Sunday, June 23, 2013


Yes it's laborious, but you savour the mangosteen juice so much more when it's squeezed by hand, in the company of a mangy dog sitting in the kitchen and you're three tim-tams short because it's a communal fridge.

And when you don't want to labour, have someone else whack the top off a coconut and enjoy the water with lime, ice and the easy company of two of the loveliest people I know.

And when you've had it with the juice and the conversation has dried up, there's always the Bintang to get things going again.

Clocked off, responsibility free, anonymous and happy, that about sums up how I felt on Bali.

Time slowed way down with the days unfolding in to an easy rhythm that nurtured, soothed and restored parts of me that were floundering on Maui.  From day one, an imperfect ease, an acceptance of what is took residence lifting my spirit and fueled by the joys of the day, the simplicity of my existence and the sweetness of my surroundings. 

Not to mention the constant amusement, such as the local kite and surf shop.

And the love, laughs and brilliant connection with my most excellent travel companions.

On my last day the weather was bleak and as we walked back from dinner with the rain lashing, the lightning streaking and our umbrellas blowing inside out, it just felt like another perfect moment of surrender.

With a long layover at Incheon International I took full advantage of their facilities, including miming at the player piano. Play it again Sharon....."with pleasure"!

Back home and with a south swell pumping, I parked after work and looked at the large incoming set's. Compared to Bali they didn't seem that big, but I knew it was still way too big for me to even contemplate. But guess what,  I went out anyway and sat on the inside observing and grabbing the small stuff and that my friends, is progress.

One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


And on the seventh day, she surfed.

Andrea had a spare 6'6 fish, and despite it being 3' smaller than my stand-up and over a foot smaller than my long board, I thought, 'why not'? It was 21"wide and therefore stable enough for me to paddle, which I did..... for two hours every day for four days and I didn't catch one wave! But here's the best part, I didn't care because I was learning so much (mostly how little I know about surfing). 

The gap was still too wide between knowing what to do and doing it. I'm cautious and polite by nature and to improve at anything, sitting on the shoulder will get you nowhere and there's no greater teacher than surfing to show you that.

By the end of my fourth water day,  my 'not caring' free will was over ruled by my ego that couldn't handle the thought of leaving Bali without having caught a wave. So, despite my attachment to the superfish, it was clear I was surfing (well - paddling) out of my league and it was time for a bigger board. 

There was still a lot of this (nice blind paddling technique).........

....and not that much of this, but at least I was having some vertical moments. In hindsight I think the 7'6 was still too small and I should have just gone for an 8'. Still, in bigger conditions than I'm used to,  perhaps no board would have helped as I'm defiantly still on the beginning rung of the ladder.

How I wanted to stay, to ignore my responsibilities and focus on surfing for as long as my mind and body could hold out, just to see how far I would improve (my guess is a smidge). Still, the happiness of  being a five minute scooter ride from the water and getting wet everyday induced a joy that was more that I'd bargained for.

Despite the tag, this doesn't actually exude health and safety.

Back at the old homestead.

I kept Patrizia company while she prepared a small feast from the few fresh items found at the local Warung. These little shops are a hodgepodge of items, such as an extensive array of junk candy, highly processed random foods, petrol (stored in Vodka bottles), random plastic kitchen items and cigi's. So for us, the highly prized fresh produce became the focus of our daily menu.

Ta-da, a scrumptious lunch for three.

One paddler, two surfers, three happy musketeers.

My afternoons were spent hopping the old scooter and exploring. Or in this case, on a synchronistic ride with the only other person I knew in Bali.

The country is a mass of contradiction. Crazy nutcase driving, yet everyone smiles and there's not a hint of road rage. Dogs napping in the road seemingly glued to the tarmac, yet no road kill. Trash everywhere, but a real pride in sweeping the front step. Rice paddies in between western style construction. Heat and humidity that will blow your socks off, but real dignity in appearance and every piece of clothing is ironed. The building of Temples abounds, yet so many seem neglected and abandoned.

These huge lobsters were just $6.50 each (though they're priceless if left in the water). My laundry cost 50 cents as did a liter of petrol for my scooter. You're hard pressed to spend more than $7 for a slap up meal including a few beers and the unencumbered simplicity of life (compared to my own which seems positively excessive in comparison) was a refreshing relief.

Steering (punny) around the cows and dogs is all part of the fun.

Todays offering will be tomorrows trash......discuss.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


With the large swell subsiding it was time to come home to Canggu. Having been in Bali for five days and still barely having dipped a toe in the ocean, I was gasping to get out there. Blissed out from my time in Ubud, I grabbed a taxi at dusk, looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and waking up for an early to surf.

