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Published: June 21st 2017
Cafe in Ubud
I sat here and had coffee during an afternoon rain. Can you see all the little gekkos warming themselves on the lights? The've got sunshine on a cloudy day!
Geo: -8.51927, 115.263
It's only noon so I really don't have much to report on doing yet, but I'm actively trying to slow down and not gage the success of my day by how many activities I put into it. I've been reading in my Vagabonding book about the new trend of 'slow travel', instead of hitting the town each day with a list of sights, it's about living in the town/village and being with the people who live there; Experiencing the culture and really letting it affect you, rather than hitting the hot photo ops. I'm trying to get the hang of it, but I confess I still did make a little list of things I wanted to do when here at the Internet cafe today. It's a process, right? LOL
I met a really great lady yesterday, Riley, from Montana. She's been in Ubud for a month, traveling solo like me, she is an OT and we had diner together last night. She gave me the low down on all the cool spots to hit here, I might need to stay a month like she did =) (I might not be kidding about that, hmmm) She is staying at the same
guest house as me (I'll upload some pics of it, it's out of this world stunning, used to be the prince's estate). I thought I got a great deal at $40/night, but she told me she talked them down to $25! So I asked the son of the proprietor this morning, and he said he'd ask his Dad and get back to me later. It's incredible to think, but the price includes breakfast too (not continental, a real sit down eggs deal) I just can't believe it.
Bali is not a wealthy island, but Ubud is filled with folks who make money off the tourists, and so they are among the more wealthy of the people here, yet it's still SO inexpensive. I feel a little American guilt for having so much. Looking at my checking acct balance at the ATM it read 56,000,000 - if only that weren't in Rupiah! But still it gives me/you an idea of how wealthy we are by comparison. I'm trying to be generous and modest, I'm not used to feeling like I am so much wealthier than the average person on the street, it's a little uncomfortable. They make $100/month average.
Everyone is SO
polite, and kind. I've not had anyone press too hard for me to buy anything, or ask for handouts. There are taxi guys hanging out everywhere and they politely offer you a ride, and are so gracious when you decline. Another thing I wanted to comment on is the level of respect and kindness everyone here has. Every time I catch a strangers eye in a glance, it is ALWAYS met with the biggest happiest smile you can imagine (unless it's a tourist, blah, why don't they catch the fever too? I have!) But it's more than that, it's more than being polite, it's like the people here have an inherent respect and love for each other, they treat each other with the careful attention that a mother has with a small child. It's really remarkable to watch, and feel - just to be around.
Last night at dinner with Riley, a German couple with their two small sons (like 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 yrs old, I'm guessing) sad down at a table near ours. The baby started fussing when the Mom put him down, and one of the waiters came over snapped his fingers and started making bird
motions with his hands, the kid was totally captivated and quieted right down. The waiter was so happy, he reached down and picked the baby right up, and started walking around their table, bouncing him on his hip like a pro. Then two more male waiters came over and they were all cooing at the baby who was having a great time with all the attention. For the rest of the meal, the men all took turns tending to the kids whenever they got bored or fussy, one even gave him a bottle for the Mom (who was a little nervous with it all at first, but my the end of the meal didn't even look when one of the men came over and swooped up the baby.) I've never seen anything like it, just so much unbridled affection coming from the Balinese, it's washes over the whole place. How anyone could not be happy here is a mystery.
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