Thursday, March 27, 2008


hello everyone!
the countdown has officially begun over here for our return home. we leave april 8th to head to LA, then back up the 13th of april to Seattle. wow, that's 11 and 15 days respectively. it's amazing that things are finally winding down from this journey..i can remember clearly saying goodbye to my family and our farewell party, and also i think back on all the things we've done and people we've met and places we've been and that seems like a large distance too. i think that time often moves not in a straight line but in waves, ups and downs and sometimes it is quick to get from one point to another and sometimes it takes a long time. 7 months is 7 months but right now it feels both incredibly long and also normal. alrighty, onto other things! other things like...yesterday was my birthday! i missed my family and friends a lot ..and thought back to a year ago having a big party with everyone and dressing up in 3 piece suits with my brother that were hand made in thailand for us (thanks kira!). what a great day that was. i also got a tandem massage from melissa and her friend lynn at aequis spa, which was my top massage experience ever. wow! but yesterday was a little different. i have a group of friends here that i've known for around 2 weeks, and all of them it seems as though i've known them for a really long time. so i was trying to coordinate a party of sorts and in true bali style, where it's near impossible to make a plan and keep it, nothing was really coming of it. so i let the party idea go and just let people get a hold of me as they were ready to hang out, and what developed was really special! we went to a botanical garden that's right outside of ubud, and our friend timshel ended up meeting us there. we walked around orchid houses and pitcher plant gardens (carniverous plants that look like water pitchers which attract insects to dine on) lots of manicured gardens and a small fruit tree and garden section. timshel was all about eating anything there was to find, so following her lead we tried raw spicy chilies, limes, lemons, passion fruits, all of which were completely unripe and which tasted bitter and not good. it was fun though, and we got our daily dose of torrential monsoon rain right as we were preparing to leave. we headed to bali bhudda which gives me a pretty continous feed of baked goods that are some of the best i've ever had. timshel bought me a birthday fresh blueberry muffin which was dynamite, and then we headed down to kafe for some lunch. i had a burger. mmm...burger...... and we just laughed and hung out for a lot longer. then timshel left and melissa and i met a woman who was sitting behind us and talked to her for a while, and then our lovely friend anne marie showed up. she's a peach from denver colorado and we fell for her right away last week and hung out a few times, the last being a great 4 hour lunch. she bought me a fresh slice of apple pie, heated up and it was oh so good. she's an amazing human--being that's so clear and bright and open. we spend another hour with her and then bid her adieu on her journey back to the states. we walked outside headed up the street and then got ransacked by our friend/shop ower meday. we told her it was my birthday and she insisted that i buy something for melissa in celebration. she immediately tied a long patchwork skirt that's really nice and talked herself down from 15 to 6 dollars for it. i didn't want to be left out so i bought myself a pair of bright patchwork pants. i've never worn/imagined myself in anything quite like them...................
we wandered for just a bit and then moseyed back towards our scooter to head over to dinner. as we hopped on the bike there was chloe and liam. we chatted with them for a bit and then all cruised over to lala and lilly's for dinner. we met two friends there, katie and wes, and then the six of us sat down and had a balinese feast! we ordered drinks, 8 dishes, and 3 desserts for us all for the bargain price of 45,000 rupiah each including tip (5 US dollars).. liam and chloe bought me a massage gift certificate, and katie made me a card that everyone signed. they sang me happy birthday and thanked me for being born, which i in turn thanked my lovely parents. then our friend faith showed up too and she gave me one of her favorite books, a candle, verbeena essential oil, and a beaded cigarette lighter holder. wow, i felt so honored by everyone really showing up for my birthday..not just physically. i was so loved and appreciated by really blew me away. and of course my sidekick, my partner in crime hung with me all day, the wonderful melissa. edgy, dramatic, singing whatever song is in her head, speaking truth and smiling and laughing along the way. yeehaw friends, if you've got horses underneath you that are bucking and bronking then have fun with it and make the most of every day!

