Oct 2012. Day 9 to 12: Physical vs Spiritual

Oct 2012. Day 9 to 12: Physical vs Spiritual

I awoke before the birds again after a restless night.  It hurts to roll over and I kept waking myself up.  I am a woman with a mission.  My mission today is to find a chiropractor, hopefully a local one as I don’t think I could sit for too long in a car if I had to go to Kuta.  I actually feel fine when I am lying down on my side.  Standing up and staying standing up is the problem. I jump online and do some research.  I think I am on a lead, until I learn this chiro is no longer in Bali.  Damn.  My email bips at me – incoming message.  It’s from the naturopath, who suggests I ring the Yoga Barn to make an appointment, as she believes there are some still free.  No there’s not.  None available until next week, so there goes that idea.  Back to my research – I ring up a number and the receptionist says she will find out if the chiro is available & ring me back.  She rings back about 20 mins later to say I have an appointment at 1pm & she’ll pick me up from the hotel at 12.30. Oh, thank God!

I had a late breakfast this morning, as did a lot of other guests.  None of the comfy chairs beside the fish pond are free.  I have to sit at one of the inside tables that have wooden chairs designed for function rather than comfort.  I am not comfortable through breakfast, but pain does not curb my appetite.  I slowly waddle up the steps to reception and collect my fresh clean laundry.  I make it back to my room, again at a snail’s pace and lie on the bed for instant relief.  I am so annoyed with myself for not bringing any heavy-duty pain killers with me to Bali.  I brought everything else bar the kitchen sink.

My bed becomes my world for the next few hours.  I remove today’s towel animal to lie down. I am grateful I am a techno-geek and easily while away the time on my laptop & iPad.  Yes, I brought them both. At 12.25 I make slow and steady progress to reception to await my ride.  

A pretty young thing (PYT) bounds into reception 10 minutes later.  Funny, I didn’t see a car pull up.  That’s because she came on a motorbike.  My transport is a dink on the back of a motorbike. With a killer back.  OMG! I am going to die.  My vanity still lives to wonder what the bike helmet will do to my hair as I was busily planning my will in my mind!  I could barely get onto the back of the bike – one of the receptionists came out to help steady me.  OK, I am sitting on the back.  I can’t bend to see where to put my feet.  The receptionist helpfully positioned them for me.  I feel like a helpless child and I don’t like it.  PYT is so slender I could probably touch my opposing fingertips around her waist.  I hate her.  Worms? I am picturing the sight we must look.  I send a small grateful prayer to the heavens for the forethought to wear leggings today and a bum-covering top.  Suitable motorbike travel apparel at least. OMG! Here comes the descent down that hideously steep hill.  Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!  Sorry, she shouts and slows down.  Everything passes us along the road as she putts along, trying to avoid sudden swerves and potholes in the road. I am dying to get off, this ride is taking forever.  How much further?

We arrive and there are 2 large couches inside.  I am quick to claim one & lie down.  PTY asks if I would like some water & comes back with a glass of hot water.  Ok, not quite what I was expecting!  She then goes to the desk & returns with a clipboard.  I fill out my details and hand it back.  Oh, you are a nurse! Me too! Instant bonding.  We chat about our respective jobs, me guessing at a lot of the conversation as I only understood every third or so word.  There is a commotion outside.  A convoy of open top VWs (the squarish jeep model) in assorted colours drive slowly past and then come to a standstill.  Horns are a honking & motorbikes weaving in out of the stationary cars.  A few minutes later the convoy starts off again.  There must have been at least 20 of them.  As the last one takes off, the chiro arrives.  He’s probably in his late 50s or early 60s, hippy looking and an American. 

Boy can he talk!  I am pretty quick to decide that he is a wee bit eccentric as he waxes lyrical about a powdered supplement that can reduce heart disease, yadda, yadda yadda. I wonder if its a pyramid selling scheme briefly before I tune out.  He eventually returns to the topic – me, and takes my medical history, mobile no. & email for follow-up he says.  Doh! Why did I then say I am a cardiac nurse, idiot! Off he goes again about the supplement. Oi! Focus!  He starts the actual hands-on treatment, barely pausing to take a breath.  I am not only being tortured physically here!  If I wasn’t in pain I’d be asleep.  Eventually after an hour of pushing, pulling & prodding and nonstop talking he is satisfied.  I am at least standing straight now but walking gingerly with baby steps, so I am satisfied too.  He wants to see me again same time tomorrow. He also took my email address so he could send me some information on the supplement (i.e. spam) & my mobile number for any follow up.  I graciously decline the offer of a lift back to the hotel on PYT’s motorbike and ask if they can call me transport.  Once I’m back at the hotel I book the driver to come back at 12.30 tomorrow to take bring me back there and to take me to the airport on Thursday night.

