I’m posting part two of my trip to Southeast Asia in lieu of answering this month’s question. But before I begin, I’d like to share something.
In 2018, through different methods, I not only succeeded in managing my body pain, I eliminated much of the pain in my back, hips, knees and feet. It was miraculous.
In 2019, I pledged to heal my spirit. When negative thoughts entered my mind, I observed them without prejudice then released them to the sky as if they were balloons. When I couldn’t, I meditated. Life was beautiful and I was happier than I’d ever been.
In March the pandemic struck, and over time, my resolve wore down and I allowed unhealthy thoughts to affect my body and my mind, threatening to undo all the good I’d accomplished in 2018 and 2019. I let fear seep into my life. I let negativity into my bones, onto my skin, and in my gut. When the riots broke out to the north, I sat in silence, glued to the television. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt useless.
Monday night I woke in a sweat, unable to catch my breath; it was as if someone was sitting on my chest. I walked out onto the terrace, shifting the invisible weight onto my shoulders. The air was thick with heat. I could hear waves rumbling to shore; the occasional sound of traffic on Tepic Highway 200. The moon was small. The palm trees silent.
Nothing profound happened, yet, I felt compelled to stand there and wait. Perhaps because in the past if I was still long enough, some revelation would eventually tiptoe across my mind.
Sure enough. One word. A whisper: “Smile.” And I remembered: it starts with me. I may not be able to cure racism or create a vaccine. But there is something I can do.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Five years ago, if someone I barely knew said they loved me, I was suspicious. When one of my favourite rockstars shouted from the stage, “I love you guys,” my first thought was you’re stoned. That may well have been true, but I’ve since learned that love is universal. It’s not just a word. Love is in our DNA. You don’t have to know someone to love them. You love them because, whether we like it not, we’re connected. We are “one”.
I’m sending love now as I type. I’m doing it even though I understand that not everyone will feel my sincerity. It’s not for me to question why. I’m here as a work-in-progress to say: I care about you. I hope you sense it. I accept you for who you are. When we’re dead, we will recognize each other, and it won’t be because of the colour of our skin or the words out of our mouths or because of the way we died.
Namaste: The light inside of me sees the light inside of you.
Last month I shared my impressions of Manila in my IWSG post. I hope you get a chance to read it. I shared then and I’m sharing now for three reasons. One: I want to share. Two: I want to record my thoughts for my great-grandchildren and possibly their great-grandchildren. Three: If you’re undecided about ever taking a trip by yourself, I hope you’ll reconsider.
I checked out of The Luneta in Manila, on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 16:35 (4:35).
If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, please heed the warning to be at the airport four hours prior to take-off. Ninoy Aquino Airport has four terminals. It really does take four hours to get through the checkpoints. Although I’ve been to the United States many times, I have never experienced the stringent security that I witnessed in Manila. I had only a backpack and a small carry-on. At each checkpoint, they were inspected. I had to remove my laptop and I had to have my backpack weighed. While several gate agents let me pass despite my backpack being a pound over, I wasn’t so lucky by the third checkpoint and had to pay a hefty fee of fifty bucks! Ouch.
Novotel Hotel is in the village of Tuban, a subdistrict of Kuta, a subdistrict of Badung Regency. The area is best known for its stunning beaches. After my upcoming retreat in Ubud, I stayed near the beach where the Indian Ocean meets the path flow of the Pacific Ocean. Yes, it was heavenly. Again–a huge thank you! to Noreen Coley at Paull Travel.
Today, the population of Bali is approximately 680,000, covering an area of 5,780 square kilometres. About the size of Lake Winnipegosis, Canada’s 11th largest lake. The population of Kuta is 200K.
Tourism didn’t take hold in Bali until the 60s, thanks to the Hippies. In the 1830s Kuta was an important slave market that attracted much of the world’s “scum”.
I’m not an excitable person by nature, but I was excited standing in line at midnight, waiting to get through customs. It had been a 3 and a half-hour flight, so my back and my feet felt pretty good.
It was fascinating to see and hear all the different nationalities. I counted 10 different languages in my immediate area. I didn’t take any photos because by then my battery was dead.
I spent only one night at the Novotel Bali Airport Hotel (Bali Denpasar International Airport) and was so impressed, I’m giving it its own post.
I finished with customs shortly before one in the morning. The hotel was there somewhere. I looked for signs. By then I was exhausted and my eyesight was blurry. A young, uniformed gentleman approached and offered assistance. I asked if he could please point me in the direction of the Novotel Hotel. He grabbed my carry-on and my backpack and said he would take me there.
During our ten minute walk, we chatted. He was born in Bali, his family lived in the north, and he saw his mother at least once a month. He worked 6 days a week. I sensed a dedicated, gentle, and kind young man. When we reached the desk, I offered him a tip. Had I been alone, I would have gotten lost; there weren’t a lot of people around at that time in the morning. He thanked me but politely refused. Apparently, security guards aren’t allowed to accept gratuities.
Because I was staying for only one night, I’d purchased a standard room. I’ve no idea why, but the staff upgraded my room to an Executive. I followed my bellhop past the pool. He rolled my carry-on and wore my backpack on his back, and assured me I was going to have a wonderful night’s sleep. He was sweet.
My room! These photos don’t do it justice. I was immediately soothed by the atmosphere. It felt like entering a gaijin house.
He was correct; I had a wonderful sleep. The sheets were OMG!
In the morning, I went for breakfast before most of the other guests were awake.
No, I didn’t eat the pastry. I wanted to!
The food counters just went on and on and on. Most of what was offered, I can’t pronounce. I tried a little of most everything. Where I recognized it might possibly be raw fish, I kept walking. The entire dining area was a wonderful introduction to the delicious world of Bali cuisine.
As for the hotel, I had a lovely time. It’s a beautiful and restful atmosphere. After breakfast, I went outside and took photos. The flowers were spectacular. Monkey statues were everywhere. I learned later why that is. The people believe that many souls are temporarily reincarnated into monkeys on their way somewhere else; so just in case, the monkey temples are there to remind us that there is a spiritual connection them and us. I did see a monkey in Ubud who looked familiar. He strongly resembled my big brother — who I must add is alive and kicking in the Yukon.
All and all, it was a nice day, around 25 Celcius. My driver picked me at noon in a new SUV; I can’t remember what make. The drive to Ubud was fascinating. While there are similarities to Nayarit, I saw architecture, flowers, and landscape like nothing I’ve seen in North America.
Next month I’ll post about the drive, my stay at the Blooming Lotus Bliss Yoga retreat in Ubud, and all the wonderful people I met. There were 26 of us from all walks of life. I may have to make two posts. Lots happened.
IWSG was created by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh — because Alex understands we need a safe place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.
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