this is what bali does to life

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


the stones have seen so much rain
vivid green moss grows between their edges
up their carved archway sides
into their open stone eyes
over their wings like a constant wind
dried chlorophyll on the backside
how many doorways can you walk through like this
how many days did they spend
carving a rock
a tree
a bone
into a diety god goddess spirit angel
to watch over
to protect
wearing a checkered sarong
and a fresh flower offering
white rice pressed
to the forehead.

we met a man the other day who has spent four years of his life carving a wooden statue that is one and a half times as tall as carson (and he's still got another large wing and garuda tail piece to go).

i have not found the words in a long time.
i forgot my voice,
like this.
the one that can rhyme and convey
the one that i love
the one that i share open
the window one
the sweet poetry
and flow.
now, it is
looking back
it is
looking out
onto terraced green rice fields
deep with one-o-clock in the afternoon rain water
and duck footprints
and dragonflies with bright red bodies
and intricate effective irrigation systems
and tromping through the trail rivers
after a rain storm
it is
and red hibiscus placed over the ear
rice plants maturing
mantras to bring on the rain
mantras to keep the rain at bay
mantras to raise us up
mantras for the rice
and prayers
it is the same shoes taking me everywhere
it is a little brown freckel on the palm of his hand
waking to the sunrise
wasps flying through our wall windows
red ants
smiles from everyone

Sunday, March 23, 2008


send me an angel...send me an angel....right now

here are some pictures for you...
we took none of them ourselves though :)
some are taken by our friend chloe, and others i just found on this computer or online. there is one of the beautiful women walking down the street with the offerings for the temple balanced on their of the sweet monkey family in the monkey forest here in of the stunning terraced rice fields that we saw on a drive the other of an 'ogo ogo' from nyepi at the bottom of the page...and the rest are views of the ninth house, where we stay: the views from the yoga space, the altar, the outdoor kitchen, the common room, the bench to sit at outside our room. beautiful, huh?!

the places you pass well you carry them with you on the soles of your traveling shoes

oh my god.
you have to try:
mix organic coconut oil
organic cocoa powder
organic palm sugar
(maybe some shredded coconut if you like)
together in a bowl
until it's a nice consistency
then put on a plate into the freezer
let sit an hour
pull it out
unstick from the plate
break in pieces
spread with peanut butter....
the most delicious homemade raw organic dark coconut chocolate ever!!!
(thanks chloe for the idea)
we have watched two amazing movies in bali.
"i know i'm not alone" by michael franti.  he is an american musician who traveled to both baghdad, iraq and israel and palestine to talk with people who live there about what is going on there, for them, for their communities, for their countries.  it is an incredible film and brought me to tears several times.  there's nothing like hearing it straight from the people who are there.
also, "fierce grace" a documentary about ram dass (dad, i think you would love this film).  neither carson or i knew much about ram dass, and it's a beautiful commentary about his life after being stroked, as he says. (after he had a stroke, and how he is finding grace in this experience and sharing it with others).  i also cried during this one. 
twice a month, the yoga barn here in ubud shows inspirational and informative films such as these.  check them out!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

happy spring!

