You can get “Sun Burn” in a local health spa for only Rs 150000. Sounds great, what are we waiting for? We booked in for a back massage this arvo at a place that didn’t sell Sun Burn. Balinese massage is good. It’s quite hard – a few times I screwed my face up as she hit sore spots on my back - but it seems to have helped considerably as my back is way less stiff and painful than it was before. No pain no gain then.... As we left the owner looked at me and said:
“I hope you lucky bring me”
I have no idea if that is a euphemism for a tip or not, but I didn’t take it that way. Instead I laughed and said I bring lucky everyone – I’m a regular walking talisman me. She seemed to like that, so I guess she wan’t asking for a tip or she’d have replied with a “woteva” look on her face.
As we walked around the side streets of Ubud an old man sat outside a moped hire shop shouted “Broom, broom?” across the road to us. I replied “No thank you, no vroom vroom today”. A guest lodge further down the road had a signage advertising “Calling Pan” in all rooms. It took me a few moments to work out that they meant “Cooling Fan”. Ah, the quirks of language that bring a smile to my face every time.... Where would I be without them?
Bali seems to be a well-off nation by and large. We have not seen any slums, only 1 beggar and the animals are all fat and healthy. This morning we moved to a nice little and slightly less expensive bungalow down a quiet alley. The lady who runs the show is very nice. Her English is not good, but her way is extremely gentle, which sealed the deal for me. There is a small and beautifully ornate building on their property made from marble and exquisite carvings, which I thought was a temple. I was wrong - turns out to be the lady’s main house. Unbelievable. I could dig a house like that. Again, Balinese seem to be doing alright where standard of living is concerned.
I still haven’t got my head around spending tens of thousands of Rupees for anything and everything here. There is something hardwired in my brain that tells me spending tens of thousands in any currency is wrong. If you have big bucks in your bank account then Ubud is a good place to lose them. The craftwork is incredible. We saw a cow skull that was next level. It had been carved into a lightshade. If we had a spare 1.5 million Rupees we would have bought it ;) Instead we settled for spending Rs 70,000 on a couple of cups of coffee....
Bali is nice and all, but it doesn’t have the sense of adventure that India does. In a bizarrely masochistic way I actually enjoy the challenges of India. I suppose it’s a bit like an extreme sport enthusiast loving the challenge of what they do, and getting a life affirming rush through doing it. The difficulties India provides present unique opportunities to build character and go beyond. The spiritual component that is so integral to life in India is phenomenal. Bali is a Hindu island, but they don’t take it to the level that Indians do. I haven’t seen a single temple in Ubud. I think India is so radically different and generally unWesternized that it kick starts my imagination and opens up my heart. The streets in central Ubud remind me of so many places – Santa Fe, Kalk Bay, Farnham even! The streets in Indian towns remind me of nowhere else. They are truly unique. India I love you. Dear Sirs in the Indian immigration department, please can you give me a lifetime visa? Many thanks. Best to the Wife.