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February 10, 2008 - Ubud, Bali

Written by GingerBlossom Published in

I see now that today is the 10th, not the 11th, so haven't made the reflexology foot massage a high priority. I also see that the 6th and 8th of Feb. were Auspicious Days for castrating animals, wonder if the Dog Pack owners believe in the Balinese calendar.

Ok, so I've got to finish up the Motorscooter Saga, its been bothering me, and after I tell the whole story maybe I'll just let it go. Yes, the driver was wrong, he wasn't paying attention. Yes, I was pissed at him, but gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped he was most contrite, and I didn't say anything. The girls drove their scooter home, and he followed to their family compound. Their dad came out and looked at the scooter, and decided that the damage came to about 250,000 rupiah, or about $27. I am trying to decide where in the scheme of things I can make things better, or worse, or just butt out.

When in doubt of a moral or ethical question, I ask myself, what would my mom have done? I always put her on my short list of my most admired people, up there with Mother Theresa, The Mahatma Ghandi, and H.H. The Dalai Lama. When we were in Mexico City, years ago, we had gotten out of the Volkswagen taxi, and just as we got out, a traffic cop pulled up, and asked what we had paid in taxi fees. I told him, and we'd been overcharged, and the taxi driver had to pay a fine. My mom only spoke about 20 words in Spanish, but she could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong. When I told her, she felt so bad, she wanted to pay his fine for him.

Same thing with Steve B., who was renting the house next door, he got drunk, drove drunk, and smashed up both his car and himself. Rather than kick him when he was down, and evict him for not being able to pay rent, she waived the rent until he was (literally) back on his feet. I know that she was pissed at him for the drunk driving (she'd get that tight lipped look when she talked about it), but she still had compassion for him.

So thinking about all of this, when we arrived to Ubud, I told the driver (through tight lips) that I knew that it was a lot of money, which on a driver's salary, it is, so I paid half of the 250,000 rupiah, and didn't make any judgemental remarks, and tried to let it go. He did thank me, then when he was leaving, he said that the two girls weren't wearing helmets, and he should report them to the police. Aaarrrggghh. Just let it go, let it go.

I had also justified shelling out the money to him in that I would just eat 2 meals on the cheap to make up the money. Before you think that I'm being all noble, I have to tell you that so far my best meal in Bali cost me 55 cents. I went to the little warung, or restaurant, by Victor's house, it doesn't get tourist traffic, and I had the most kick ass lunch, it was rice and chile sauce and steamed veggies and greens with peanut sauce, plus a bit of egg omelet, and he even threw in some chile tempeh for free, as he thought I'd like it. The warung meals are also the eco way to go - all locally grown ingrediants, wrapped up in paper as your dish, and no plastic silverware, you eat it with your fingers. The trick is to keep the rice on the bottom, or eat fast, so the juices don't dissolve the paper before you're done. How cool is that?

I'm also saving money by getting the cheapest room at the hotel, the rates go from $15 to $80 a night, but the beautiful grounds are the same, to be enjoyed by all, no matter the price of your room. Plus, I really like my room, top floor so no mosquitos, a ceiling fan is better than aircon anyway, and I don't need an in -room frig or TV. I do have a big lizzard who lives on the ceiling, so he does double duty as both entertainment, and bug control. The hotel grounds are so lush and gorgeous, and it's got a big honking lotus pond, with the lotus in bloom. Night life is great, but not as one would usually think - its the bats, and singing frogs, and lizards, and we're just up the road from the Monkey Forest, I had a monkey on my back this afternoon. I took bananas for the little monkeys, and while I had my attention on them, another little bugger climbed up my back and sat on my shoulders.

I did the tourist thing yesterday when I got into town, which included a self-guided tour of the still inhabited Ubud Palace, I felt sort of like a voyeur, I think I saw the Dowager Queen mum drinking tea. Then I went back to the palace at night, as they had traditional Balinese dancing and music. The dancing was sort of disturbing to watch, I don't think those feet and hand motions are possible for a human body. If you've ever seen the cult movie, Mars Attacks!, think the martian girl, and how she moved, and you'll catch my drift.

Tomorrow I'm going back to Batuluban to go look at stone, I admit it quite frankly, I have a stone fetish. My favorite garden piece is what my brother calls ancient coral, he dragged it out of the fields on the farm, its the center stone of my new patio garden. I'm limited to just buying smaller pieces, as I don't want to need crates (added extra expense, has to be specialy treated, certified wood, etc.) plus I don't own a forklift. But the Balinese stone is so cool, and its extremely porous and rich, so it gets patina, or grows lichen and moss in a very short time.