Bali Silent Retreat Day 3

Sunset at the retreat.

The wasps want in their room. I’ve been keeping the door to my room closed and I can tell they are annoyed.

I again miss the first gong and wake to people stirring. It doesn’t matter though since I’m skipping morning meditation today since I want to attend the afternoon session instead. I do attend yoga and there is a different instructor that I find more challenging. Even some of her “easy” poses I struggle with. I feel defeated when she performs a stand up from sitting move that the whole class can do except for me. The move is supposed to be a sign of good health. It makes me poo all the progress I’ve made. I still feel fat, I still feel ill. Not much seemed to change over these months. I’m losing my patience. Will I always be this mess of a person? She does say one thing that resonates: “breathe through the discomfort”… so for now I just keep breathing.

After yoga it is breakfast and then a trip to the hot springs. It is early and there are not many people at the springs. I start at the rocks at the river below and I find it really hard to navigate the rocks to get to the springs in the perfect spot. However once I get to my spot it is worth it. If feels good on a tired body to have cold water rush over you. It is futile to try to move to a better spot because no new spots will compare to the perfectness of the spot I just left. I finally take some time to be in the moment and enjoy it. After a little while I decide it’s time to try the hot pools. I didn’t love any of them. All felt dirty. There is a regular pool the top with some running water that I used for water meditation . “I deserve love. I deserve love.” was my mantra. I gave myself meditation love hugs. It is tough to believe I deserve love after feeling unloved for so long. Is this how it all works?

Return to retreat

I am back at the retreat after a nice few hours at the springs. In the afternoon I attend meditation that is a guided meditation that takes you through the 7 chakras. I did pretty well during this meditation except for there are two chakra colors that I struggled with and I believe those were the orange and green corresponding to the lower abdomen and heart respectively. When I read about why those are blocked it kind of makes sense the way my life has been the last 5 years (heck maybe last 10 years). I still have work to do when I get home.

I do doze off during some silent moments but wake myself up before the snoring gets bad.

After meditation I finish exploring the retreat and spend some time at the medicinal garden. I love gardens.

I also observe other areas on site.

Rice terraces in the distance

I also visit the water meditation area.

One more peaceful night then I am off to my next adventure.

Bali Silent Retreat Day 2

Bale for Yoga and meditation

We are given a warning gong in the morning to wake up and another to signify the start of meditation in the morning.

It is my first morning at the retreat and I missed the first gong – I must’ve slept through it. I hear the neighbors stirring and I don’t have much time until the second round goes off. I contemplate skipping meditation because it is 40 minutes long and I really don’t know what I’m doing but I go anyway. I never got around to buying yoga pants during my travels and show up in my PJ shorts and T-shirts. My attire seems to work out ok. Meditation is challenging since it has been a long while since I have last attempted meditating. During the class I sit there and pretty much do my own thing and I guess that is fine.

Next is yoga right after the meditation. I think about skipping out on that too but I stuck around. Luckily all the poses I have done before for the most part (Sun salutations, warrior poses). However I am out of shape so the poses are challenging enough. I sweat like a pig. There are no fans and no AC so it’s not the greatest for me. I run back to my room and shower before breakfast.

Breakfast is amazing especially the sourdough bread they provide every day however there is no coffee. How did I not notice that there would be no coffee or caffeine for three days? I’m going to die. I start looking at maps to see if there are any local coffee shops. It appears that there is nothing nearby. There is an optional temple tour coming up today so I table the issue. Maybe I’ll find Coffee near the temple. Except during our temple outing I left my money in the locker in the ashram🙁. It doesn’t matter since there was no where to buy coffee anyway.

We go to a temple where we see them prepare offerings. So much work goes into making little baskets and such.

Batu Karu temple

Temples

I come back from the temple tour and eat all the delicious lunch. I wish I would have taken a picture of the spread but I respected their wishes and kept my phone out of the kitchen.

The rest the afternoon is spent wandering the retreat, resting, writing in the journal and reading.

I read some more in the lodge until it darkens. I walk back to my room and prepare for bed. I hear some noises from around: talking in the distance, kids playing, birds, bugs, and some evil geckos. The water usage from the rooms around me seem to echo loudly in mine but I try to pay it no mind. I fall asleep soon enough.

Bali Silent Retreat Day 1

My room at the silent retreat

I am still fighting the cold I acquired in Cambodia but it seems to getting slightly better. A car is arriving at my hotel to drive me to my yoga silent retreat at Bali Silent Retreat. I am spending the next three nights in silence. There is no talking to others while at the retreat. Your time is spent on reflection, mediation and yoga. I have work to do – on myself!

Check in information

Arrival

I’m taken around and introduced to everything. I arrive at the end of lunchtime but I choose not to eat due to not being hungry.

It is humid and there is no AC/fans and I start my never ending journey of sweat.

view outside my door

I share my room with a wasp family. They live around the window and come in and out as I leave the door open. I contemplate reporting it to the staff but I let them be as they keep their distance for now.

Wasps live up there

I head to the lodge to look around. I reference a book provided by the retreat concoct my own healing tea since I’m still fighting a cold I picked up in Cambodia. All the necessarily herbs and roots and readily available.

Walking into the lodge

There is a library upstairs with a reading area. I “check out” a book for my time at the retreat. The book I choose is by an author I have enjoyed in the past. I love reading so this is how I will spend my down time. I think I can keep quiet but it will be hard to keep away from the internet. I do get a slight signal on my phone but I limit my time to checking in with family to let them know I am ok.

We are also given a booklet and encouraged to journal so I will use that to capture my reflections the best I can.

