Ho Hum, More Back And Forth Across The Pacific
One of my great loves about Asia (or anywhere 3rd world) is how life takes place all around you all the time; on the streets, in the fields and the temples, etc. Life spills out everywhere, and it always feels like there's an open and welcoming invitation to be a part of it. Likewise one of my stark adjustments in going back to the West is walking through neighbourhoods where ne'er a living soul is seen, except as they scurry back and forth to their cars. Even in town or city centres the the only visible life tends to be highly mobile, with most of life taking place behind closed doors.
I'm back in my old familiar spot in Amed with 2 t-shirts, 2 sarongs, a loaded kindle, swimsuit, suntan lotion and snorkel gear. Had a fabulous scooter ride across the island through rice fields, past mountainous jungles, temple ceremonies, and miles and miles of beaches. Now for 3 days of waves breaking, hammock swinging, ocean splashing, soul pampering, complete rejuvenation.
Mermaid for a day.
A coral reef my kingdom.
A million gem-coloured fish my jewels.
The best kind of rich.
In my hammock, remembering. Last Summer on my long trip to China, the train stopped in a tiny Polish town and I watched as a very handsome, lanky, young man ran along the platform, past my window, beaming and clutching one long stemmed red rose. I smiled to myself, creating a lovely romantic scenario in my head. Then he reappeared, with his arm around a short, round, typically attired Eastern European babushka, both of them beaming like the sun. It was probably either his mother or grandmother, but then again I could have been completely wrong on that assumption also.
Sometimes the story is far more tender than the one we imagine.
Just had a critical encounter with a mirror... followed by a mini epiphany. This body may be sagging but the spirit is soaring like never before. Not for a million anythings would I trade back to the times when those 2 things were reversed. The body may have been new and everything exactly where the goddess put it, but the spirit needed this long to develop from dodo bird wings to condor ones.
My friend just asked me to go and check if there was still a chicken in his bathtub. It is my heartfelt desire to always live in places where that is a perfectly logical question.
Absolute favourite possession of the moment: tape measure.
Reason: because it makes me look and feel like I'm actually doing something on the building project as I brandish it about.
What I'm really doing is learning just how much Jupiter needs Saturn. All the visions and ideas in the world aren't worth beans without the muscle, back-bones, steadfastness, hammers, nails, experience and skills of those doing the real "work".
Me with my little Saturnian tape measure in hand is an attempt to sneak into that club.
It's lovely building with no rules, regulations or codes. However, e.g, you do have to remember for yourself things like wind and rain in regards to where to put the kitchen stove.
Still having a ridiculous amount of fun with it all.
I've been moving home constantly since arriving back in Bali (Uranus transiting the IC for my astro-peeps), and suddenly I'm going to be completely homeless for a few days. So... what better time to hop on the bikes and circumnavigate the whole island with my good buddy, Nancy? We've already started imagining our own Thelma and Louise on 2 wheels script, (with a much happier ending of course). Fun fun fun fun FUN.
Great 1st day, set off at 7am from Ubud, straight down south to Sanur, Seminyak, Kuta and all the big city chaos. Then up the glorious western back roads and coastal road to Echo Beach, Tanah Lot and finally this idyllic little beach spot, Pondok Pitaya.
Two chicks in their 60's cruising the whole coast of Bali on scooters, can't help musing that in my Scottish childhood the picture of this age was at best a blue rinse and bingo. Here's to ALWAYS writing your own life script, whenever even remotely possible.
Day 3: and in a super deluxe beach resort in Candidasa, (half price on hotels.com), we decided we deserved it as yesterday we spent 7 hours solid on the scooters, although without a minute of tedium. I know I have a tendency to over-enthuse, but this has been truly superb. It's almost the equivalent of living in California and suddenly discovering Big Sur, or in the UK just coming across the Pembrokeshire coast. Endless miles of stunning coastline, rice fields and mountains. And best of all, most of it seems to belong entirely to the Balinese, very few tourists. We were even waved straight through 3 police checkpoints, (in the tourist areas that rarely happens, someone's hand generally needs to be crossed with silver). We think we've done about 600 kms, (we both forgot to check our odometers at the start). 100 or so more tomorrow and the grand circuit will be complete.
And the very best part has been collecting smiles the whole way around the island.
Now I must run and have my welcome cocktail, by the pool, next to the beach. As Nancy says, I need a drink that's screaming for a little umbrella.
Riding through Ubud, I saw a guy on a motorbike speeding along, swinging a cage with a little bird in it, and experienced a moment of full cognisance as to how terrifying it is for tiny, defenseless sentient creatures in the world we humans have created, (and big ones too, for that matter). I physically shivered at the thought of being swung around in a cage by a person as large as a tree as they sped through enormous, deafeningly loud, monstrously fast machines, with no idea as to my fate.
