02/18/2012 - 02/21/2012 83 °F
We arrived in Ubud (the "cultural center" of Bali) 6 days ago, with reservations at a temple-turned-bungalow compound for one night. Within the first few hours of being in the city, we both knew we weren't going anywhere anytime soon. Perhaps it was the Balinese Traditional Healing Center that fed us Ubud-addictive potion, or the Yoga Every Day at a yoga studio that we rode our motorbike to, or maybe it was just the plethora of delicious restaurants with soft seating.
The Balinese Traditional Healing Center, featured in the (in)famous book Eat, Pray, Love, turned out to be the site of many a crazy experience. Wayan, the healer, and her sixteen-year-old daughter are both amazing women, and I (Annie) spent a good three hours in her humble hut, eating bitter leaves, swallowing root-pills, and having my body balanced. Wayan showed me my brain wave line, which I found pretty funny. It was a frenzy of activity followed by a straight line of nothingness, followed by frenzied activity, and then straight again. For anyone who knows my propensity for hypomanic intellectual activity followed by time off spent lounging like a cat, this made me laugh a whole lot.
After my experience at the Center, Jeremy decided to at least go in for a body reading, which turned into much more than he'd bargained for. He was minding his own business and drinking his turmeric juice, when Elizabeth Gilbert (writer of the infamous Eat, Pray, Love) and her husband walked through the door. Wayan made no sign that this was someone of note besides being a good friend, and Jeremy clearly had no idea who this woman was. For the next 2 hours, they all relaxed around Wayan's coffee table and received treatment (much more than he actually paid for, it turns out), followed by all of them wearing sarongs and being scrubbed down with healing herbal leaves. No big deal, just at a hut/spa with famous people. It was only after he had returned that he realized who they were. What's more, The Gilberts ended up having some great advice for places to go in Ubud.
While in Ubud, I was also able to worm my way into spending some time at the Bumi Sehat clinic, a traditional midwifery clinic just outside the city. I spent a day there, and labored with a woman and her husband along with a really incredible Australian midwife. It was a very different experience from hospital births, closer to those I experienced on Whiteriver Reservation in Arizona. No IVs, no monitors, no medications. I learned accupressure for relieving pain and strengthening contractions, and how to use different herbal remedies. I will say that I would be very nervous being in that room as the one in charge of the maternal and fetal outcomes, but perhaps that's my Western medicine talking. After 55 hours of laboring, the woman squatted onto her sarong and delivered a (seemingly) perfectly healthy baby. Again, no tests, no needles, and no medications.
Lest you think we're getting too hippie-dippy over here, I am still maintaining a healthy brand of skepticism for everything we're learning. But I will potentially be ordering the book "Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra" by Robin Lim, who runs Bumi Sehat. Just for something to think about.
Following are some pictures from the past few days:
One last thing: we have figured out the schedule for our second month of traveling - beaching it in the south of Thailand until March 3rd, spending a few days with friends in Bangkok, then exploring Chiang Mai and the north of Thailand before returning to Bangkok to fly to Tokyo on the 17th. We had planned to go to Laos, but Thailand is such a large and amazing place that we decided we wanted to try to see as much of it as we could. The rest of southeast asia will have to wait till next time