Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Round the island and back again!

Hello! What an incredible couple days we shared as sisters on excursion at Mimpi. We took a long bus ride there, ate our brown sack lunches filled with pouches of fried rice (surprise!), tempeh, cucumber and shrimp chips on the side of the road, watching monkeys just meters away romp around squeeling as the waves crashed on the shore in front of us. 

We also stopped at a gas station, where all 22 of us, teachers and guides included, to ooze at the chance to splurge on junk food. Fried cassava chips, guava carbonated beverage, seaweed wraps with sugar and cayenne, coconut milk ice cream-- this is what happens when hungry yogis descend from the mountains to civilization! Needless to say, we all felt ill en route to Mimpi.

Once we arrived at Mimpi (which, in Balinese means "dreams"), our hotel on Menjangan Island, we unloaded our things into the room and made our way down to the hot springs, overlooking the ocean. (I roomed with my sisters Chantelle and Emily, two complete sweethearts who live in Cayman Islands and Australia). We had a full two hours before our posture clinic of kakasana, crow pose, by the pool, so Emily, Minna (another sister) and I set out for the open ocean! We dipped our toes into the saltwater, still and warm and super salty, and dove in. We swam about ten minutes out to a distant dock, where we climbed up a rusty dock ladder spattered with clinging crabs and sprawled ourselves out like starfish to dry in the sun.

After soaking up the sun for a while, we decided to err on the side of adventure and exploration and walk back, a decision which certainly brought what we sought-- adventure, that is. First, we followed the dock to shore, where we came to a path winding through thatch-roof huts and a giant infinity pool, belonging, we quickly discerned, to another resort. No matter! We plunged in, and swam around, standing on tip toes to view the gardens sprawling out towards the ocean. After climbing out, we meandered throughout this enclosed resort for probably 20 minutes before coming to a hole in the wall in the direction seeming like home. I'd foraged ahead, convinced that my solid sense of direction could help us find the way, and called the other two over-- I'd found a way through!

We climbed over spilled bamboo, empty cans and an inert toilet seat to an opening that led to husky voices laughing, to the smell of clove cigarettes, to brown skinned men in cutoff shirts reving power tools and clinking hammers-- a construction sight! And what a sight we must have been for them. Three American beauties in bikinis, walking barefoot over strewn garbage and a toilet seat through the tiny crack in the wall, asking in slow English where the "ROAD" was. They laughed at us benevolently, one man coming over to yank down a bamboo plank to make more of a clearing. I'd maneuvered myself over a rusting can and was on the other side of the toilet but had to tip toe around again to finally make it through without Tetnis, or falling squat down into the toilet. We made it to the road and walked back to Mimpi, laughing the whole way.

Once back at the pool, we played with Crow pose by the pool. It's an edge for me in my personal practice but I'm determined to nail it, and continue making it a part of my daily practice before leaving Bali. So far so good!

We found out at the pool that our co-teacher, Jovinna, had to leave to Singapore in the afternoon, to tend to her sick father. We hope to have her back in a couple of days, but are waiting to hear how things pan out.

The second day at Mimpi, we took boats and snorkel gear out to sea to go snorkeling. This was the most amazing day yet!!!! Blue flippers and oversized masks, Coppertone and crystal blue waters-- it was magical!! The coral reef off the island was so vibrant and alive-- we saw massive blue starfish, iridescent parrot fish swirling shades of aqua teal, orange and purple, and tons of those cool flat stripey black and white and yellow fish, like the rough-around-the-edges fish from Finding Nemo! It was incredible. On our boat ride home, our boat's engine broke and we relied on Bobbi's serious coaching-whistling skills to call our other boat over, who tethered themselves to us before jerry-rigging it back into functionality. As the engine slowly tut-tutted back into action, we started chanting a sweet chant to Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, the remover of obstacles, as our little engine that could made its way through crashing waves back to shore.

Yesterday, I woke early and walked around the village outside the resort walls before we made our way back to Bali Mountain Retreat. I met some amazing women selling whole silver fish in bags and chicken thighs and basil sprigs and bean sprouts in the back of a motor cycle; saw kids running around the playground in white and red uniforms at an elementary school, saw tiny black pigs chasing chickens and dogs; met sweet old men cutting tall grass with machetes by the side of the road. I love these magical, quiet moments, moments of exploration, off the beaten track.

After a morning of walking and exploring I met my sisters back at the resort and had a beachside breakfast of papaya and pancakes and eggs before loading in the buses back To BMR, by way of Bali's only Buddhist temple. We stopped and toured the temple which was simply breathtaking. Statues of Buddha tucked into sprawling trees, immaculate yet simple gardens, expansive space, ornate temples. After loading back into the bus with more cassava chips and coconut water, we embarked en route over half-paved roads back to BMR, with a driver, bless his heart, who 1) spoke no English and 2) had absolutely no idea where he was going. We turned around probably 6 times, and when it began to thunderstorm and were headed down a steep ravine with no guardrails, he started shaking his head and wringing his arms, cursing the rain or himself or all of us in Balinese.

After several stops at the side of the road, familiarizing ourselves with known rice patties and certain houses, we finally made it back to the meeting point where the BMR vans picked us up. We arrived around 7 last night, to a house with no power and laundry that wasn't yet dried (but was today, and smelled clean!! A mountain miracle!!!!), we couldn't have been more ecstatic!! Our sweet loving staff had prepared a delicious meal of eggplant, basil and cucumber salad, rice and tempeh, and we feasted like famished monkeys.

Today we worked on sequencing and assisting, and some last posture cuing before we head into our three day silent meditation (March 13-15). I'm both excited and a little nervous to be in complete silence for these days-- no reading, no writing (no writing!!), no conversation. Just seated and walking meditation, simple meals, being with myself and my thoughts-- a promising, albeit slightly tremble-making prospect. Hopefully the space, silence and clearing will open up space for all the goodness these days have contained to plant and integrate in transformation. Jai Shakti!!!  More updates on the other side of silence, my friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment