Ubud

I am now in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. I picked a week in Ubud because I knew I would be a travel break and from what I read this is just the place to do that. Ubud has a reputation for being easy going and relaxing if not restorative. I book a comfortable hotel here to spend a couple days. Good timing since I end up getting sick (post on that later). It is so much better to get sick in a high end hotel then it is in a discount hotel (Truth!).

Adiwana Monkey Forest Hotel

It is time again for a hair trim. With all the traveling, poor water and cheap shampoos my usually nice hair becomes unmanageable again. I find a salon down the street that can take me in for a last minute appointment. Their instagram photos show Chrissy Teigen as a former client so it can’t be too terrible? Once again not loving my cut (oh how I miss my hairstylist back home) but it will do for traveling.

It is time to chill and get a snack to finish off my first day.

The next day I take it easy and get a massage. Prior to the massage I fill out a questionnaire that determines my Dosha. The massage is catered to my primary Dosha. In the past I have learned about Ayurvedic stuff but it always great to get a refresher course.

The massage and pool time and a nice dinner rounds out my day -> I did say I wanted to take it easy.

This is a fun sign

My dinner out.

Grilled chicken, green beans, spinach mashed potatoes

I have some amazing breakfasts during my stay (so much I’ll dedicate a post to that later).

Also a cultural thing I learned about Bali first names is that they are given based on birth order. You will notice a ton of businesses with seemingly the same names. I discovered the reason why.

More on my visit later.

Bali Surf Retreat

My bratty moment

After 3 nights sweating it out at the yoga retreat all I want is A/C and coffee.

My car arrives to pick me up from my three night silent retreat and we stop for coffee (canned coffee from convenience store but good enough). I arrive at The Pineapple House in Bali after about an hour’s drive and I am happily greeted by the staff. I am shown to my room and given my schedule: surf lessons at 6:30 am tomorrow and massage at 10 am. I settle into my room to do some travel planning because I am way behind on my bookings (I still have Australia and New Zealand to fully book).

First room assigned. Beautiful!

I come out of my room to do laundry since I failed to get any done the past couple days. I also decide on a dip in the pool. Somewhere during my pool time the A/C unit in my room stops working. I play with all the options and it will not come on. The internet also keeps going down so it presents a challenge for using WhatsApp to communicate with the resort staff. I finally get a hold of the staff and they will come fix the A/C. Due to skipping lunch I am very hungry so I head out to walk to get dinner believing the A/C will be fixed while I am out. ~ As a side note I am unable to get money out of the ATM once again~. I need to find a restaurant that accepts credit cards. Indonesia is the only country that has given me ATM problems so far (besides one rogue Cairo atm).

Scenery along my walk.
Cocktail at Trattoria Canggu

Warning: First world whining alert!!!!

I come back to a hot room again. I am dripping sweat and miserable. I want to cry. I just spent three days sweating at the silent retreat I absolutely cannot do this one more night. I try to contact the staff again but it is late and thus no response. I am so determined to have A/C that I check my Marriott and Hilton apps for nearby hotels because I know that they will have A/C. I find a Sheraton Four Points in the next town over. It is a little more than I want to pay but I don’t care. So I pack it all up, wet laundry and all. I try to call a taxi but they require an Indonesian phone number to order a taxi. I ask how do I get a taxi if I don’t have a local phone and they hang up on me. So I gather all my things and walk out to the street to flag down a taxi. It is 110k Indonesia cab ride. Let’s do this!

I am so wound up so takes me a while to get to sleep but I eventually do and I don’t know what my plans are for the next few days but I’ll figure it out later…..

The next morning I get a message from the retreat owner. They are very sorry for the miscommunication and are asking to remedy the issue. They even offer to refund for the night. It is a beautiful place to stay, besides the A/C mishap the night before, and they do a great job trying to make sure I am happy. I pack up and return.

I am given a new room on the bottom floor. I don’t have the same view as the other one but my room is bigger, as is the bathroom. Plus the AC works in the new room !!! (I feel like such a prima donna as I write this now but at the time it seemed really important to have that A/C. I believe that if I didn’t just come from a silent retreat I probably would have just dealt with the heat as a normal travel inconvenience for the night).