when it takes 25 minutes to load a internet page, it makes it not *quite* as exciting to write a blog post!
i keep feeling at a loss for what to write about on these blogs....maybe because our days are mostly pretty mellow, and when we are traveling around more it seems easier to grasp the juicy things to share about on the blog.  but living here is so nurturing and easy, and we were talking yesterday about how it's the perfect completion for our trip.  yesterday i just stayed home *all day*'s easy to order food from some local restaurants, they drive it over to our place either for free or for 50 cents.  there is an organic restaurant called sari organick on the rice path, and they grow all sorts of heirloom varieties of rice (red rice, brown sticky rice...)  we ordered that for lunch, and for dinner jesse brought back some great local indonesian food from lala and lily's, a restaurant we've only gone to with him and margot (vegetable curry with hard boiled egg, vegetable lawar which is coconut with greens and green beans....tasty stuff) and two big durians to satisfy carson's newly awakened love of durian (i love them too....actually as i write this i am smelling a durian that a woman is eating through the courtyard of this internet place, yum!  you can imagine the scent wafting over me like in those old cartoons.)  the bali durians are sweeter than the thailand ones, and more consistent.  i wish i could take one home for everyone, but they are forbidden on airplanes because of the "horrific stench" (to quote the lonely planet definition of a durian) (though i think they smell lovely).  :)
we may be going to an island with margot and jesse in a couple of days...nusa lombongan, which is down off the south coast of bali.  it would be good for us, as we've just been in ubud the whole time here exept for our volcano excursion one day.  it seems like a lot of people that we meet get 'stuck' in ubud, even when they come here year after year.  it's such an easy place to be, the community, the food, the cost of living, etc.  there are so many beautiful things here....jesse and margot are in the process of buying some amazing pieces of recycled teak furniture to ship home and use for their new home.  there are countless artisans here, everywhere.  almost too much, as we drove a couple days ago up to tagala-long and on either side of the road was shop after shop after shop of hand carved wooden figures, or chairs, or buddhas or bowls or ceramics or paintings, or clothing.  i wish i could help support some of the local people here by purchasing some of their incredible art.  even on our walk in the rice paddy, we came across several little artist studios with the artists sitting there painting intricate pictures of the ramayana, or of various deities, or of the rice fields. sometimes i find it hard to drive and walk by shop after shop of people selling these things, sitting outside the doors, waiting for a traveler to come in and help to support them.  it's hard for us to, as we're at the end of our trip and also we can't really carry anything else in our bags (did i mention how excited we are to unpack our bags for good?!  to wear other clothes beyond the same rotation of items we've had for the past 6+ months?!!!)
since it is both full moon and equinox, there have been so many ceremonies constantly happening.  the other night we drove into town and had to stop for about 10 minutes as literally hundreds of balinese people were walking down the street in a procession.  the women carry these impressive offerings on their heads, stacked with several bunches of bananas, apples, oranges, snakefruit, flowers, all woven within pieces of banana leaf and other plant matter, frangipani, incense smoking out of the top....three groups of men playing instruments in unison, gongs and bells and flutes...all people dressed in their ceremonial clothing, even the cute little girls and boys holding hands with their moms down the street...some people wearing large headdresses of different animal spirits.  at night we hear singing wafting over the rice fields from the nearby village temples as they have ceremony.  last night some friends of made's came over and made our house several new offerings full of fruit, crackers, flowers, incense, etc and put them all over the compound (the cats found one of them and were munching on a cracker as i came down for dinner :)  i love the sense of spirit everywhere, and the reverence for their traditions and rituals.  the touches of beauty everywhere are stunning, and i love how their culture is so alive amongst their daily lives, every day.
tonight is a full moon 'goddess' gathering that my friend chloe is helping to put on...i am going to go to it with faith. it will be nice to spend time with some women!  carson and joke that we are 'carmel', as we've spent soooo much time together we often think or say the same thing at the same time, and barely need to ask each other what we think about something as we already know, or have many moments with each other of 'i knew you were going to say that!'  it's great. 
the weather here is varied but also predictable.  it usually rains once a day, sometime in the afternoon.  we sit up in the third floor yoga space and watch the clouds roll in, deep dark gray with an indigo hue.  the thunder here is the loudest i've heard, and long too.  at night there is often lightening, but it is different than a lightening bolt, just a flash of brightness in the clouds far above.  the clouds are big and puffy and dramatic, with a deep blue sky behind.  at night the frogs by the kitchen call out to each other, we joke that they sound like machine guns, they go back and forth in conversation for hours.  we just got a new puppy at the house, bonnie or boney, his name keeps changing, and he's a new friend to our other dog, kaman.  we tend to spend a lot of time with margot and jesse and made and komong at the house.....two nights ago we had a big dinner there for doug, who left back to the US of A.  it is just so special to have this community here (it feels like we've been here for a long time, though i guess it's already been three weeks!) and to have this time to decompress and relax and enjoy before we come back home (which we are still quite excited for too!)  if anyone reading this has any ideas for work opportunities for us when we get home, send them our way!  we'll need to get on it soon! :)
i feel i'm out of ideas for what to write about...if anyone has any suggestions or questions, please forward them our way!  happy spring to everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


bali bali bali

what to say?  so much happening every day (and slow internet connections) have made it less convenient to write blogs when the inspiration might strike.  i have a good keyboard this time, so i'll just let parts of our experience flow out and we'll see what happens!

