If you have been following me previously you will have learned that one of my favorite things to do when traveling is to take a cooking class of the local cuisine. I still have a couple months of travel left but I believe Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class is the last time I attend a cooking class during my travels.
Like most programs this one begins with a trip to a local market after a pickup at my hotel.
I am always fascinated by local food items. It is always so much better to wander around a market with a guide who can answer all your questions.
After our market visit we go to our kitchen and gather all the ingredients….
They put me to work doing some mashing and grinding.
My arms are getting pretty tired. Making these sauces are hard work. Each one is used for seasoning distinct dishes.
For my cooking I am paired up with another solo traveler from the United States. She is a delight to chat with. She is on her own sabbatical journey. It is great to see others following similar paths as myself. I don’t approach too many people during my travels so it is always nice to be paired up once in a while.
My fancy hotel in Ubud (Adiwana Monkey Forest) has breakfast included at the fancy cafe next door Watercress Cafe. It is a limited menu for the free breakfast but as you can see the choices are not your average free breakfast items.
The following is a post of all my posh breakfast dishes.
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!).
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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!
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.
I sleep well that night and wake up for one more delicious breakfast.
I am heading to Ubud today to really work on relaxing!
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…..