Ubud totally pampers me in body and soul. I register for yoga at Yoga Barn – a big yoga community in Ubud where you can meet people from all around the word, sharing a peaceful time practicing yoga. Ubud food is equally divine; every lunch time I find myself a leisurely spot in a rice field view restaurant where the view alone is worth the 10 dollars. I enjoy a quiet walk on the roads around the village; treating my eyes with art and beautiful handmade crafts in a thousand shops on both sides of the street while watching naughty monkeys jump from one tree to the other. Sometimes I follow local women that I meet on the street; they are in their traditional dress, carrying baskets of temple offerings on their head to the temple for a Hindu ceremony. Cozy restaurants offer me live music, romantic atmospheres and a comfortable place to watch people walking down the street. At the end of the day, I cover myself in a brocade blanket, allow my mind to follow the sound of the garden’s bugs, and let the sweet voice of Norah Jones seduce my ears “come away with me and I will write you a song”. I never have enough time to answer her; my eyelids can’t wait any longer to close.
I spend my first week doing nothing but enjoying myself, every day, walking on my feet everywhere in Ubud town, discovering new places, new coffee shops, and new mossy-alleys. Everything here in Ubud combines art, spirit and nature; together they make Ubud a special place where you can experience spiritual awakening and enlightenment at the same time.
I completely forget the idea of the beach; the main purpose that brought me to this island.
One morning, sitting in Buddha coffee; savoring my morning coffee and special vegan burger. For the first time in a week, I use my phone and computer, connect to wifi, and catch up to the world again. It takes 10 minutes to load all the emails, social media notifications and emails from colleagues wishing me well on my trip; plus an unwelcome email from my land lord asking me to extend the house contract. A message from Nhung – my close friend, reminds me to take care, not to stay out late, and to be careful with strangers.
I call my Mom who seems so busy between looking after my nephew and cooking that I lose connection just after she asks when I will be returning home; I try to call back but the connection is poor. After many attempts at reconnecting, I lose my patience and slam my laptop shut. As I look up, I catch a pair of striking blue eyes looking straight back. He smiles, shrugs his shoulders and says “Hey, don’t kill the computer, it’s an internet problem” and, not waiting for my reply, he carries on with “Well, that is the only bad thing in this heaven” then he turns his face and waits for me to agree.
Part of me wants to say something to him, just to keep up the conversation, but another part just wants to leave a smile and stop there. For the last week I’ve been used to my own company, all I’ve needed to communicate are smiles – a smile can mean a greeting, acceptance, a thank you and so on; all I need to say are just some short sentences for day to day things.
But now, in this moment when my eyes catch his, some internal desire pushes me to say out loud “Yeah, heaven isn’t as perfect as I thought”. I repeat his word with a smile, and he gives me his hand:
“I am Ethan, what’s your name? “computer killer”?” And I laugh.