we just completed our 4 day adventure at the bali spirit festival.  we chose to just invest in the 4-day ticket price instead of volunteering, so that we could have our freedom throughout the weekend (it was a very good choice).  collectively, we took 14 workshops throughout the weekend....yogic arts with duncan wong, a hollywood-nyc like intensely unique and yang-like instructor; body as musical instrument yoga with ellen watson; a singing class with tina malia; songs of the african sufi class with youssoupha sidibe, an inspirational and powerfully-voiced man from senegal....we all chanted these songs in arabic and walked around in a circle in rhythm clapping and chanting over and over, so powerful; west african dancing class; kundalini yoga with a wonderful teacher named rebecca pflaum...the class itself was so unlike any other yoga i've done, lots of singing and repetitive movements to push you beyond your normal comfort zone, it was so beautiful and ended in us singing a mantra in a circle with anyone who needed healing laying in the center, the rest of us with our palms up...the rest of that day was quite mellow for us as we were peacefully zonked by the class, but we did manage to attend an incredible balinese kecak (like the monkey chat at burning man) circle (or like the clip in the early part of the movie 'baraka') with everyone doing different parts of the 'song' all interlocking, and moving in's hard to explain, but so much fun!; sufi chanting with an INCREDIBLE group called fanna fi allah (they also performed on the stage at night) these people are all americans as far as i know, but they travel to pakistan for at least 3 months a year to study the traditional music there.  they absolutely blew me away, and inspired me with their dedication to this music that they love (much like nusrat fateh ali kahn if you've heard of him).  they used the harmonium and tablas and four voices....the lead singer has vocal control and a vocal range you could not believe.  yesterday carson also went to a  ritual called 'the serpent's path'. today's extraordinary life changing anusara yoga class with ananda leone, who might just be one of the most important yoga teachers i've ever encountered.  the entire class was about breath, and he started it by showing us pictures of the lungs, diaphragm, etc. and telling us about them, illustrating what our true lung capacity could be and explaining how most people only use 10% of their lung capacity while breathing.  we did some breathing exercises throughout the class and both carson and i felt transformed after the class...i wish i could describe it.  he is one of those people who just glows, and as he was describing breath and yoga, you could just see his passion for this work emanating out of him.  he lives in berlin and has two yoga centers there; i hope that i could train with him some day!  today i also went to a seka yoga class taught by a javanese man, nice and centering with more breath work, while carson attended a qi gong workshop with wai ching.  we finished off the day/weekend with an invigorating jivamukti yoga class taught by a woman named lily diamond, who lives in maui.  it was such a great class, so active yet present.  i've been breathing deeply for over five hours today, it feels so good!

we also saw a lot of music throughout the weekend; the favorite being fanna fi allah, but i also enjoyed the traditional balinese gamelan music performances.  yesterday we were both so tired from all day thursday/friday 10am-1 or 2am days of classes and music, that we only went to the festival for three hours.   it was nice to take a break!

as carson wrote last time, we get to stay at the ninth house for a couple more weeks which is wonderful.  we both love margot and jesse, who we live with and get to have breakfast with every morning around the table.  last night we woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a bat flying around the room (!!) luckily we have a mosquito net around the bed, and after it was confused for a while i opened another window and it flew out.

i am loving the balinese people.  we've had some fun encounters, especially one with a woman named made (pronounced ma-day, meaning 2nd born) who owns a shop where carson bought some pants one day.  since she didn't have perfect change, she invited us into the back of her shop and gave us a coca-cola and we talked with her for a while.  she gave us our balinese names there too, as all people born first are named wayan (that'd be me) and 2nd are made (her) and third are nyoman (carson) and fourth, ketut.  it was so sweet to have her saying "sampai jumpa wayan!  sampai jumpa nyoman!" (sampai jumpa=see you/goodbye) as we left the shop.  the women here have the most brilliant smiles; as we ride down our hill in the morning we see them walking in their ceremonial clothing (a little boustier underneath a beautiful long-sleeved lace or embroidered shirt, a sarong skirt, and a scarf around the waist) carrying large baskets of offerings of fruit, flowers and incense to the temple for the morning offerings...we smile at them and they smile back at us so widely. 

