We’ve just returned from Bali, having done some research for our upcoming
Yoga and Meditation Retreat on June 3rd to the 13th. (www.back2bali.com)
The Island of the Gods was wonderful and welcoming, clothed in a warm mist, occasionally interrupted by torrential monsoon showers and rays of sunshine. This is the way of the rainy season which lasts from Oct through March.
Each visit, we explore and discover curiosities which I’m sure will both interest and delight you. Here are some of our latest discoveries.
Along the coast, just west of Tejakula, we came upon a weaving cooperative. It’s made up of 11 women who use back looms to weave their cloth. They use only locally grown bark, and roots for the colors of their dyes. Bali has a rich tradition of weaving and this is a type called Bebali. It’s used in life cycle rituals as sarongs, but also in a plain form (without stripes) for daily wear. This is a small workshop, just off the road that we’ve passed dozens of times, but finally had the time to stop and talk.
In the opposite direction from Tejakula, about an hour along the road is the small town of Amed, known for their wonderful coral reefs, snorkeling, scuba diving, and as a center for producing gourmet salt. Amed is the only place on the island that they collect this special grey salt, and you can see the process of collecting and refining it as you walk along the beach.
Another 15 minutes inland is Tirta Gangga (Holy Waters). Gushing springs flowing from beneath and ancient Banyan tree and holy temple fill the myriad reflecting and swimming pools that grace the Water Palace. In 1948 following a tour of Versailles, the Raja was inspired to create this Water Palace in the mountains overlooking his kingdom.
Tenganan is another village known for weaving. They specialize in Endek Ikat or Geringsing (which is believed to have mystical powers). Ikat is only woven in 2 other places in the world, that being Japan and India. The village of Tenganan is a Bali Aga village, and they are the original people of Bali. As such, many of their customs differ from that of the other Balinese. Visiting Tenganan is like entering a time warp, since things are done as they have been for hundreds of years.
In the village of Ubud, we experienced a Tibetan sound massage. This is a form of healing which has been used for over 5000 years. Singing bowls are placed on and around your body and the vibrations produce a massage-like sensation. The tones induce a feeling of well-being and are very effective for deep relaxation. A 90 minute Sound Bath is only about $18.
We also experience some more traditional Balinese massages, and had an afternoon of a Javanese Lulur (which is a traditional body massage followed by a body scrub of turmeric, sandalwood, and rice powder, and exfoliation of yoghurt to eliminate toxins, and a fragrant blossom bath). We were feeling very decadent, and followed this with a cucumber and honey facial, and an avocado cream hair bath, to help replace some of the moisture that gets washed away by the Santa Fe weather.
Next was a visit to Wayan, the healer written about in Eat, Pray, Love by Lis Gilbert. Her services include; a 4 handed massage, a fresh turmeric chaser followed by a healthy therapeutic lunch (good for all that ails you), a reading of your body’s strengths and weaknesses, and an herbal consultation for any medical problems that may have.
For those of you who prefer more of a physical challenge, there is rafting on a level 4-5 river and a mountain bike ride downhill from the top of a volcano, through small villages and rice terraces.
We ended our trip with another massage, a great meal at Batan Waru, and a few hours shopping for gift items for friends. In spite of all our activities, we still found time to read several books, lounge around the pool, work on our tans and stare out into the ocean and dream….