A Frog or a Prince?

I’ll start today with a photo of the path from my residence to Hanoman Street.

Yesterday about noon I set out along this path on my initial exploratory excursion with one goal in mind: Find the Yoga Barn! Dewa, son of the owner of this amazing complex where I am staying, gave me a map of sorts and pointed me in the right direction. I just want to go on the record here and say that finding your way in Ubud is 1% map and 99% instinct! At least I knew to turn right instead of left when I got to the street. And fortunately, when I saw Siam Sally’s I remembered from my time here two years ago that I should take the alley beside that restaurant as far back as it goes, enter the arched gateway and WALLAH! THE YOGA BARN! It took me about 15 minutes to walk there going very slowly, taking in all the sights. Today when I return for my first class at 2:00 it won’t take more than 10 min. at the most.

There is a wonderful, organic cafe at the Yoga Barn called Little K. After chatting with the receptionist for a few minutes I made my way down the moss-covered steps, under a tangle of vines, to a platform under a huge thatched roof.

This is a view from my table back toward the kitchen. The next photo is the panorama from my table in the other direction overlooking the construction of a new theater area in the valley below me.

It was beautifully breezy, as it is today, and the cooling nature of the moving air masked the intensity of the sun. I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to pack sunscreen until the need for it became painfully obvious! Actually, just my shoulders are a bit pink. Not bad at all. I will be mindful of my pasty-white skin as I venture out today.

The menu at Little K was impossibly delightful and I finally settled on a smoothie of coconut milk, wheatgrass and other healthy ingredients too numerous to mention. For an entree I remembered loving the raw pineapple, date, nut, porridge. Here’s what they looked like when they arrived at my table.

Every mouthful was a spiritual experience! Absolutely divine! Eating in Bali is an event every time. This morning at the restaurant here at Jati House I was served an egg sandwich on whole wheat toast with tomato and cheese and a plate of sliced pineapple, mango, and banana. The tea tasted suspiciously like pu ehr, the fermented, really expensive tea from Yunnan Province in China. The first time I tasted pu ehr tea I decided it was appropriately named: pooh air! It smelled exactly like a stinky barn! I’ve since grown to love it…interesting what the palate can be persuaded to enjoy!

Returning home I was greeted by my doorkeeper. He’s the strong silent type. I’m thinking he’s maybe Prince Charming turned to stone by some Balinese sorcerer and I need only kiss him and he will return to his human form and live happily ever after. On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for the strong silent type…!

I realize as I sit with my breakfast listening to conversations at the other tables in German, Korean, English Australian style, and Balinese, that over the past few years there have been two words that appeared repeatedly in my writing: Happiness and Freedom. I don’t know how to define either one, but sitting here this morning I am gratefully aware that I have achieved both.

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