I missed my surf lesson for the day but I am back in time for my massage. The retreat includes a yoga class but I choose to hang out at the pool instead and later walk to dinner.

Mie goreng at MyWarung Bistro dinner
What is a sidewalk? Dodging traffic while walking to restaurant.

The next morning I get up early for my surf lesson. I grew up in central Florida and spent a good amount of childhood at the beach. For some reason I never thought I had the skills to be a surfer and thus never tried (have boogie boarded though and tried wind surfing a time or two). In Canggu Bali I am going to learn to surf. My instructor picks me up on his motorbike to drive me to the beach. Side note: This is the first time I rode a motorbike during my travels. I have been avoiding it due to fear. Rides on motorbikes are so much cheaper than in taxis. I figure today is good as any other time so I hopped on back. It is scary at first but I didn’t die so I guess everything is fine.

I am given a wetsuit shirt to wear and a board. My instructor give me a beach lesson first. He is great and very patient with me. I can tell surfing will be a challenge for me due to being 1. out of shape and 2. my shoulders are torn up for incorrectly carrying my backpack around for months. Eventually he gets me out on the water. The waves seem to be perfect for learning but I am a mess. I catch a couple waves but lose my confidence and lose the wave or I just flat out wipe out. My shoulders are exhausted for the effort. By the time my lesson is over I caught about two to three waves about at a standing position (the first time super shaky, second time basically surfing on my knees, and third time I purposely wipe out because I believe I am going to take out another surfer). I am worn out. I could come back tomorrow and probably actually surf but I know my body will reject it due to fatigue. I wish I would have booked more days so I could have a recovery day. I vow I am going to pick up my lessons again when I return home (Note: It is 9 months out from that trip and I still haven’t.)

I return to my retreat where an amazing smoothie bowl is awaiting me, plus coffee. Oh how I love coffee!

Mango smoothie bowl

My arms are beat from my morning surf lesson so I skip yoga again. Oh how I wish I was in better shape in preparation for my retreats! I spend the rest of the day hanging by the pool and catching up with travel bookings.

I go out and get another great meal at the highly rated Ulekan.

GADO GADO – STEAMED VEGETABLES, ORGANIC EGG, TEMPEH, PEANUT SAUCE, PRAWN CRACKER
AYAM LALAPAN – FRIED CHICKEN MARINATED IN LEMONGRASS & GARLIC WITH TRIO OF SAMBAL

I sleep well that night and wake up for one more delicious breakfast.

Crepe pancake breakfast

I am heading to Ubud today to really work on relaxing!

Bali Silent Retreat Final day

I actually hear the first gong this morning, my last morning. I have a weird dream about a kitten that was actually a baby tiger that ended up destroying my house …. not gonna read into that now.

After all the sweating for the past couple days I actually am a little chilly last night. But I’m not complaining because I love a little chill.

My arms are sore today – maybe it is maneuvering around rocks or yoga yesterday. I don’t plan on doing any yoga or meditation today since I am just preparing to leave. As I write this I hear Balinese music off in the distance.

As the sun comes up it doesn’t take me long to start sweating again. The sun is out and it is hot. I’m looking forward to drinking caffeine in air-conditioning.

Breakfast is amazing of course. I engorge since it might be a while until I am able to eat lunch. The sourdough bread is delicious as always as well as numerous vegetables and fruit things that I cannot recall the names of. The food is really worth the price. I only wish there was coffee.

I finish my book before I leave and return it to the library upstairs.

So what did I get out of all of this?

I don’t know.

I certainly don’t immediately feel any major healing but I do have some pretty good tools to take for when I return home (to use to heal on my own).

Also once home I really want to find every vegan restaurant and try all the dishes; but I think that I’ll be disappointed because quite frankly the food at this retreat is pretty awesome. I have never had anything quite like it.

Perhaps I need more time here. Hopefully I can return someday.

Now off to my surf retreat…..my ride should arrive soon…..

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.