From Ubud to the Island of Make Believe, this dot on the map is critical in reclaiming the misplaced mojo that ran screaming after the intensity of the work schedule I picked up last season took hold. In a short time it has become evident that my inner hippie has been stuck and the cool island breezes and easy scene are critical in the dislodging of my mellow groove to swing once again upon the stage of sweet surrender.
Last year, a woman named Fae was a critical factor in my decision to stay at the guesthouse I've chosen. I was basking in the coolness of a large Bintang and a tan woman with short spiky blond hair approached, and selected a prime spot at the pavilion adjacent. In no time she told me of the magical tree house she’d discovered. With one peek my search was over and I booked the unit next to Fae’s. It’s a steep climb up a set of narrow wooden steps and at the top, a large balcony begging to be played on. The bedroom is enormous and filled with large white ceramic tile and ceiling shaped like the inside of a barn with an intricately thatched symmetrical masterpiece hovering overhead. But the best part is the open-air bathroom. The toilet, sink and shower are all wide open to the expansive ever-morphing display of passing clouds of performance art above.
The simple, clean accommodations are what called to me, but it’s the all-inclusive nature of my experience that ultimately garnered my true appreciation. Outside my room last year, in the wee hours of the morning, was an amenity. And no, it wasn’t the bowl of fruit; It was a live crab. I reached the apex of my climb to catch him clawing across my balcony, furtively, scraping and poking at the closed sliding doors to my room. This was preceded the night prior by a hysterical, high-pitched catfight in the thrashing bushes below; it was so horrific sounding Fae insisted we check to see if the cats were dead. I reasoned if they were dead, they’d still be dead tomorrow and left the idea alone. And then came the prayer call. At five a.m. the mysterious howling began. Despite the liberal nature of the island, the primary residents are conservative Muslim. It’s the sound I woke up to every morning in Banda Aceh from multiple directions, overlapping as if emitted in an echoing round.
I sat on the balcony at an hour usually reserved for day’s first twitterings and backed the pieces in to complete the picture. How is it possible for me to be equal distance, in either direction, from my home on the other side of the world and have the ability to identify a Muslim call to prayer, a skill I did not possess until one before? The haunting melody on this island happens to be followed by what could be the sound of a two year old’s tormented sing-songy baby-babble; it goes on forever.
Baby-babble aside, the music of the island is sublime. I’m drinking my weight in fresh fruit juices and following my early morning routine of Yoga and meditation. The sandy beaches willingly share an abundance of eye candy and I’ve just watched five-dozen tiny ants march a lentil bigger than all of them, up a wall. This is precisely what my mojo ordered.
~ by Christine Fowle