Day 2 - Seb is a tourist, but not one of THOSE tourists.
I awoke incredibly early today after sleeping off the lag that comes with flight. It was first at 5am where I awoke by the aid of a rooster crowing and then later at 7am, where I groggily threw myself at my new surroundings. The bed was soft and plush and the pillow big and fluffy… Which destroyed my neck as I like to employ the almost near suffocation sleeping style (stomach down, face almost in pillow, left arm folded to prop up for oxygen). That, I didn’t mind at all. The Desa Sanctuary where we’re staying is beautiful. It blends traditional Balinese design with modern facilities, including several places to just chill and let time subside away into nothingness.
Breakfast was toast and eggs, Jess went for fruit. Her meal was like fruit and art collided and created a masterpiece. I was envious as I looked at mine. I’m trying to provide an idea of the whole scene without coming across as over abundant.
We asked Nengah to drive us into Ubud, especially to a place called ‘Bali Buda’, where he casually obliged and taught us more of the local dialect and language. I’m truly trying my hardest to grasp the language, but my mind has been acting like a bucket with holes in it. How’s that for a metaphor. Boom, nailed it. Either way, Nengah is being his considerate and cheerful self as he drives us to our destination.
Bali Buda is located in the hub of busy Ubud, along the backstreets and painted purple for attention. The food is mostly raw/vegan, they have a space for yoga and a supermarket on the bottom floor. We settled in for more breakfast/brunch. I casually destroyed a puzzle they had on the tables, a collection of wood pieces that form a particular shape. My head was spinning trying to comprehend how it all fit, until I admitted defeat and apologised to the staff, where they laughed it off and showed me the cheat sheet.
A pot pie and salad later, we trekked Ubud. Its a charming little locale full of boutiques and small shops along thumping vein like streets. Each shop has spiritual offerings by the entrances, casually mixing spiritual gratification with career happiness. Nengah told me yesterday that you need to take pride in what you do, and that is exactly how each shop and locale abides by. From then, we walked at least 2 hours around the bustling streets. Man, those streets are nuts.
What you’ll be greeted with is a traffic system that is dominant and chaotic, but controlled in its own way. It seems like comfort zones don’t exist, rear view mirrors are never used and bikes are the king of the hill (as you can start riding around on them from the age of 14).
We eventually found our way into a silks shop where Jess tried on a few dresses. The woman was in her 30’s and sassy as all manner. We haggled on the price for two cotton dresses in black and purple, whilst the whole time the shop owner was punching my arm because we were driving too hard of a bargain. That’s just the way I roll with strangers; one second they don’t know me, next second their calling me crazy and punching my arms.
It’s a flattering culture; people are all appreciative, polite and happy. They generally want the best for you, and don’t gloat about it. I was quite humbled about having people comment on my tattoos, and then trading stories about inking. My favourite was being approached by a man offering a taxi service, discussing my coloured sparrows and ending the conversation about his neck tattoo… The xXx logo (you know the one, the Vin Diesel action film). I shot him a quick “pew pew” with my trigger fingers and he walked away blessing me and pretending to have been shot. Either way, the folks here are fantastic.
I guess what truly sticks out to me about it all, is that the locals can speak English as well as they can. They adapted a language that most of my friends are still trying to master. It got me thinking about how in our home of ‘Straya’, we don’t really accommodate so much at times, and that we only have small pockets of places that speak something other than English to welcome strangers. It’s a sad thought. Dida to that thinking.
The rest of the day we walked Ubud. Chilled out in a day bed at our sanctuary, and had a crown massage followed by dinner. We have taken to this place like fish to water, even if its only our first official day; but its hard not to really, as this place is truly spectacular.
A $3 longneck of Bintang aided this long rant of literature. Music listening to: the Khanz, Touché Amore and Title Fight.
Seb’s second day - Ubud; welcome to the friendliest place around stranger. Terrima Kasi.