we both had balinese massages the other day for an outrageous $5 a piece :)  such a good deal. we went to a woman named daiu that all our friends here see also.  she was so good, perfect pressure, and an amazing abdominal massage included.  we are so charmed by all the local balinese/indonesian products, like raw cacao beans, heirloom varieties of red and brown and black rice, wild honey from borneo, pure essential oils all grown in bali (we just bought an 11-oil set for $14!), local grown coffee, mango jam, papaya jam, banana vanilla bean jam, fresh local vanilla extract, wheatgrass juice, local kombucha, organic farmer's markets, coconut oil, coconut everything, palm sugar....  we want to bring home a separate suitcase of bali food but i'm not sure on the indonesian food export/USA food import rules.  we'll see.  we've found a great cheap restaurant called dewa warung where we literally order three dishes of food, AND two fruit shakes for $3.  it's incredible, so fresh and full of vegetables.  you can definitely choose the extremes here too, there's another place that is delicious and organic but on the higher end of $3-4.50 a plate (seems cheap still, i know, but "expensive" to our asian traveling experience) so it's fun to mix it up.  some of my favorite treats are the 'jajo' we get in the morning brought by kamong, one of the guys that caretakes the ninth house.  jajo is basically anything that's sweet, and the ones we like are sticky or sweet rice (usually black) wrapped in brown paper or banana leaves, mixed with coconut and palm sugar.  delicious!!  coconut everywhere, like a yummy fern/spinach/coconut salad, or fresh coconuts to drink, or coconut bars for dessert, or powdered coconut to sprinkle on dinner.  yum!

i love the flower incense banana leaf offerings everywhere here...i love the sunrises in the morning (even though we have to get out of bed by 8 because the sun is so hot)...i love the rice paddies and the green everywhere...i love it when a volcanic mountain peeks out of the cloud cover...i love the daily dose of rain, and the stars at night...i love 2-week old friends that feel like 2 or 10 year old friends...i love the lightening bugs and the sounds of the frogs at night, their bantering chorus...i love the food (i think i mentioned that before! :)...i love the music, and the sense of community and ritual within the music and just everywhere (like twice last week, there was a large procession of at least a hundred balinese people in full ceremonial dress walking up the main street of town, heading to a ceremony of some sort, with music and all)....and i love carson so much (we've been through so much together on this trip!!! a wild and fun and challenging and illuminating roller coaster) and we are in such a great space with each other now, having fun and being sweet and gentle and loving and growing our community together here and connecting that with everywhere we've been and back at home too.  that's one of my favorite things about traveling, is meeting people and expanding my community out into the world in all directions.  the world is so big, but it's really so small too!  as i realized this this weekend, i watched a band play and realized there was a musician there who i'd also seen and danced to when i was 16....quite nostaligic!

oh i could write more i'm's late though and we are both tired.  it will be nice to just do nothing tomorrow for a while and enjoy our yoga space at home.  i'm sure we'll explore more of bali than ubud in the next 3 weeks too, though it's been so right to just stay in one place for a while after so much traveling around.  i think it might be easter today?! i just realized this, we are quite disconnected from that holiday in this hindu culture!  i hope everyone is having a great day!  the first day of spring is soon!  i bet the crocuses are bursting out of the ground everywhere! (or soon, at least!)

much love!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

read on for possible insights

hey everyone!

how are you all out there? we haven't heard from many people in a while and we'd like to give a shout out to all of our friends and family to write to us and tell us what's going on. we are approaching one month until we are back in the good old pacific northwest, in our opinion, one of the most amazing spots in the world--full of great people, great consciousness, great food, great flora and fauna, and our families. I am excited to come home and sometimes wish it were tomorrow, and then remind myself that soon it really will be tomorrow and to appreciate every moment that i have left on this amazing journey that is. we are gearing up for the bali spirit festival in the way of participants/maybe volunteers. it is a huge production that is happening here with lots of workshops during the day and early evening ranging from west african dance to acroyoga to fire spinning workshops to kirtans and on and on. in the early afternoon and into the late night the gears start shifting a little and it opens into lots of music from around the world and capping with some great dj's from the westcoast for a dance party around midnight. it'll be a pretty sweet event i think.

