Friday, March 19, 2010
It's now day three of my Bali adventures... pure bliss in the mountainous region of Sukawati, between Sanur and Ubud.
I'm staying at a magical resort in this tranquil region, over-looking the Balinese forest, and a river running below the terraces of villas. Each morning I wake up to the sound of the birds chirping their early morning song as dawn peeks it's way over the mountains.
My days so far have been fulfilling my need for pampering, with a two-hour spa treatment of aromatherapy foot massage, lomi-lomi and hot stone massage. The setting is a private spa, with an open wall 'hanging' over the forest.
To be rested and pampered whilst hearing the forest 'breathing' and 'singing' it's harmony is pure magic!
I'm yet to mention that the spa treatments have been some of the best I've experienced. The love and attention put into the massage is very healing and body-soul connecting.
Oh.. and very inexpensive. These treatments range from US$20 t0 maximum US$80 (three hour package). Certainly the best value I have EVER received.
The rest of my day is spent lounging by the pool after eating a traditional breakfast of Mei Goreng, meditating on my private deck, dipping into my private plunge pool, snapping photos of magic moments, and simply enjoying my own company.
Yesterday I did go on a spontaneous adventure. I hired a private driver (Wayan) and car (US$50 for 5 hours) to take me to some "fun" places.
We visited the Royal Family Temple at Mengwi (Taman Ayun) which is surrounded by a moat, for an interesting but brief photo opportunity. It's 3,000 Rupiah (about AUD$0.40) to enter the grounds and witness it's beauty.
Then it was off the the sacred monkey forest in Tanaban (10,000 Rupiah, about AUD $1.20 or US$1.10) where I experienced several monkeys take it upon themselves to mistake me for a tree!
They were after bananas, which my guide, Madi had taken to carrying for me, to reduce the monkey fever rush up my body!
(I have plenty of video to share, but will need to post later as my internet connection here isn't supporting the upload).
There were also many large fruit bats hanging in the trees, and a smaller colony of bats at a "bat show" stand where you can experience holding one for a donation.
OK. So I finally got up the courage to hold a fruit bat! Been there. Done that. Never again. Very strange experience. But then again, it's already been a strange day!
Next, it was off to Tanah Lot, where I walked through the throngs of people to view through the market stalls (entry was 15,000 IDR - AUD$1.80/US$1.65). Then I headed toward the beach to witness the sunset. Along the way, I discovered there was a large snake handling opportunity.
I thought, "Why not?!" Until I saw the size of the snake! Then I though, "Holy S**t!"
When I witness myself say "No way! I can't do that!" Then I immediately have a conversation with myself of, "Yes way! Then you must!"
My personal policy is to face fear head on.
So, whilst there were a crowd of people standing around gawking at the 40 kilo python, I jumped right in and negotiated my price for a picture with it. This created a huge commotion as my now audience followed us around "for the best picture view, Miss!" and clapped and laughed as I was (barely) able to hold the snake. It was heavy!
My fellow Balinese men who helped me, relocated me back to the lawn to then have me sit in the 'snake circle'.. where they wrapped the snake around me on the floor for yet more pictures.
What an adventure! I felt like Indiana Jones!
My driver then escorted me down the rocks to witness the beauty of the tide line. In an ocean-side cave, we came across another 'Holy Snake' which was guarded by two Balinese men to make sure it is protected and you pay your donation.
Just before I approached them there were two men (a Javanese tourist and his Balinese guide) who approached my guide Wayan. I overheard some conversation about wanting to take a photo with me. When Wayan told me, "this man wants to take a picture with you," I laughed and with a cheeky grin I said, "Sure! If he pays my donation to the Holy Snake"!
The look on these mens faces was priceless. Shock!
I'm a keen negotiater in almost every situation. I saw an opportunity to flex this skill, and in Bali mode after visiting the market stalls it seemed a natural course of negotiation.
The Javanese man agreed. Then paid 5,000 instead of the agreed 3,000 Rupiah to the Holy Snake man.
Wayan and I giggled. He said, "I've never heard anyone ask for that before!"
I laughed and said, "well I'm a strategist! There's more ways than one to skin a cat, if you want something! That was a win/win/win" He got his photo, I get to handle the snake, they get a donation."
Wayan nodded and laughed, amused by my boldness.
With a fun and adventured packed filled day, we headed back to the hotel, where I was met by the staff who had set up a private candlelit dining space for me, poolside.
It was a magical way to bring a close to my day, as I enjoyed the night sounds of the mountains, the peace in the air, the beauty of the pool, and dined on delicious food and drank Balinese wine.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." ~Henry David Thoreau~