Thursday, November 1, 2007

Surf Goddess Retreat - Part 3

On Thursday we had a rest from surfing and went on a cultural tour. We met Joachim, who runs a small tour company, at his family's hotel and stables. Quite the gorgeous place where one can arrange for horse rides in the rice paddies or on the beach. Anyway so our tour began in an air conditioned van (a good thing because Bali is very hot!) and we drove to the region of Tabanan. We were graciously welcomed by the King of Tabanan, Rai Girigunadhi, at his 17Th century palace,where we were invited to join him for iced tea, a snack and a chat. Rai Girigunadhi used to work for the national department of tourism. The country of Indonesia is not ruled by the monarchy from a political sense. We sat with the King and heard his fantastic stories about his travels and trips to California and Hawaii.

After our visit with the King, Joachim turned us over to Yani, a charming local Balinese man, who would be our guide for the rest of the day. One of the most amazing things about Yani is that he speaks Swiss German, not formal German, but the dialect I grew up speaking! Here I am traipsing through Bali, speaking Schweizer Deutch with a Balinese dude!! Amazing and hilarious all at the same time.

Yani and our driver took us further into the hills. As it was full moon, we encountered numerous religious celebrations and processions.
The men, women and children were all in their "Sunday best".

After a bit of a drive through the countryside, we stopped for lunch in a forest clearing close to a little village. The farmer, whose land we were on, prepared a most delicious meal of Balinese food for us. It was amazing to be in such a serene place surrounded by such a variety of fauna and flora. My sister has become an expert in the way of tropical fruit, so I snapped about a million pictures of the local agriculture! All the girls know about her proficiency with exotic fruit so the running joke of the day from Sheila was, "Let's call Carmen, I bet she knows what this is!" It was funny! We even had jackfruit for dessert, which Stephanie pointed out, tastes exactly like Juicy Fruit gum!

After a lovely rest in the bale after lunch, we packed back in the van and drove on. We stopped at the top of a most amazing hill with a tremendous view of the volcano and hiked down the hill through the rice paddies. The steepness of the rice paddies is amazing, its unbelievable to think about the millions of farmers around the world who trek up and down hills to cultivate rice. We crossed paths with a random German tourist, some farmers and some cows. We took tons of pictures and had lots of laughs. Yani truly was a great guide with a stellar sense of humor.

At the bottom of the hill we came to a temple. I am not sure which god or goddess the temple was for but it was spectacular. We covered ourselves with sarongs and entered the temple, where it was just us and a priest. After a look around, we were permitted to join Yani and the priest in prayer and received blessings (like I DON'T already have enough!). I definitely want to learn more about Balinese Hinduism, their rituals are so sacred and so beautiful. Indonesia is comprised of many many islands, all of which are mostly Muslim. Bali is the only island in Indonesia that is predominantly Hindu. After our time at the temple we headed back to our villa in Seminyak and were treated to a class of restorative yoga.

The next few days we continued to surf, do yoga and get our daily spa treatments.

I went on this trip to work on my surfing ability and my yoga practice, but I came away with so much more than that. I came away with the experience of a lifetime that I was blessed to share with five fantastic women. I thank them all - Anne for her grace and calm, Stephanie for her unfailing generosity, Kim for her enthusiasm and chats, Sheila for her beautiful, hearty laugh and Karen for her openness and guidance. Many blessings to you all! Also a million blessings to Chelsea, Melinda and Susan for cultivating the sisterhood!


James said...

Is that... Could it be... I think it is... Wow! she's smiling and showing legs! --- Its a new day! LOL

The pics look great!


Luftyldr said...

"Wow!" is right, James...can't wait to see the pictures of Christina surfing in her bikini...b.t.w.: when DID you learn how to drive???? Tom

Nicki said...

Congratz! Agreed with James - pics are gorgeous (=