we are staying out at the 9th house for another 2 weeks, all the way until the 1st of april..and from there probably finding another place to chill out for the last week before we head to LA. I don't really have all that many juicy nuggets at the moment of vivid experiences or insightful inspirations. so for now i'm going to say bye... bye :)


Sunday, March 9, 2008

selamat hari raya nyepi!

(a view from our 3rd floor yoga space!)(the house we live in!!!)

bali is so beautiful. that is really the essence. yesterday we walked all the way into town from our absoultely gorgeous home...down the "duck path", a little trail that winds it's way through and between the rice paddies, past balinese artists with little shops full of their intricate balinese art, "where you from?" "where you going?", sweet conversations, a balinese man weeding his rice field, calling us up the hill so that he can climb a tall coconut tree and pick us a fresh one and cut it open for a dollar and talk to him while we drink it. we stopped off at a all-organic farm restaurant in the middle of the rice paddies and had lunch while the darkest storm clouds i've ever seen came towards us, and were sheltered from the rain while eating heirloom organic red rice and fresh picked salad with avocado and homemade pineapple we walked back after a couple of hours in ubud, the sun set and the clouds were brilliantly highlighted in pink all around. carson turned me around on the spot so i could soak into the 360 degree view of green green green everywhere, terraced rice fields, palm trees holding coconuts, little grass huts for mid-day shade.

the day before was nyepi, the balinese new year (it's 1930 everyone!), a day of silence and staying home and not using any lights at night. it was such a good day, we slept in and just spent time with each other at home. we are living in such a great house with other people, chloe our friend who invited us to bali, and margot and jesse from santa cruz, and doug from canada, and made who is the caretaker of the house, and a couple of other men who also care for the property. we have long breakfasts together every morning of black sticky rice with coconut and palm sugar, or local vanilla yogurt and bali buddha granola, or fried eggs and fresh rye bread toast. really, the food here is as great as we've had on our trip, healthy and fresh, both balinese and western-inspired alike.

(i haven't written in a week, there's so much to say, and this is a sticky keyboard). back to nyepi...that night we all climbed the spiral staircase to the top floor, one of my favorite rooms i've ever been in, a large yoga/dance space with wooden floors and a tall beamed cieling, and watched the lightening bugs blink on and off over the rice fields for hours.

we have met SUCH great people here too, a full community, of new visitors and people who come here every year, and people who live here anyways. one of my favorites is faith, a friend of chloe's...when we met, we both realized we had gone to heartwood at different times, an instant bond! we also love alexandra from argentina, and timshel from british columbia. we took a motorbike trip up through little villages to one of the volcanoes with jesse and chloe, and went to a hotspring down below. we also drove through a village there and had a tour of a temple by a local man who came to chat with us. the night before nyepi was a huge affair in every village here in bali, the locals spend a few days before building big scary monster- like creatures that they hoist up on bamboo platforms and parade through the streets the night before new years. in ubud was a large gathering, at least 20 of these colorfully-handcrafted creatures being carried all around, (the cutest was a big "tom" cat and "jerry" mouse that the men and boys spun around and acted out a fight between, all the way down the street!) live gong cymbal balinese music parade bands following their "ogo-ogo" sculpture, fireworks displays to scare off the spirits (the idea of nyepi is to have a day of inaction so the spirits won't notice anyone here on the island and will just float on past...even the airport closes that day, everything is closed and quiet).

