Well, June has been and gone and with it my wonderful holiday in Bali and my 60th birthday. That was the point of the holiday, I had decided two years ago that Bali was the place I wanted to be when my body clock ticked over to the big 60 (which I’ve heard is the new 40 in the USA – hmmmm).
I wasn’t up to a big hee-haw of parties, presents and probably hangovers. Two years ago when we were first in Bali, staying in a villa in Ubud with a lovely family to look after us, it just felt right to be in the sunshine and surrounded by rice paddies. So, despite the lack of finances, we managed to get there again this year. And it was bliss. It was warm, serene, friendly and did I say warm? If you know Tasmania in June you will understand where I’m coming from.
You see, I have been battling depression for a number of months now, not very successfully I might add, and I’m still trying to work out what it’s all about with the help of a psychologist. It’s early days yet but I am hopeful that I will be able to unlock this stupid head of mine and return to the land of “almost sanity”. Even in Bali, which is a place that I love because of it’s gentleness, I had moments of despair and intolerance. My friends who were with me and have known me for almost twenty years were concerned with the difference in my demeanour. These are friends from South Australia so they hadn’t seen me since Christmas. So I was open about it and we talked but no quick-fix was found – unless I choose to go down the road of medication. I’m not ready for that yet but I’m keeping an open mind.
But, back to Bali. This is a photograph of my birthday lunch that Wayan and Suri prepared for me and my friends. It was absolutely delicious. Wayan and Suri and Putu (the driver) joined us for lunch and I was given the “birthday girl tiara” to wear for the afternoon. This tiara will be passed on to the next friend with a significant birthday so I will not be the only one to look ridiculous!
We had only been there for a couple of days which is why I still look Tassie milk bottle white! Check out the next picture which was taken on our last day.
Looking a bit healthier I think!
In between those two photographs were days filled with sunshine, swimming, some shopping (not a lot, I hate shopping), sight-seeing, sauntering and salivating over so much fantastic food! The Balinese people are such a delight, even when you can see that they have to work sooooo hard they do it with a smile.
So a typical day in Ubud; well, up out of bed pretty early as the sun rises around 6am and the curtains are pretty thin, and make a quick cup of coffee in the kitchen whilst Wayan is at the market buying the fresh tropical fruit for our breakfasts. I take the aforementioned cup of coffee to go and sit with the others under cover in the “bale” by the pool where we might discuss what we will do that day or alternatively sit quietly reading whilst watching for the white herons and the squirrels in the trees. Breakfast is at 8.30am and we wander around to the dining area which is in the courtyard between the villa and the staff house, by the peace pond which is filled with koi. Some of us wear sarongs, some in shorts and t-shirts, but none of us are wearing a lot of clothing! I will hasten to add at this point that M has a new thicker sarong and has finally learned how to wear it the “boys” way and not the “girls”, hence making it more discreet, although I did have to remind him that when you are not wearing trousers it’s imperative to take care whilst sitting!
Breakfast always began with fresh fruit; water melon, honeydew and rock melon, mango, pawpaw and bananas, the sweetest butteriest bananas I have ever tasted. There was then a choice of eggs and toast or Indonesian. Accompanied by either coffee or tea. Wayan even went and bought some vegemite for those in the party who were desperate! Whilst we were eating, Suri would be whipping around all the bedrooms, making beds, picking up towels and sweeping and washing the floors, all ready for us to mess up again after breakfast. Then we would swim, read or get ready to go out. The masseuse came to the villa about four times to give hourly massages to those who wanted them, all for $10 each.
If we had decided to go out we would walk down the path alongside the rice paddies (no road to the villa so no traffic noise) and meet Putu at the road to be taken wherever we wished. I’ll talk about different trips another time. We might have lunch in town and then return to the villa later in the day for another swim and then send one of the guys into Ubud later (on the motor-bike) to collect take-away for dinner. We did drink an awful lot of Bintang beer but it was the most thirst quenching drink we could find and at $2.50 for a large bottle, the most economical.
The evenings were complete, sitting back by the pool, watching the geckoes and frogs and listening to the local ducks and something that we weren’t quite sure about. It sounded like an enormous frog crossed with a sheep. M can do a terrific impression of it but that’s not much use to you reading this! We never found out but all I know is that it was very, very loud.
And then off to bed.
It was the most relaxing, lazy, enjoyable, fun and friendly holiday that I hope will become a regular habit. Maybe in five years time we could go for three months. We wouldn’t be able to stay at the villa but I do know of a lower cost, long-term place with a pool that could be available……….
Talk again soon,
ps. I’m still having problems with Blogger, sigh