Canggu is small enough that (while I assumed no taxi driver would know where I was staying), you just ask and figure it out. Still, the innocent young man had to pull over a few times to phone friends for directions and finally, in the dark and in triumph he pulled off the road to show me Echo beach. His exuberance was short lived as all of a sudden 'BOOM', into a bloody great hole went his side of the vehicle. "Oh shit" I thought, "this isn't good". As we both clambered out, I observed the taxi's rear passenger wheel was up in the air, slowly spinning aimless and confused. Yet in true Balaniese style, all the scootering passers by simply stopped and as if on cue, some directed traffic while the rest heaved and hoed the van out its hole. My poor driver was shaken but not stirred and I was beckoned back in the vehicle.....oh lordy, what to do, what to do? Still, we'd come this far together so I wasn't about to ditch him now. 'Ditch' being the operative word, as I walked in blackness toward the van,  'BOOM 'I fell into a bloody great hole (a different one) and heard myself whimper 'help me'!

Oh boy.... as the same van pushing blokes now hoiked me out of the pit, I hitched my skirt and saw blood. Crikey, not ideal and all I could think was 'fuck  - how am I going to get in the water now'? Again, in the no-drama community way that is Balinese, my driver acquired a third passenger from loony tunes corner who became our human GPS. He guided us home and I handed over my money to rapid fire "sorry Miss, sorry Miss, sorry Miss".

Just a flesh wound and sprained ankle, 'lucky' about covers it.

As the next morning unfolded, conditions were still stormy, so it was time to put the kettle on and chill.

"Pero, get out of the kitchen"!

You can't make this shit up and as I retold my latest misfortunate incident to my friends - (given my  track record so far), we were all in stitches.

I believe I neglected to mention on day one, I couldn't find my scooter key, only to discover it was in the helmet, which was firmly on my head. On day two I accidently toppled over two other scooters in an unsuccessful attempt to steady myself, having not putting my kickstand down all the way! After the ditch tale, I was wondering if Patrizia and Andrea would simply lock me in my room for two weeks to keep me out of harms way! Not a chance, my daily calamities were a vast scource of amusement and they were not about to rob themselves off that. "Toast-catch"!

Day six - gashed leg, swollen ankle and rain. Perfect for pool surfing.....

And underwater baby stone training......

And band was good to be 'home', surely tomorrow I'd get in the water?

Sunday, May 19, 2013


With the surf too big, I headed up to Ubud to meet a good friend and practice some yoga. Nothing like rocking up and finding a perfect room, $15 a night, hot water, wifi and breakfast!

This was what I looked like after I lost my credit card. Which is exactly the same as before I lost my credit card!

Ubud is intense. It's a small place with too many people, too much traffic and a lot of energy, yet look to your left or right and magical sanctuaries abound. A brief glance gives the senses enough breathing room to focus forward again, step around the dog, over the uneven pavement and onward to where ever it is you're going.

All yoga studios should have the fantasy entrance of the Yoga Barn. Blending function with nature, they've got it down and classes are diverse with innovative teachers from around the world. Plus everything in Ubud is walking distance, which merely adds to the experience of living healthy.

Sound healing was incredible, an hour and a half of laying on the floor listening to the didgeridoo, percussion and your own mind. I've done many such journeys and am on intimate terms with my thoughts, most of which I tell to piss off!

The only thing to do after communing with one's higher self was to head to Sari Organic. It's a healthy trek through the rice padis with stunning food, tranquil views and a bliss factor 10.

Cute beyond cute, I've never seen a duck with a pom-pom on its head. 

Bali is an endless source of 'just when you think you've seen it all' moments. Here there is nothing that requires footware and can't go on a scooter.....

......and they're off, down a very narrow alleyway like a crazy video game, with no desire of getting to the next level.

And here it is, a small visual (that for me) represents the constant contrast of offering and waste.

Nothing like death to bring people together, and here it's true, as death is a celebration - a temporary departure with no cause for sadness. This shindig is going to be quite a knees up.

The body gets put into the holy cow and it, along with this ginormous cremation tower are carried to a sacred spot (not in a straight line so as to confuse the evil spirits) where the whole thing goes up in flames. This releases the spirit from the body allowing for the next reincarnation. 

As an egg plant perhaps?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It feels like years since I've been on vacation just for me. The constraints of my own mind on Maui moved in one step too close for comfort and so, two weeks ago I booked a ticket to Bali. I packed my sarong, my lycra, grabbed my Ukulele and stepped out on a spontaneous surf trip with friends.

There is a dirty beauty to Bali that I loved 13 years ago on my first visit and the chasm of time hasn't changed the counties housekeeping habits or my feelings one iota.

A woman on a surf trip might want surf, but be careful what you wish for as (upon arrival) it was so big none of us could venture into the water.

Still it was a sight to behold, so we walked and watched and talked and walked and watched and talked some more. 

Hmmmm, not sure what deity this is.....!

I already know I will miss the decorative, noisy, polluted, crazy, sweet, kind, gentle, simple, nuts, beautiful, stinky melting pot of constant contrasts that Bali is.

Not to mention my new look!