I have a late lunch at the hotel, beside the fish pond.   Most of the fish are snoozing amongst the water plants.  Sitting for 30 minutes has made me stiffen up even more. I am bent again.  I request a bowl of ice to make an ice pack, tie them up inside a couple of bags and wrap in a damp hand towel.  Bliss.  I have been ordered to rest, no lifting, no heat to the area.  Okey dokey, they are easy instructions for a lazy layabout to follow!  I while away the afternoon on an iPad game and reading my thrilling vampire romance.  It’s too awkward to hold a bag of ice to my back whilst lying on my side.  I found that a semi-frozen flannel works pretty well.

In the afternoon, I ring Optic Wina.  It’s been over a week since I ordered my new glasses  – they said it would only take 4 days.  Our conversation is terminated mid-sentence, courtesy of our Telcos.  I have better reception on my patio, so ring back.  Yes they are in.  Aren’t you going to deliver them to me in Ubud? Yes, I’ll be there after 7pm.

At 6:55 pm I make my way to reception & watch the world pass me by as guests come & go.  I watch for 40 minutes.  I wonder what after 7pm equates to in ‘Bali time’. My stomach is growling and my back is not happy sitting in one position for so long.  Finally, they arrive – a man & the girl who served me.  Apologies, we got lost.  The glasses and payment are exchanged.  I am happy with them.  I check with them that they know how to get home again.  Don’t want them to end up in Singaraja.

From reception, I walk slowly out to the road, looking for Warung Mendez, praying it is close to the hotel.  Yes it is.  Phew!  I sit down on a shockingly straight high back chair and a waitress brought me a welcome drink.  It was orange and bitter.  Pass. I ordered their lumpia to start & then the mie goreng/nasi goreng combo and a glass of pineapple, lemon & ginger juice.  The lumpia was ok, but bigger and more filling than I expected.  I don’t really want my main meal now.  My juice is awful – overpowered by lemon juice, sour and I can’t taste the pineapple at all.  My main meal was less than average too I am sorry to report to the fans of this warung.  The ingredients were very dry and the egg on top rubbery.  It did not even look real, let alone edible. I only ate about a third of it.  I didn’t enjoy the meal at all and was desperate to get out of that uncomfortable chair.  I walked to the counter, paid my bill and left as fast as my ailing body would allow.  Not very fast. Thank God the warung was so close.  I am keening before I make it my room.  I am so sore.  Stop by the fridge on the way past to retrieve the damp flannel I shoved in there before I collapse on the bed. Sigh with relief as I recline and recover.  I am exhausted.  I manage to type up half of my blog one fingered before my weariness got the better of me.  I fell asleep with my electronic devices surrounding me.  I’m guessing it was around 9-9.30pm.  What a nanna.

I woke up again at about 1:30am and did some more typing, playing & reading for a couple of hours before I got tired enough to sleep again.  I took it easy again this morning.  My back has improved a bit – I am no longer bent over, but still sore.  I had to lie down on the bed again for 10 minutes after showering & dressing to recover from that exertion.  I’m still not enjoying this at all.  At 12.25 I am waiting at reception for the driver.  No show. After waiting 15 minutes, I ask reception to ring me a taxi & I ring the absentee driver.  No explanation about why he isn’t here as arranged.  I told him I did not need him to drive me to the airport, I want someone reliable.  The new driver is Badung, who drove me a few nights ago. He gets me to my appointment on time.  I take his business card. PYT is there with her father.  She said the chiro worked on her back yesterday too, so she brought her father in to have a session after me.  There was another woman there, an American who started chatting to me and telling me more about her life story than I needed to know, or wanted to know.  She was delighted with herself as she was on to her 3rd Balinese boyfriend and they keep getting younger. Giggle, giggle. She’s seen the wrong side of 60.  I then discover she is a practitioner at the clinic & was waiting to see the chiro as they had never met.  After waiting 40 minutes I said that I was leaving.  PYT had tried & tried to ring the chiro on his mobile but she couldn’t get onto him.  Unless he is roadkill, I find the waiting with no explanation unacceptable.

