Things I’ve learned in southeast asia 😉
In order to embrace (survive) in Bali…
1. Give in to your pores-be one with the sweat. You never have and never will again perspire like you do here. It is not a sign of weakness-it is a physical means to survive. (get some good deodorant. PLEASE)
2. Live amongst the lizards. Get down with the geckos-they are EVERYWHERE. They will leap and wiggle and shoot across walls, doors, floors and you will not be prepared. lol They could care less about your level of comfort with them by the way.
3. The sidewalks are NOT even. This is one of terrible evil times where you wish there were candid cameras hanging out on the sidewalks of Ubud. You had better watch where you’re stepping because you will fall, at least once when you didn’t take the time to look.
4. Your new scent (besides deodorant) is bug spray. These insects, like the geckos DO NOT mess around. They are hungry little fuckers or horny or bored or whatever the reason is they bite you. Forget Chanel No. 5, Bulgari anything-you will smell like insect repellent and you will be grateful. Because the 17 bites you had the first day you arrived were not cute..or comfortable.
5. TAMUs beware. “Tamu” is Balinese for whitey-as in, the color of your skin. Act like it. If you’ve ever experienced a sunburn you know how horrific the recovery is…and here-in 90 degree nearly 100% humidity, you are whiter than you ever imagined. LATHER UP. If for some reason you forgot yours-fear not there are 19299930 varieties here and the salespeople watching you carefully select which one to purchase are proud of you, TAMU.
6. The roads go on…forever. I think if I had 6 months here I’d still never see even half the city of Ubud let alone the surrounding towns, villages, beaches and neighborhoods I want to. What looks like a street front has behind it great depths-rice fields and valleys lined with palm trees beyond that. I’ve marveled and kept walking many days. It feels like a constant treasure hunt.
7. Roosters not only rule the roost but they reign the kingdom. I kid you not the cock-a-doodle-d0 you hear in your brain right now-magnify by 10 and repeat it for 4 hours beginning at 4 am. I have been hysterical since the day I arrived at how freakin loud and EVERYWHERE they are. No set of earplugs will help-so don’t bother.
8.You are on their turf-that is the animals of this island. I have became a zoologist and botanist while here. You cannot imagine how many varieties of species there are..and the COLORS, omg. You have never seen so many kinds of birds, butterflies, flowers, trees or such vibrant hues-naturally. You will hear sounds, calls, songs from animals you never knew existed. It is humbling really, to know that albeit bigger, we are surrounded by nature constantly here and its beautiful.
9. Everyone is HAPPY. They mean it. They are grateful and humble and beautiful happy people. In the morning when you are their first customer they will make most any bargain with you because they say it is “good luck first customer, please”. They bow in gratitude and each and every shop has an offering on it’s street front and perhaps an alter in the store. They refresh these offerings several times per day-for good luck, blessings and in devotion to their gods. Every several store fronts is a temple or a shrine of some sort. They are in constant prayer and live in their beliefs and gratitude. They are some of the most talented artists I’ve ever known and I’m sure of the fact that it is their divine inspiration. I am inspired by them and have felt very much at home in my heart to watch their daily rituals. *Learn a few Balinese words-their faces light up from ear to ear with smiles to hear you say thank you in their language.
10. Learn to unplug. There isn’t always wifi-and sometimes if there is, it will fail you. Some days it will cooperate and others it won’t-at all. This is a third world country. You’ll be frustrated and annoyed not to check your email or stocks or what have you but, it may be on purpose. Go outside and walk 3 feet in either direction-I guarantee there will be something to marvel at-many things in fact. And the best part of this place is the wellness, the wholeness, the organic, raw, real life they offer to you whole-heartedly to reconnect, rebirth, reinvigorate yourself with. You will be tanner, lighter, happier too when you finally settle in. I hope for you it’s way before you have to leave.
You will return-because once you’ve seen and felt and tasted this place, you’ll never be the same. And thank God for that-for creating this sacred, spiritual “island of the gods” in the sea glass colored seas of Southeast Asia.
suksma-thank you xx