Sleep Night One

You are encouraged to rest with the sun which is quite early. There is no power in the rooms except a limited solar powered light system. Luckily there is a reading light in the room. Not sure what time I did end up falling asleep but it couldn’t of been much past nine. I did use the mosquito net the best I could but mosquitoes have not been too bad of a problem so far (could be because the lack of rain lately). I wake up frequently, sometimes to go to the bathroom but I fall back asleep. I am very self-conscious of my snoring (part of the reason why I won’t stay in dorm hostels anymore). I booked a special bottom-level room specifically for this reason (the top rooms are open aired) but I still feel bad because the side walls are thin and there is a small window open to outside at all times. However I am delighted to discover during one of my wake ups that my neighbor is snoring. I am not alone!!!

Arriving in Bali

I just left Cambodia and I have a cold. It was inevitable and I am surprised I didn’t get sick earlier. While in Cambodia I noticed tons of tourists hacking and sneezing around me. Statistically speaking I would have to have a super human immune response to avoid getting sick (plus it didn’t help to have the extra alcohol I had to celebrate my birthday).

I leave too early to get hotel breakfast but luckily I make it through security in time to get breakfast in the Priority Lounge (unlike my flight from Ho Chi Minh where I barely made it to my flight in time – giving you the stink eye Cambodia Angkor Air.) The breakfast is decent enough but I almost slice my finger with a plastic fork. Who does that?

My flight is uneventful except I have to eject someone from my seat (it happens way too often believe it or not).

For some reason I get two meals. Not sure exactly why but it might have something to do with how I pre-selected my foods as part of a package but it is way too early to eat this type of food and I am already full from the lounge. I nibble at one and end up throwing an entire meal anyway (I did offer it to my seat mates but no one wanted it)

I have a four hour or so layover in Kuala Lumpur. Because I have to go through security screening again they make me toss my unopened water bottle I bought when leaving Cambodia. I am water-less and my throat is sore and dry. I drink as much water as I can from the priority lounge here, which is super small and very limited in food choices. I “lost” my reusable water bottle when I arrived in South East Asia because I didn’t see the point. I can’t drink tap water so the bottle is just extra baggage to carry around and I need the packing space. Well now I regret that decision because there is nowhere to purchase bottled water due to flight regulations. The airport only has a water filter. I have nothing to fill up.

When I finally get on my fight I get one meal only and one small water. The meal is too spicy for my taste plus I can only get more water with an additional fee. I ration my supplies.

I finally arrive in Bali, Indonesia where I am to stay two nights by the airport while waiting for my silent retreat.

It is a long travel day and a number of things don’t seem to go my way when I arrive:

First I cannot find an ATM that works. It isn’t just me, tons of people are having issues at the ATMs, thus making the lines long. I know I put in a security alert for Indonesia so I am frustrated. I really want to take out some spending cash but I head to the hotel with the hopes there is something there.

Secondly I can find no signs for the hotel. The hotel is supposed to be in walking distance from the airport and it is dark and I can’t find any directional signs. I am sweaty, I can’t breathe and I am tired. I get constantly asked by taxis if they can take me somewhere. I know the hotel is close by just don’t know how to get there. Finally make it to the hotel after an out-of-the-way walk (apparently there is construction blocking the normal path).

Finally I find an Atm closer to the hotel that does work but my card is flagged for fraud (the first time in 4 months). I clear it all up, check in my room and pass out.

I wake in the morning with extremely dry mouth and sore throat. I hope I kick this soon. I have no yoga pants and for some reason could not find them anywhere I looked in Cambodia. I had planned to search for some today but my health is keeping me hotel bound. I will have to yoga and mediate in my regular travel clothes. I’ll look even more out of place than usual, no surprises there.

No phone, no talking, no internet for next few days so wish me luck.

More Phnom Penh

Still in the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

I am in a semi-big city again. I figure it would be a good time to try my luck again at finding yoga pants for my upcoming yoga retreat. I wander around town by foot trying to use maps.me and using up my precious data for google maps to find a place to shop. I end up at a high end mall in the basement of a casino where I STILL CANNOT FIND YOGA PANTS. But the place is air conditioned and a nice place to use the bathroom. I give up on the yoga pants. Maybe some place in Bali should have some I can buy??

*Trigger Warning : Genocide

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

I won’t go into a history lesson but if you aren’t familiar with the Khmer Rouge and the 1970s please google it. It wasn’t widely discussed in my school. I am just familiar with it because as an adult I am a curious reader and read the book First They Killed My Father. From the book I was curious to learn more so I watched history programs and read things on the internet.

Basically during the late 1970’s the Communist Party of Kampuchea government under the direction of Pol Pot systematically killed close to 2 million people. Many were killed in what is called “The killing fields” (there is a famous movie by the same name which I also saw a long time ago). As a visitor you can visit the killing fields and I heard it is very emotional. I chose not to visit because I did not feel comfortable going there. I did however visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the former jail where many prisoners were held, questioned and tortured.

I took audio tour with very detailed stories. It was sad and very painful to listen to.

The final rooms of the tour contain pictures of those detained and tortured in the facility (I took no photos of these).

Very small cells

I think the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is an important visit in Phnom Penh not to glamorize the location but for us as humans to understand what horrors can happen if tyrannical governments are left unchecked. The 1970’s were not too long ago in the grand scheme of time.

Cambodia River Cruise

To lighten up the end of my trip I booked a sunset river cruise along the area where the Mekong meets the Tonle Sap River.

It is a nice a peaceful way to end my trip to Cambodia. There is of course so much I didn’t see so I hope some day to return.