I was immediately reminded of this:
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.― Henry David Thoreau
My friend just perfectly described the rushing around building, windswept, sweaty, decidedly scruffy state I have fallen into, and will (quite contentedly) remain in for the foreseeable future: "You've turned feral", perceptively notes she.
Talking to one of my most powerful, high powered, businesswoman clients on the phone, when our Balinese grandma walked in, she who still cooks over an open fire, bathes in the river, collects grass for her cow nightly, and makes the daily offerings. She was curious as to who I was talking to on the phone because she has a great fascination with the video feature, (which I unfortunately wasn't using right then). So for a moment I had these 2 women speaking to me, one in each ear, their lives could not be more different, and yet they are both a big part of my life.
What a rich life this is.
The longer I live around the Balinese, the more confuddled I am when people need to describe themselves as "spiritual". What does that mean? It's almost like saying I'm a very human person. If they are implying they are more advanced than the average fellow earthbound spiritual being, then my guess is they are actually completely the opposite.
And the Balinese with their quietly wise, egoless, natural ability to live in both worlds simultaneously just smile their mysterious knowing smiles.
I have moved home location at least 9 times since coming back to Bali, 4+ months ago. (Astrology alert: Uranus transiting IC, all unexpectedly expected.) So tomorrow that's it. Decided. I move to the land. Nothing is ready, but some clean corner with a roof will be nestified. I've gone and rented every other option from underneath myself, so it has to work.
Very excited... the next chapter begins.
I knew this would happen, I'm so darned happy at the land that nothing can get me to leave, not even wild horses or a full length mirror. Then suddenly I realised I have to leave in 9 days anyway. There's a slip of paper that says I have to cross the Pacific on March 26th. Where did the time go?
9pm on a moonlit balmy night: sitting in this almost finished magical little house in the middle of Bali's most beautiful rice fields, temple chanting and 1,000 crickets in the background, loveliest neighbours/land partners a stone's throw away, preparing to fly off and see the best friends a woman ever had, just off the phone with a happy and in love daughter, no matter what lies behind or ahead, may I never, ever take for granted what a blessed life this is.
Today: mani, pedi, facial, plucking, waxing.
It simply won't do to arrive back in the United States of Civilisation as the Wild Woman of Bali.
Revelling in my seedy airport motel America re-entry ritual. Bit musty and ragged, but oddly comforting, and bliss upon bliss, a bath with the hottest water tolerable. Utter exhaustion renders the simplest of pleasures technicolour.
I kinda forgot where I was going in the month of March, the extra travel clothes I just donned are a day-glo pink shirt and green pants with sunflowers on them. Luckily I am now old enough to be legitimately eccentric.
I have to accept it, I have 3 true homes in this world; England, America, and Bali. Being out in the California spring morning light, sitting up until all hours talking with friends who are great loves in my life, there is no way to deny it. It's a different flavour happy from Bali, but a rip roaring one.
The Sagittarius rising dilemma and blessing, (with so many places still to see!), I just keep circling the planet.
Having an Aquarian hairdresser with the exact same birthday as yourself is great, all you need to say is: "I need a change, do your creative thing." So I now sport a short and shaggy, not quite a pixie, more of a mature elf... or perhaps a gnome femme?
Reading astrology charts: still the most fulfilling occupation ever.
Plugged right back into the Universe. Delicious.
6 more days and it's Viva la Mexico.
Combing the edge of the continent for beach glass with my astro-twin. Now I know how many expletives I use. It was an awesome, amazing, wonderful, beautiful, bitchin', day.
And that is absolutely, positively no exaggeration.
Even the TSA obstacle course is amusing with a bestie. The
fun has begun. Look out Mexico, we're on our way.
My Indonesian language skills have suddenly kicked in, now that I'm in Mexico. Wouldn't you know.
San Miguel de Allende: Cobblestones; in a town as historic as this, each individual one has to be a story unto itself. Who found it, who carried it, who cut it, who laid it, and how many countless souls stepped on it... before me?
Jean, our amazing photography/Lightroom teacher never gets frustrated with anything related to the Internet, and this I can attest to after 10+ years of her doing my websites and walking me through 1,000's of cyber crises, because she genuinely looks at every challenge as a mystery to be solved. This is obviously an attitude to be adopted beyond the computer world; frustration and irritation are so glaringly petty when caught stamping their feet in the sphere of the mysterious..
Mexico City: At the Hilton, one more night with Jeanie before she flies north and I fly south. We've decided we can't resist one more Mexican dinner... surprise, surprise. What a friendship, what a lifetime.