In the fall, I decided to go on a trip to Bali with an organization called Yoga Out There. My boss (Julie) went on the trip 10 years ago, and wanted to go again. I invited myself, and at the end of October (after my 4th yoga class), it was official. The gist of the trip is yoga twice a day, and an introduction to the Balinese culture. As you will find, this trip was so much more than that. On Tuesday, March 18, the journey began.
We flew from Bend/Redmond to Portland…Portland to Vancouver…Vancouver to Hong Kong. We spent the night (March 19) in Hong Kong to avoid a long layover. The only sightseeing that night included the inside of the hotel room, and the inside of my eyelids. We left Hong Kong the morning of March 20, and arrived in Denpasar, Bali that afternoon. We went through customs, and found a cab to our hotel (a centrally located, clean hotel for $28!). I told Julie I was going to take a short rest, and woke up 5 hours later!
The next morning, we walked to beach, around town, and found an inexpensive ($25) 1.5 hr massage/body scrub. The rest of our group (details to follow) met at our hotel, and then we left for our first destination.
Our fearless yoga leader was James Murphy (NYC), accompanied by Ann Arbor’s own Laurie Blakeney. 7 of us met at the hotel, the other 4 would arrive that night. We drove to our first destination, Munduk. The cottages we stayed in are built in the style of traditional rice barns.
We started with restorative yoga, then had our first official taste of Balinese cuisine.
As I mentioned, we had 2 yoga teachers, James and Laurie. There were 11 of us from all over the country: 3 from New York, 3 from Michigan, 2 from Chicago, 2 from Oregon, and 1 from Hawaii. 10 women and 1 man. People ranging in age from 32 to 67, with a variety of careers, and a variety of yoga experience. We were in good hands: one physician’s assistant, one lawyer, 2 psychologists, one medical administrator, one retired teacher, one university professor, one environmental activist, one nurse, one orthodontist, and me. The first morning we learned what drove each of us to come onto this trip. We went around the circle, and people talked about their yoga experience, careers, and reasons for being there. Then it was my turn. I think I said something like, “I am in the “Why Not” stage of my life. I moved cross country, started yoga in January, and now I’m in Bali. WHY NOT?”
We started our day with coffee/tea, followed by yoga. Breakfast followed and included: black sticky rice (complete with gravel), rice cakes (not like the Quaker ones – more like little pancakes) with fresh coconut and palm sugar, amazing fresh fruit like papaya and pineapple. That morning we hiked through the forest to a waterfall. We learned about the native plants and trees including: clove, nutmeg, bananas, teak, bamboo, coffee (arabica and robusti), limes, and more! There were chickens at most homes (just when I thought I would get a break from hearing roosters…). We knew we were going to a waterfall, but it was a surprise for me when we got there. It was a fantastic waterfall.
After the waterfall, as we walked back through the forest, we saw a mother and daughter making an offering – beautiful flowers and ornate offerings. This was just the beginning of our exposure and experience with offerings. On our way back to the cottages, we stopped at a local coffee producing business. A lovely 80 year old man showed us the coffee making process, and afterwards, he gave us samples. He did propose marriage to a few of us, but, unless they other ladies went back, I think we all said no.
The afternoon consisted of yoga and culture lesson (introduction to the language).
The morning routine continued…coffee/tea, yoga, breakfast. Today’s breakfast featured new fruits and other treats (fried bananas, mangosteens, hairy fruit).
Today’s adventure was to drive to an entrance of a rain forest, then take a walk in silence, through the rain forest.
We walked up, up, up (although James promised a “flat walk”) to a temple.
Once we arrived, we ate lunch by a fishing village, and another temple. When we returned to the cottages, we had yoga and our culture lesson (birth order and names).
That night was our last night at Puri Lumbung. They had a special dinner for us, and then there was a performance: gamelan and dance. The music was wonderful, and the dancing was captivating. These young women (and one young man) performed with no teeth showing, and their eyes communicating in amazing ways. It was beautiful.
James charms the young woman in the Joged Dance
Watching the dances was a wonderful way to end our time in Munduk. The next morning we left for the beach. Stay tuned for Part 2…