I walk down to Indus for a late lunch.  It is overcast today, but there is a nice breeze blowing across the terrace overlooking the river gorge.  I ordered seafood fettuccine in a garlic cream sauce – it was delicious.  As I bent down to my handbag to retrieve my purse, I notice a seam on the bodice of my dress.  Eek! I am wearing my dress inside out!  Exit stage right to the toilet for the fashion emergency.  There was no tag on the dress, so I wondered if anyone had noticed? How embarrassing.  I was going to walk down to the Bintang Supermarket, but again prolonged sitting had stiffened me up, so I took out Bedung’s card & asked him to pick me up.  He already knew about the other driver standing me up, so I tell him about the chiro standing me up too!  It has been a bizarre day. Bedung says he knows a Balinese healer if I am interested. Not Ketut Liyer I ask? No, I won’t take clients to see him. He’s a liar.  He says he knows another healer – a good one if I’d like to see him.  Can we go now? No, in the morning is better – fewer people.  I will cost Rp250,000 as an offering. Ok. Bedung says he’ll pick me up at 9 am tomorrow.  I believe he will show up.  Back in my room, I ring the spa to cancel my treatment booked for the next day.  There is no way I could lie for hours on a table. They were fine with it.

Before embarking for dinner, I get a phone call.  It’s PYT from the chiro’s.  The chiro is there now & wants to know if he can come to my hotel to give me another treatment.  So he’s not dead? No. I am not interested but thank you.  She is very sweet, kept apologising and I kept reassuring her it’s not her fault.  He didn’t even have the courtesy to ring me himself to apologise.  He has both my mobile & my email address, so there is no excuse for being so rude. We obviously do not resonate with the same level of integrity. Be buggered if I’m giving him any more money.

For dinner, I went back to Café des Artiste.  Again, without a reservation.  It was busier tonight.   I had the grilled chicken with pepper sauce which was scrumptious.  I decided to indulge in dessert (shh, don’t tell anyone) and chose the vanilla & strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries & strawberry syrup.  It arrived in a long-stemmed glass.  A very long-stemmed glass.  The rim of the glass was level with my nose.  I had been given a parfait spoon.  Really? Has anyone thought this through? An extra-long spoon to get food out of a tall glass? It’s tall, not long. I’d have to stand up to use this properly! Is this an in-house joke? I had to tilt the glass to access its contents.  They were worth accessing.  I walk down to the main road to get transport home.  For the umpteenth time, the driver doesn’t know where Sri Ratih Cottages is.  I am surprised at the lack of local knowledge I have encountered in Ubud this trip and not just the whereabouts of my hotel, which has been there for years.  Again, I give directions.  I am greeted by the smiling waiting staff as I pass the bar on my way to my room.  On my patio, I am greeted by a whopping big frog.  Or is it a toad?  Probably a toad, as it was more of a toad day today.  He made no attempt to enter my room. Just as well, he is not invited.  Goodnight my prince.

It rained heavily in the early hours this morning & woke me up.  At breakfast this morning our ‘treat’ was yellow rice pudding.  It was a bowl of what looked like grey milky soup with yellow-green rice particles.  Did not look appetising. It was warm, but not to my taste. Badung was waiting for me at reception.  Good man.  He had brought an offering made of woven banana leaf and filled with flowers, just like you see all over Bali.  I asked him how much I owed him for the offering & he said 250,000Rp.  Wow, that’s expensive for a few flowers I said.  Oh no, the money is for the healer, it goes with this offering.  Oh, I said feeling a bit dim.  The drive took about 15 minutes.  Along the way, Badung told me about some of his client’s experiences with the healer.  Sounds impressive.  I am going with an open mind and hoping to meet someone with spiritual integrity.  I have studied spiritual healing for some years though I have never developed the confidence to become a practitioner myself, so I am probably a bit more switched on about who or what is genuine in this realm than the average gullible tourist.  We have a discussion about Ketut Liyer.  Badung says he tells his clients he won’t take them to see him because he tells everyone the same thing, ‘you are pretty…etc’ & he feels sad because it is not right.  He also said that drivers earn Rp50,000 per client if they take them to see him.  He had some Filipino clients who insisted on seeing him because they wanted a photo with him rather than a ‘healing’.  If they insist even after he warns them then he feels he has done his duty and will take them.  Fair enough. We start talking about accommodations & I learn that his brother has a villa.  He shows me the villa’s business card.  I am stunned.  I pored over this property online for weeks until I finally decided it was too far out from the main township for me to stay there.  I reeled off the names of the villas there & it was Badung’s turn to look surprised.  What a coincidence!

