Ubud, The Spiritual Heart Of Bali, Indonesia
Sometimes, you come to a place where you feel like you have returned home.
The first time I was in Ubud was nearly 23 years ago, right after my marriage to Jules.
It was a delayed honeymoon and since both of us were working at the time, we came here for only two weeks, which was barely enough time to see all the amazing sights.
We have been to Bali a few times after that, but never for long.
Indonesia only gives visitors a one month entry visa, and usually we go to Indonesia in order to dive, which leaves very little time to visit other parts of the country.
From Lembongan island, we took the fast ferry to the island of Bali.
It took only twenty minutes because the currents and the winds were favorable in our direction.
A taxi took us to our hotel in Ubud.
As we neared this mysterious and wonderful city, I started to get excited.
The streets were lined with wood carving studios, displaying amazing wood sculptures, both modern and traditional.
Wood furniture and stone workshops had their beautiful work overflowing onto the sidewalks.
The air smelled of frangipani, pineapples and mangoes.
Our hotel in Ubud is a true sanctuary.
The design of the room is sublime, and our patio is open to the garden where water flows into the swimming1pool.
Occasionally big monkeys pass through the garden looking for fruit.
They walked right on the edge of the infinity pool while I was swimming in it in the rain, completely unthreatened by my presence.
Our hotel has one of the best vegan restaurants in the city.
The breakfast, which is included in our room rate, can be eaten at any time of the day, and it is fabulous.
From the many choices, I loved the breakfast that featured yellow rice, tempeh and a selection of yummy veg accompaniments.
There are at least a dozen or more vegan restaurants in Ubud, and all other restaurants offer many vegan options.
At ‘Seeds of Life’ restaurant, I loved the vegan sashimi made from sliced aloe vera leaf marinated in soy and lime. It might not sound so good, but it was seriously yummy.
At ‘Sayuri Healing Foods’ they make a sushi dragon roll from marinated papaya that tastes just like, if not better, than a salmon sushi roll (shown in the photo above.)
We looked for a place to do our daily run, which was not easy to find in a small city with narrow streets crowded with people, monkeys and scooters.
A course where we could make a five kilometer walk/run went right through the rice terraces of Ubud, in an area called Bukit Campuhan.
We walked from our hotel to the entrance, and walked past an ancient temple with a big pagoda by a roaring river.
Then we climbed steps and a steep hill to get to the ridge.
People were prepared for this walk, as if they were going for a strenuous hike, and here we were, double or triple their age, planning to run on this path.
The truth is, that almost every time we run, people cheer us on.
Even in Colorado when we run on the streets, people walking by cheer us on.
Here, many passersby looked at us in amazement, and many cheered us on.
Recently, I had a conversation with an elderly friend, who complained about the hardships of aging.
No matter what I say, explain or bring her examples, she refuses to believe that each of us experience aging in our own unique ways.
She concludes that all the things that plague her, come from aging.
If she saw myself and Jules running and skipping like two energetic grasshoppers on the steep hills of the rice terraces of Ubud, when Jules is nearing 74 years of age, perhaps she will finally understand….
But I truly suspect that she will still rationalize it away, refusing to believe that she is just following the hypnotic mass consciousness patterns of our sleepwalking humanity.
Aging and decay are a result of wrong thinking and wrong beliefs, combined with the lack of ever improving physical fitness and the lack of health supporting behaviors.
Running through the rice terraces was so picturesque.
The farmers in cone shaped woven hats were cutting the rice by hand, shaking the bundles into a basket to get most of the grains off, and sifting the grain to get rid of the husks.
There were many places to get fresh juice, coconut water, coffee, matcha or to get a meal.
There were also lots of people walking among the rural shops displaying art, craft, woodwork and clothing.
We had to run a bit longer than the path, in order to make our five kilometer minimum run.
Ubud is truly a fabulous place and it is endlessly exciting for me to be here.
From the rice fields of Ubud in Bali, I send you the intoxicating scent of the frangipani flowers….