carson just got his head shaved! the last time was in december in chiang mai. i feel so overwhelmed as to what to write about, there's much to share! we have attended a traditional balinese dance and gamelan performance, ridden our motorbike up and down our winding narrow road past temples and little villages, watched beautifully-dressed balinese woman prepare and leave their handwoven flower and rice and incense offerings to all the gateways of the temples, three times a day i think...there are also these offerings everywhere, on the street in special places, outside our gate to our home, fresh red hibiscus flowers placed on all the stone ganesh and spirit statues in our yard...the attention to art and beauty here is amazing, so many artisans: wood carvers, silver smiths, painters, builders, tailors and clothes makers, bread bakers, food cookers, flower offerings, color, green green green like i said. it usually rains once a day but it's warm and hard rain and passes quite quickly. we're here at the tail end of the rainy season.

the bali spirit festival starts in a few days and we're looking forward to it! 4 days of yoga/dance/music/meditation workshops, with concerts in the night time! hopefully we can volunteer half day/attend workshops the other half of the day. we are also looking for another place to rent in afew days, as our room will (sadly) be occupied by another visitor soon. the ninth house is such a special place, my favorite of our trip i think (along with nicola's in italy), but i'm sure we'll find another great place to stay. so much beauty everywhere.

there's so much more i could write, perhaps next time it will flow better when i have a keyboard that isn't so difficult to type on! we'll post some more pictures next time too. i hope everyone is doing well! we're flying back to the US in less than a month now, can you believe it?! the days are going by faster and faster now.

much love!

Monday, March 3, 2008


hello everyone :)
melissa and i have landed safe and sound in bali. the travel day was nice and smooth, transferring planes in kuala lumpur, malaysia (where the petronus towers are)...then heading off to bali. the flights was pretty nice, puncuated by a big storm right near the end of the flight in which we were eye level with lightning strikes that lit up the sky over the wing of the plane. being somewhat afraid of flying, i spooked myself a couple times thinking that the storm was overtaking us when actually it was just the blinking lights on the wing of the plane. we landed, went through customs, and then had someone waiting for us at the airport with our names on a handwritten sign to pick us up. it's about an hour from the airport to Ubud, where we currently's on the hillside of a mountain. the ride was very nice, with our driver telling us loads about the island and giving us a nice friendly welcome. he dropped us at a place called the ninth house, which is a 15 minutes further out of ubud. we parked on the side of the road and then walked another 5 minutes down a brick lined concrete footpath..lightning bugs floating on either side of us. and there was the immaculate place we are staying. it's three stories, with the topmost level being accessed by a winding circular wooden staircase that opens up into a yoga space that is lined with windows that have views of the mountains and rice paddies and a 20 foot peaked ceiling that's bamboo thatched. our room has a four poster bed with mosquito net (very romantic like) and nice windows that look out over the rice paddies. our friend chloe who we met in thailand is also staying at the 9th house and arranged for our taxi and accomodation for us. she made us dinner when we got there, a pumpkin style curry with spinach and local red rice, and we hung out in the outdoor kitchen and talked with her and the creator of the house and some of the other people who are staying there. in bali, it seems as though almost everyone is an artist, and it shows through and through in the 9th. almost everywhere there was some wood carving, or a stone statue, or gardens manicured, or air vents with intricately carved features, or tile work with stones interlaced, or the door that is the entrance to the inner courtyard is a style of metal with inlay carving. paintings everywhere, pottery bowls, utensils that are handcrafted, etc. and at the 9th, every single building material for the art or the foundation or anything, was also carried the 5 minute walk from the street down the stone walkway. i almost started crying when i found this out as it's the most detail oriented house i've ever been in. ahhh...we slept well in our room and i woke up this morning and laid in bed and looked out over the rice paddies and watched people work in the fields, older woman that balanced baskets on their heads and tons of dragonflies buzzing around the air. everything is green, lush, vibrant as it's the end of the rainy season. today we were given a tour from this man doug and his friend from java, an island nearby, to get acquainted with the city. doug is in his 50's, and fell in love with bali two years ago and it changed his life, gave him his life. he was great about showing us around and helped us get a cell phone (!) to use around here so we can get a hold of people we meet.. and then scootered around the city, showed us some of the key places to know including an amazing co-op, a great cafe that we had lunch at (and saw michael franti of spearhead who is playing at an upcoming festival) and the monkey forest..where over 300 macaque monkeys live. we walked through it and fed them bananas and watched them groom each other and nurse their little babies and almost attack people for bananas, but gently peel them when they finally got their incredibly human like hands on them. it was pretty amazing...
in a couple days is the balinese new year, in which their is 24 hours of total silence. no shops are open, everyone stays at home so there are no cars on the road, no working, no gambling.. it is a day that the spirits come down to the island, and everyone is completely silent so that they think there is no one there..and eventually leave after the 24 hours. a time of rebirth, re-energy, a new year! the day before is a huge celebration, and we are going to get sarongs and head wraps to participate with the festivities. they are building enormous figures, 12 feet tall to parade from the soccer field to the temple, and after which they burn them. we're very lucky to be here for the festivities.
also, the bali spirit festival is taking place which includes yoga, dance, and music from people all over the world. we are going to volunteer for that in a week so that we can paritcipate with that as well. we're really excited! we'll be helping out with workshops. you can google bali spirit festival to find out more about it.
all in all, it's been a pretty amazing 24 hours! somehow thailand already feels like a distant memory even though we were there for three months. this place has been really nice to come to for the end of our trip and just chill...enjoy amazing organic food all over the place that's really well prepared (burrito with brown rice, black beans, cheese, guac, sour cream, tomato's, wheat tortilla, oven baked.... steamed veggies with red rice and lemon tahini dressing on top... and to be tried next time, free range burger with caramelized onions and homemade friends..yes!) and an organic farm/restaurant right near our place that delivers! it's really sweet here, and bali the island has so much else to offer...tons of adventures to be had! hope everyone is doing great, looking forward to seeing you all soon! love,

