like. The second you step into the markets (comprised of probably about 100 divided stalls, all selling basically the same stuff) you are being called at, “Looking! Looking! Looking!!” Which means, “please look in my shop” in shorthand. Another popular call is, “Lady! Lady! Lady!” or “Mister! Come here Mister!” These are interchangeable, and have no bearing on your gender. When you finally step into one of the stalls, the owner is showing you things so fast you barely have time to say, “no, thank you” to anything at all. “Pants? A dress? Shoes??? Do you need clothes for babies?!? JEWLRY! SARONG! CHEAP CHEAP! YOU CAN HAGGLE!!!!”
Are you stressed yet? Thought so.
Goodness forbid you actually try something on, or hold it in your hand. This is how a purchase goes (you are expected to haggle):
Me: How much for this pair of pants?
Vendor: 200,000 Rupiah (about $20)
Me: Oh no, that’s too much. How about 40,000?
Vendor: Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! No way!! I am offended! 150,000…
Vendor: No!!! 100,000!!! Last price!!!
Me: I can’t go over that, sorry. That’s all I have.
Vendor: Okay. 80,000 for good luck!
Me: *starts to walk away*
Vendor: Okay! Okay! 60,000! I need good luckI I need good luck!
…. and that would be how a deal is made. And after you leave, a local would walk up and buy the same pair of pants for 10,000 Rupiah. Ha. I don’t mind the tourist markup, frankly. The difference of a few dollars doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to the local folk. The haggling part is fun, though. And if you don’t haggle (I didn’t once when buying a $5 bracelet), they yell at you, “you are supposed to haggle!” Which I thought was very sweet. Everyone gets into the spirit of the market, which can be both fun and a little stressful at the same time!
This is a little bit sad, but I couldn’t leave it out. During my time in Ubud I took a liking to one very special cafe. Owned and operated by a very sweet Balinese family and lots of other local women who worked there as chefs and servers, it was one of my favorite places to go for Western and Indonesian food, juices, smoothies and lovely desserts. About three weeks ago, it burned to the ground because of an electrical fire. My heart goes out to the employees and their families who worked so hard to make it such a special place. If you all could send a little prayer or thought to the family of Clear Cafe I would appreciate that!
This is one of my goofier moments at Clear – I was pretending the frangipani flower was blossoming out of my third eye:
The Monkey Forest
Monkeys are everywhere in Ubud! The Monkey Forest just happens to be a place where big packs of them tend to hang out. It’s beautiful to walk around, but don’t stand still too long or you might make a friend! I have some cute pictures from the monkey forest, but in light of my dead phone Karen took them and I’m still waiting on ’em. I’ll put them in here ASAP!
One of my favorite places in Ubud is the Yoga Barn yoga studio on a Friday night during Ecstatic Dance. For those of you that don’t know, ecstatic dance is basically a silent dance party with a DJ who plays lots of different types of music – mostly wordless/tribal/chanting music with beats behind it, in our case. The first rule is no talking, the second is dance like no one is watching. You may start out dancing in a circle of your friends, but once you truly get into it, your eyes are closed most of the time, and you’ll have no idea where anyone you know has gotten off to! Dancing freely is one of the most liberating and therapeutic things in my life. So happy I got to experience it in Ubud! These are some of my girlfriends all dressed up to dance ecstatically:
Alright guys, my next post will be about my time in Melbourne! Weee! New continent/new time zone. I’m now 16 hours ahead of you Eastern Timers. Love you!