We turn off the main street into a large compound.  There is a school next door and the shrieks and laughter of children abound.  We walk to a bale & I sit while Badung goes hunting for some signs of life.  3 dogs come bounding out.  A young Bali dog, a possible shi-tzu & a possible Pomeranian.  They are friendly and welcome some petting.  Another driver arrives with a client to see the healer.  Badung said it gets very busy in the afternoon here.  I hear the dogs being called away.  The 2 smaller dogs obey, the young Bali dog starts to go but changes his mind, earning himself a scold from the healer as he makes his appearance.  He is a tall, thin elderly man with a neat moustache.  He sits on a chair and I take my offering over after a nudge from Badung & place it on the table next to him.  Sit, sit, he says.  So I sit on the reed matting at his feet.  Turn around with you back to me.  So I turn.  He places his hands on my head and starts running them over my forehead, the back of my head and my ears.  He then pinches my ears. Ow! Hmm, your mind is not right.  Too much worry.  He pokes his finger into my ears. Ow! Still your mind.  Ok, lie down.  On my back or on my front, I ask? Back. I scoot down & lie on my back on the mat, with my knees bent.  A pillow, a pillow he says and places something wooden under the reed mat so my head rests on it.  I lower my legs so they are flat.  He hovers above me and says my hormones are finished. Yes, I answer, assuming he means I’ve been through menopause.  Passion, you need more passion. I nod.  It is not the first time I have been told this.  It is a constant theme when I have healings with my spiritual teacher.  She always asks what is my passion.

The healer is sitting at my feet.  He picks up my left foot and pokes & prods the pads of my toes and in between.  He keeps asking if this hurts as he pokes and when I answer no, he says whichever body part he is looking at is ok eg; this hurt-no-heart ok.  Until he hit a sore spot with my liver & lymphatics.  They hurt.  Then he does the spot for my back & I screech and try to pull my foot away.  Owwwwww! Back hurt. Yes. Owwwwwww! Lower back hurt. Yes I hiss, eyes watering.  He lets go of my foot and gently draws symbols of some sort with his hand or a stick.  My eyes are closed & I can feel his touch every now and then.  My heart is thumping and I feel warm.  He goes back to my toes and prods the places that make me yelp.  Not fixed yet, and goes back & draws more symbols.  He did this about 4 times until I stopped exclaiming when he poked my toes.  He sat at my feet and touched the soles of his feet to mine for a bit but I can’t remember the significance or if it was before or after the poking of my toes.  He then went and touched my L) ankle which still bears a scab from my fall in Sanur.  Ankle ok.  He works his way up my L) leg poking away. Knees not ok.  He then poked me on the L) side of my L) thigh.  Owwww! Wait here, you need some oil.  He leaves and I sit up and walk over to retrieve my thongs.  He comes back with a small cellophane packet tied with a knot. Inside is a small square, like a folded KFC refresher towel soaked with bright yellow oil.  He gives it to me and says to apply it to knees, thighs and back between the sacrum and lumbar spine, no higher.  Do it tonight and it will help you sleep.  I bow to him with my hands in Namaste position and say thankyou.  He smiles.

Back in the car, Badung asks me how I feel.  My back is not as sore, I said.  And it wasn’t. But he really hurt when he poked my toes!  I know, I heard you! I asked him what the healer’s name was & to write it and his address down for me for my blog.  On the way back to Ubud we discussed my healing.  We also discussed honesty & integrity versus charlatans in alternative medicine.  Badung pointed out Ketut Liyer’s house on the way back.  I said I believe in karma and wonder if Ketut has enough good karma in his past to stop him coming back as a dog next reincarnation.  Literally a minute later we pass a village sign that says ‘Good karma’ – vet.  I burst out laughing.  The universe has a sense of humour.

Badung drops me off in Monkey Forest Road and I start window shopping again.  I am standing straight and my gait has improved.  My back is not pain-free but has improved a lot. I spot a DVD shop & stock up on a few more.  I love how honest they are in telling me that some I have chosen are not yet 100% without me even asking.  I return them to the shelves. I walk and wander into a few more shops for about 40 minutes and then feel the need to sit down.  I am an obvious target for transport touts – hot, sweaty & walking slowly.  I decline all offers with a smile.  I need to have a seat and a drink so stopped at Tropical.  After reading their menu, I decide to have an early lunch & order their mie goreng with chicken & prawns. It was very nice.  During lunch, I pondered what sort of gratuity I could give the lovely waitresses at the hotel.  Some flowers, chocolates? Straight out money?