Saturday, March 1, 2008

back in our hot little hands!

we got them back today!! thanks to an anonymous tigerline travel worker who picked them up at our hotel on ko lipe, brought them to the boat...and then thanks to the captain, and then the person that transfered them to the bus in hat yao, and then to the bus driver for handing them to our savior, a woman who works at a travel agency here who was our english/thai language liason and made everything happen for us so that we can really leave tomorrow for bali as planned! we are so lucky!!!!!!!!! there is a picture below of carson holding a boquet of flowers we bought for her in thanks.

today we rented a motorbike and went out into the amazing countryside, towering rock cliffs and formations, like jurassic park or hawaii or just this beautiful place, krabi. we went to a temple where dozens of monkeys roam around and swing from trees and powerlines and wait for bananas to be given to them by tourists. we walked up 1,237 stairs to the top of one of the cliffs (the most physical exercise either of us has had in a long time, not to mention doing this at the hottest time of the day...i was drenched in sweat!) up at the top, though, is a fine reward, a stunning 360 degree view of the area, more rock formations, green expanses, part of the national park, and a view out to krabi town and the sea. there is also an enormous golden buddha sitting up at the top (there's a picture below of carson standing next to it to give a context of the size!), and many other little buddhas and altars and offerings. it was absolutely gorgeous up there, the sky was blue and white clouds and dramatic grey ones too, sun rays illuminating all the golden buddhas. it was well worth the hike up some of the steepest stairs i've ever experienced (picture of that below too).

we rode our bike out into the unknown, trying to find the national park, but finding a little resort out among the trees instead, with some of the best thai food we've had in thailand....panang curry, fried mixed vegetables, turmeric fried shallot rice, and pineapple fried rice served in a pineapple! (picture of that below too :)

we also went to the market again, which we love. there are two night markets in krabi and good food everywhere. we are going to go down to the other one now and have some of our last tastes of thai food, a fresh grilled, salt rubbed, herb stuffed red snapper, phad thai with prawns, mixed vegetables fried, and a som tam salad with cucumber (my favorite!).

our friend chloe arranged for us to be picked up from the airport in bali and brought to the guesthouse she is sounds incredibly beautiful there, and we get to stay for two weeks at least with her and the family that lives there. we are also confirmed to be workshop volunteers at the bali spirit festival for 4 days!

we will be taking off tomorrow to transfer in kuala lumpur on our way to bali...we'll write again after we arrive!

enjoy the pictures!