Singapore Adventure

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Channeling Robert Frost
by venitha

In spite of my continually professed committment to relax on this vacation, my first 24 hours in Bali were a whirlwind of 's highlights. I ate gado-gado drenched in spicy peanut sauce, undulated with the rhythm of a , and then slept like a Balinese princess within yards of soft white mosquito netting.

I went for a morning run, a through Ubud's busy, sunny streets followed by a dash through the shady, moss-buried monkey forest. I took photos - aren't I a good friend? - as Sue was accosted by banana-greedy monkeys. I wore my lovely blue sarong and sash into a temple where dozens of men and women prepared religious offerings.

Still, as my highly-recommended lunch of white marlin sushi melted like butter in my mouth, I contemplated my stiff shoulders. Ubud bursts with yoga classes, meditation clinics, spa after spa. But these are not my speed, and so far in Bali, my ears hear only a brazen contradiction: the cak cak cak of the kecak dance [pictured] sounds urgent, and even the gamelan's music is frantic.

Shopping is never the answer, and a quick spin through the fine Puri Lukisan museum convinced me that art, particularly art depicting the just punishments meted out in hell, is no solution either. Back on Ubud's main thoroughfare, I mopped my forehead with my handkerchief, torn. I could backtrack a block to a friendly bookshop cum internet café, or I could continue down the road to the countryside and the walk I had mapped out through river valleys and rice paddies.

In spite of the lovely - relative to Singapore - weather, sweat trickled down my back, and Jim's frequent entering-the-apartment mantra echoed through my mind. Air-con, glorious air-con. Before I'd taken a step toward this undoubted bliss, however, a cloud obscured the sun and a cool breeze beckoned.

I can take a hint, I thought, and turning my back on Ubud, I proceeded toward the road less travelled, hoping it would make all the difference.