My first and last stop was Ubud, which is a hotspot for many things, including but not even slightly limited to:
- Designer clothing (more for women than men from what I could tell)
- Great restaurants
- Cheap, great lodging
- Taxi drivers
- Westerners...lots and lots of Westerners
- Massage Parlors
- 1,246,397,201 scooters
Following are a few things I can speak to, though just like everything I write, I’m only scratching the surface of things. Good thing there are real writers out there doing this kind of thing.
Kecak Fire and Trance Dance
If you get a chance, check this out. It’s riveting, with really cool dancing, chanting, and a dude who dances on burning things near the end. I went twice, and both times someone from the audience got freaked out when the guy starting kicking smoldering coconut husks. I would go again, and I've already been twice.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Level 3 contributor (whatever TF that means) from Tripadvisor wrote a great review which pretty much sums it up:
The walk is not long and it suits everybody. On the way you can see a temple and the ricefields and at the end you have cafes where you can have some lunch. Its a great area where you can go walkibg, running, breath or even just take photos. CR: Tripadvisor
Best Wifi/Food/Ambience/Service Combination?
I used a list from the super cool site Trip Canvas (formerly Meh the Sheep) to find decent wifi: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/bali/fast-wifi-in-ubud/. In the process, I discovered the best one, which is not on the list, but should be now. The Taksu restaurant, which is a place for yoga and other things, won the Ubud Internet race for me. The service is outstanding, seriously. And the food is truly delicious.
Getting a Tattoo in Bali
The artist at Bali Bagus is awesome. I can’t tell you how many times I thought of getting my old sun tattoo removed, or asked friends, family, other tattoo artists what could be done with it, to no avail. The problem turned out to be with me: I didn’t know exactly what I wanted; I just knew I wanted it to look better than it did.
Finally, I came up with a general background that I sent to an artist, which was more than I gave to other artists, but still, in this case, it was a resilient, “hell yes we can do this.” It was a “shot in the dark” ya know; it could have gone very very badly. I stumbled across this place because I was looking for an iPhone case at the iStore across the street (yes, it’s called iStore, not an official Apple thing ya know). Other than that, I would have never even thought to come here. In fact, when I got back into town to have my skin drawing done, I went to the wrong studio because I lost his card. There is a Bali Bagus Studio 99, which is not the one I got my piece of work done at. Google Maps is no help either, as it only pulls up the 99 studio. So I will do my part for the tattoo world and show you where it is:
Location of the Bali Bagus tattoo shop:
This is right across the street from the Ryoshi Japanese restaurant: Jl.Hanoman No 68, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali 80571
A number of people ask me if getting a tattoo hurts. Now, I’m sure you can Google for some awesome insightful answers to how you go about conquering the pain, but I’m still going to throw down my thoughts here. For me, this is how it goes: For the first hour or two, hubris is by my side saying things like “we could do this all day buddy, no problem!” I can read and daydream a bit during phase 1.
Then comes phase 2, which is the pain phase. Ahhhh pain. It’s where the skin starts to get really raw, and the nerve endings feel as though they’ve decided to become streakers and expose themselves all over the place. For me, phase 2 is when the artist starts hitting more sensitive areas. So what do you do?
After a couple hours, you really do feel like saying “okay, stop, stop stop stop. STOP THAT SHIT.” But, my artist was on fire. He was going at my skin as if possessed by the god of tattoo art. I didn’t want to stop because I didn’t want to interrupt his flow, and I thought maybe it would just be worse if we stopped and continued again. I also kept remembering what a friend told me regarding a culture where when a person (I think just dudes, not sure) gets an old school tattoo as a rite pf passage, they can’t show any signs of pain while getting it done. Otherwise, they’re a pussy or something, I dunno, I need to listen better.
In any case, I set out to do just that and didn’t allow myself to so much as grimace. At least, I don't remember grimacing.
How the hell did I do this while it felt like someone was repeatedly driving an ice pick into my chest and between my neck and shoulder blade?
- I stopped resisting on all levels. I didn’t clench my muscles in response to the pain (well, I did but then remembered to try and unclench them). I didn’t keep thinking “stop stop stop motherfucker” even if that particular thought came around more than once. I just acknowledged and accepted what was happening.
- I closed my eyes and tried to just meditate. Don’t get me wrong, thoughts do come, but you just let them come and go.
- At times, focus on the pain, at other times, stand outside of it, as an observer of something that’s going on with your body.
- I’m pretty sure I also had the thought that it was a form of torture, and that I must not give up my secrets that the government has implanted in my brain!
Anyway, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Check that off the ever-expanding bucket list.
Here's how it turned out:
As mentioned in my first post about Bali, Lilicita Inn is pretty damn amazing. It was one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and it was $18 a night. The customer service was outstanding, the room was huge, the bathroom was huge and awesome. Seriously, it was just….freaking great.
I’m pretty sure I sweated out 10 pounds of water weight with each yoga session there.
Ubud is awesome.