I continued to make my way up to the market.  I want to buy a mortar & pestle made from volcanic rock & some tempe to make one of Puspa’s recipes when I get home.  The far end of the market not under construction is busy.  Sheathed knives, sarongs & leather wallets are displayed under my nose for inspection.  No thank you. I wander into a shop that has silver figurines and see a small set of the 3 wise monkeys.  I bargain for them.  They are mine. I ask the stall keeper if there is anywhere I can buy tempe? He asks his mother who disappears & comes back with 2 blocks, one sealed in plastic, the other not.  I buy the sealed packet.  I can’t seem to get across with the language barrier that the other might get confiscated at the airport coming in.  I went down the ramp & head towards where the food stalls were 2 days ago.  They are gone & replaced with craft & souvenir stalls.  I see a stall open down a narrow passageway & buy some blocks of peanut sauce and a small bottle of kecap manis.  The stall keeper gave me a bag of fresh frangipani as a bonus, so I figure I have overpaid.  I leave the hot sweaty environs and took transport home.  While waiting for the driver to fetch his car I spy a Balinese dog in a bad way & tear up.  He is so thin and looks defeated.  Maybe he had some bad karma in a previous life.  I watch him cross the busy street and pray he doesn’t get hit.  I miss my fur babies. Note to self to make a donation to the Bali street dogs rescue charity. A bus full of Japanese tourists pulls up in front of the royal palace.  I have not seen any Japanese in Sanur or Ubud up until now, which I thought was unusual.  Are their tourist numbers dropping off?

Back in my room I still feel hot so decide to have a swim.  In my saggy baggy bathers. It is overcast and muggy.  There is only one other couple on pool lounges.  I grab a towel from the pool pavilion & bag a sun lounge. There is no elegant way of getting into the pool.  There are only 2 steps, which isn’t enough.  So I sit down on the 2nd step and launch myself into the pool.  The water is refreshingly cool.  I paddle around.  I find if I don’t keep moving I feel cold.  My back feels good weightless. My legs look luminescent white under the water.  I suspect that what little colour I gained last week will be gone by the time I arrive home, as I have spent less time outdoors.  Another couple arrive poolside to witness me trying to get out of the pool with dignity and fail. Joy.

I brave the bath again.  Bubbles and all.  My knee is so much better now so it is easier to spin over onto my knees to get out when the time comes.  Good to know I am not a complete invalid.  I fire up my laptop and post my healing experience with my facebook friends.  I hunt down the card which Badung wrote his name down for me.  I check to make sure that the healer’s address is the same and that I have the right person on Google.  Holy crap! His name is Tjokorda Rai and he is famous.  World famous.  He’s 83 and the grandson of the last king of Ubud.  Royalty.  Wow.  I feel honoured.  And I am so glad I didn’t know any of this prior to my healing as I would have had expectations and the experience may not have been the same.  I am very happy with the improvement in my back.  I choose to believe that the Tjokorda Rai helped. Non-believers may not.

Before dinner, I watch one of my new DVDs –  Five Year Engagement.  It’s woeful.  It has rained again but now stopped as I head off for a feed.  I fancy walking locally, so head to the restaurant starting with B where I had stopped in for lunch the other day.  I walk there with ease.  Bayu’s Kitchen.  There is one other couple there.  I order their mie goreng again.  Whilst waiting I have to move tables.  A trail of ants walking along the wall and the edge of my table have detoured to include me.  I am an adventure playground for ants.  My meal was good and I make short work of it and walk back to my hotel.  The road is very dark, but the occasional building light & passing motorbikes light my way. Again, I am ready to spring into action to get off the road if required.

I finish typing my blog and get ready to settle for the night.  The bag of oil Tjokorda Rai gave me beckons.  I sniff the open bag.  It smells a bit like curry.  Not to worry.  I rub it on my knees, outer thighs and lower back as instructed and I am pleased to see my skin is not stained yellow, so it is unlikely to transfer onto the white bedsheets.  Good. 

I slept well & my back felt quite a bit better the next day. It is my last day in Bali and again I am sad to leave but looking forward to my own bed & seeing my 2 dogs again.

Until next time,

Ciao for now.

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