Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oleg Tambulilingan and Bum Injections: A Story of Love and Unlikely Room Service

I What a day and night it has been here at Puri Santrian! Today my Shakti sisters and I enjoyed our final day on Sanur Beach before we shuttle out tomorrow at 9:30 AM for the central mountains to begin our month of immersive yoga training. (Insert "eeeeh!!" sound here). Yesterday, Robyn, Stephanie and I welcomed our sisters Bobbi, Sanovia and Jill who all arrived at the Denpasar airport late in the afternoon. This afternoon, another sister India arrived, from the foothills of western Mass (w00t w00t!) I'm so looking forward to meeting and growing in community with all of our sisters, these women who, up until now for most of them, I've only known via facebook posts and phone calls but with whom I already feel so connected. Four months of reading, listening and reflecting about energy, transformation, and dancing with uncertainty has a way of bringing people close together. Kind of like being trapped in an ontological elevator and the other rando in there lets one rip-- you make eye contact with your people, and huddle a little closer together.We have quite the month ahead for heart huddling! (Plus, I hear there is a dance naked in the rain initiation ceremony ahead, where all of us have to shake our stuff beneath a waterfall as a strict part of our graduation requirement. Toto, we're not at Amherst College anymore! Lord Jefferey would hemorrhage right on the spot on the mere THOUGHT.  Anyway, I can't wait for that one. I might even invite Putu. Just kidding. <Kind of.>)

 By the way, I'm loving ALL my sisters and am particularly relishing chill Jill from Vermont. Jill is the epitomy of chill-- she's rockin in her sixties, glowing in grey hair, and has only just received her suitcase late this afternoon after it was mistakenly held hostage in Hong Kong for Mao's ghost to personally inspect it.  She's been chillin easy in, what she calls (throwback!) a 'camisol' for the past day and soaking it all in as it comes. Tonight, at the traditional Balinese dinner and a show we attended at the hotel's own handy dandy beachside entertainment hall, I asked if I could have one of her balls (the green olivish dessert like ovularities on her plate and we roared with laughter like teenyboppers in a discoteca. We're gonna be pals, me and Jill.

So, about the title of this blog post. I'll start with the cultural snippet.
Oleg Tambulilingan means "Bumblebee dance", and is the typical Balinese dance of love. Here's the words straight from the horse's mouth: "The Bumblebee dance is representative of traditional Balinese Love Story. It is performed by two dancers, one male bee and one female bee, who fall in love in a beautiful and romantic flower garden (I know, you're thinking about Putu, aren't you?) It is a symbolic courtship ritual of two young Balinese in love."

After piling our plates high with pickled vegetables in tumeric sauce, Indonesian Gado Gado (stir fried vegetables with spicy peanut sauce, hard boiled egg and chili sprigs), and Satay (skewers of beef, chicken and fish nuggets), we made our way back to the tables for a feast of sound and movement. A traditional Balinese musical group sat on the floor in wrapped sarongs and beautiful hats. The designs, pattens and textile intricacies here are jaw-droppingly exquisite. The band was decorated in spirals and flowers of gold and mahagony, while the dancers on stage sported bright pinks, yellows and greens. The dancing was MAGICAL. I couldn't believe how precisely the women moved their hands in alignment with every "ping ping" from the xylophone like instruments, the syncopated winking and blinking of their stunningly outlined eyes.

Now, I came to dinner a little late, as I had to deal with this unbelievably pervasive skin rash that has my entire body, save my face, praise Jah, looking like red sandpaper. I went to the receptionist earlier this afternoon to inquire about local medical clinics and they said they'd call the doctor right away to come to my room, that I'd have to wait a couple of days to be seen at the clinic. Not having much alternative, I agreed, thinking it more something from the Oregon Trail era to have a housecall from a doctor, but remembered my travel mantra, go with the flow, and decided to trust.

Sure enough, roughly two hours later, Doctor rang the doorbell of room 377, traveling medkit in hand, and asked how he could help. I showed him my back, my arms, my legs, covered in red dots. He confirmed that it was indeed an allergy, and recommend a hefty shot of cortisone to reduce the irritation and get this allergic reaction under control. I felt medically safe and trusting of this doctor and was happy to make conversation with him as he prepared the sterilized needle. As he loaded the needle with the correct fluid, I moved my hair to the side, clearing my left arm for him. He smiled at me lovingly and gently tapped his bum "Dis one, my dear."

Oh, I thought.

Yes, have to do it here because big shot.

Good thing I have a big bum, I grinned.

Who was this speaking words out of my mouth? I hate shots. I all but ask for a binky and my childhood blanky at home when I have to have a needle injected in me, but when Doctor asked me to lay face down on the hotel bed and lift up my (gorgeous new) dress, I felt tickled to oblige.

Ready, he asked. Before I could sputter "yes" into the pillow I was chewing, I felt a cool tingling then a mild burning on my left cheek, before it spread into utter numbness.

Dat's it!

Bali: the land of courting bumblebees and in-house bum injections, professionally delivered and satisfaction guaranteed. One thing's for sure: the prayer flag of "firsts" here continues to get longer and longer!!

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