Published: February 14th 2011February 5th 2011
Kris Before you read - if you are a 'wellness therapist' and/or believe in the healing power of crystals, you might not want to read on. If you do, remember the contents of this blog are the exclusive opinions of the writers....
Ubud has a great location. Nestled in the hills in the island paradise of Bali and surrounded by bright green rice terraces and lush forests filled with tropical flowers, brightly coloured birds and 'serene' (see later) monkeys. The hotels, houses and shops are in the same style as the hundreds of Hindu temples and monuments so it's hard to tell which is which. The shops sell art, sarongs and handmade jewellery and every now and then a local appears in traditional dress to leave an offering of flowers outside their home and business. All this in itself is enough for most visitors.
If you feel run down, stressed and tired of your usual existence, take a stroll in the forest or have a dip in the pool and feel revitalised.
But maybe this isn't enough? Well that's ok because Ubud is also the home of umpteen 'healers' 'wellness consultants' and colonic irrigators.
Well it would be, wouldn't it? Leafy, peaceful towns in South East Asia (and no doubt, in the world in general) are just magnets for people who believe in the health benefits of crystals and the predictive powers of palm reading. Pai, in North Thailand, is another example of a pretty town obsessed with wheatgrass. Just flip open the local English language magazine and you're greeted with a load of bright ads (usually accompanied with a picture of a calm looking middle aged westerner wearing tie-dye) offering detox programmes, usually involving wheatgrass in some way or another. One woman even claims to have both a PhD and a doctorate in "wellness therapy" (although aren't a PhD and a doctorate the same thing). If there is any doubt about treatments just 'contact your local wellness therapist' she chirps. Hmmm. Yeah. Unless you actually have a proper disease when it's perhaps best to consult your doctor. Who has a degree in medicine. Remember, homeopathy is just expensive water.
Just a final note on colonic irrigation. I don't get it. Admittidly, I've never tried it, but the thought of the indignity alone is enough to make me think I'd feel worse after
than before. I've seen Gillian McKeeth give them on 'You are what you eat' and seen participants watch little bits of their own poo float past them down a narrow pipe. And anyways, why are things so much more beneficial if they're pumped up your bum? Anything and everything it seems. Coffee for example. The wellness therapist would discourage you from drinking it - think of the toxins! cardomon coffee is much more wholesome, although with more of a curry taste than a coffee one. But pumping it up your arse with a hose....that's great and is a general pancea against all ills - both physical and mental. Presumably as long as you don't accompany it with milk and two sugars and definately not with a hobnob.
Well, while I relaxed in beautiful Ubud, dispite my outward hippy apearance, I stuck to the tried and tested properties of lager. Served cold in big bottles and imbibed in the traditional old fashioned way. it seems that the colonic route still isn't acceptable in a standard bar, even in Ubud.
Imagine this situation. You're in Asia on one side of a patch of forest and
you want to get to the other side of this patch of forest. The forest is filled with monkeys. It can be any kind you like, but let's for sake of arguement, say that they are long tailed macaques. There are so many monkeys in fact that it is called "The Monkey Forest". Could be worse, it could be "The Tiger Forest" or the "Poisonous And Easily Annoyed Snake Forest", or, heaven forbid, "The Nasty Giant Centipede and Scorpion Forest". But it's not, it "The Monkey Forest" and everyone likes monkeys, right? They're cute and funny and they're "Oh my god, they're just like little people"
. You want to see them close up but obviously you don't want them to climb on you. You don't want them climbing on your head and going through you pockets or pulling down your dress to expose your bra to everyone around and inevitably biting you and infecting you with rabies, (as you know, all monkeys have rabies - we all saw that episode of Bergerac - just like all dogs in foreign countries "don't touch that friendly labrador, Kris, we're in Spain now, It'll have rabies"
Anyway, so you don't want
the darling, rabid monkeys taking too much of an interest in you as you wander through the woods, appreciating the Hindu temples that are scattered about said forest. So, what should you NOT
take with you?
If you thought "You shouldn't take a transparant plastic bag crammed full of bananas"
- congratulations. You're correct. You don't need a PhD in zoology to have an idea that monkeys like bananas. I mean, we all probably learnt that on kids TV before we were more than a year old. It's a universal truth, right? Water boils at 100 C, the Earth goes around the Sun and monkeys eat bananas.
Here we were in the Ubud Monkey Forest, wandering around appreciating the Hindu temples and statues and looking at the cute monkeys -long tailed macaques, in case you were wondering. Pretty impressive to watch take the top of a bottle of water and gulp it back (one that you were advised NOT to bring into the Forest in case the monkeys removed it from you to quench their own thirst). All around us other tourists were carrying carrier bags of bananas that they had bought from
Every day the Balinese put these offerings around their houses and businesses
It's a little bamboo dish with flowers, incense and little bits of food. They're offerings to the Gods.
the women on the gate, who clearly enjoyed a good laugh. Inevitably, the monkeys mobbed the tourists wiht the bananas and inevitably the tourists screamed and yelped and ran around but didn't let go of the bananas.
Luckily, due to my stinginess, we didn't buy any bananas so we weren't mobbed and could look on smuggly at the yelping tourists shouting "Get it off! Get it off!"
Well, stinginess and also that we predicted that the monkeys would all jump on us if we had banagas and obviously, being British, we had a sneeking suspician that they probably all had rabies. At least a little bit.
There are more photos below