Wednesday, 15 October 2008

magic mushrooms???

Wednesday 15th October 2008
it's all about looking for the magic in the world around us. so often we overlook the tiny delicate things of beauty that are right in front of our eyes and if we only stopped for a moment to take them in we might feel all the better for it. i spied this mushroom delicately growing in the garden of my classroom and was just mermerised by its' perfect formation. its' colour almost ethereal, it's shape so defined, it perched precariously on the clay as if struggling for dear life, as if at any second it might drop off. i didn't know anything about it, but when asked was told that it was poisonous if eaten and i wondered how something so fragile, so enchanting could be harmful. but then, isn't that the way of the world. appearances can be so deceiving. we are fooled by the enchantment of others, led astray by the facades that people and things offer us and ignore what lies beneath. such is the intense mystery of magic...and so, this beautiful mushroom will have to be swept away - its' danger eradicated from the very environment it has chosen as home. but i am thankful, that it did not go unnoticed - that its' stunning appearance was captured for a moment and its little bit of magic allowed to work its' way into my vision and for a moment, just a moment, enchant me...

Monday, 13 October 2008

the enchanting magic of the kecak...

Monday 13th October 2008

i'm lost forever in the sound of a hundred men's voices chanting in unison...

i'm captivated by the fire dancing and twirling before my eyes...

i'm mesmerised by many bodies moving together as if one, a sea of perfect choreography...

i'm overwhelmed by the luck i feel at being part of such a special moment, of being surrounded by such creativity and such artistry...

i'm remembering the real reason why i am here and why i love Bali, its' culture and people so much...

such is the intensity of the kecak dance...if you see one and only one dance while here in Bali, make sure it is the kecak dance. a spellbinding dance where the music is made solely by a choir of men's voices. for me the actual dance itself is secondary to the sheer tone and beauty of the men's voices. it is rich, deep and powerful. a music that once enjoyed, you want to hear again and again. my favourite place to see the kecak would have to be in Junjungan...a small village on the outskirts of Ubud. a magical location. definitely not to be missed...

Sunday, 12 October 2008

living next door to Lisa...

Sunday 12th October 2008

so, my next door neighbour is Lisa. Lisa Kusel. And in between being like a big sister, a listening post, a co-conspirator, nurse, friend, advisor, she is also a writer - where DOES she find the time? She has written two books and i recently borrowed them to read.

Other Fish in the Sea, is a collection of short stories revolved around the character known as Elly. I found each story completely absorbing as I followed Elly and discovered more and more about her character and events of her life. It was an intriguing way to get to know a character, sometimes through the eyes of the character and at other times from another perspective. I love short stories too. There is something so incredibly complete about a short story because within a few number of pages one is satisfied very quickly and then gets to repeat the process again and again as they encounter each new story.

Hat Trick is Lisa's second book, a novel this time, revolving around three characters - Peter, Mona and Hannah. Lisa builds up a gripping plot as she interweaves the lives of the characters with one another and tantalises us with flashbacks throughout to help us learn more about the lives of each character and their histories together. i found the book hard to put down as i became engrossed in the lives of the people in the story and i love when that happens.

Lisa, baby, bring on the next one...which will surely be the most gripping read of all ;)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

roti canai in kerobokan - a yummy-licious discovery!

Wednesday 8th October 2008
bumpity-bumpity-bumpity-bump along jl. raya kerobokan the other day...then suddenly...STOP! i spied a sign spelling out the words roti canai & teh tarik - two of my absolutely favourite things to eat and drink. this warung simply HAD to be checked out!

i first fell in love with roti canai in Singapore where it is called roti prata and is basically according to wikipedia...
...the Singaporean evolution of the Indian paratha, a pancake made of dough composed of fat, egg, flour and water. Roti means bread in Hindi, Urdu, most other North Indian languages and Malay, while Prata means flat. It is traditionally served with curry or, more rarely, with sugar or condensed milk. In addition, although consumed at any time of the day by some locals, the vast majority tend to consume it as a late night or early morning dish, particularly at 24-hour outlets.
so in we went to the warung and took a look at the menu...i spotted my favourite roti keju (or roti cheese) and ordered it with a chicken curry. it didn't disappoint. the roti was crisp, not too oily, piping hot and just enough cheese inside to satisfy...

the curry was spicy, flavourful and had a nice leg sticking out of it - which is my favourite part of the chicken!

for drinks, it was vital to order a teh tarik (direct translation pulled tea!) and i wanted the iced variety with cinnamon for that added bit of flavour. the guy 'pulled' the tea right in front of us and it was delicious - creamy, frothy and perfectly spiced.

and i leave you with the guy in you know why it is called 'pulled' tea because it is poured from great height from one cup to another to aerate and create the froth.

you gotta check out this place if you're in kerobokan. it's a must!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

variety is the seaweed of life!

Tuesday 7th October 2008

i was back again at pantai geger over the idulfitri holidays and managed to get up close and personal with some of the seaweed that is farmed there. it was pretty mesmerising - i mean blankets of seaweed just lying in the sun and each blanket an interesting array of greens, purples and yellows. and the smell, the air was thick with it. which i absolutely don't mind because for me the strong smell of seaweed makes me feel like i am back where i the sea.

so i have been thinking a lot recently about variety and specifically about choices. life is full of choices...sometimes too many so that we don't know which one to choose, which one will be right for us and then again sometimes we feel like we have no choice and we are stuck with no way out. ultimately though the seaweed is always greener on the other side of the beach because when we are faced with too many choices we often wish there was just one clear one with a great big, flashing neon sign over it saying 'pick me for instant success!' and yet when we feel we have no choice, we want the plethora of options to just beam across the sky in front of us like a rainbow. oh, we are but such ungrateful beings at times.

do we make wrong choices sometimes? not necessarily 'wrong' choices but rather i like to think of them as 'alternative' choices that are like little side alleys that lead us off from the main path we want to see ourselves following and with a little more thought and extra searching we can get ourselves back to that main path, but along the way we have seen and heard things we never expected, we might have learnt some new skills or made some new friends that we want in our lives and would never have met if we hadn't taken that alternative route. it's all about how you see it, what angle you take it from and how you choose to frame things. i mean, i am by nature a positive person, i try to see the best in everyone and everything. i try to look for the positive in every 'alternative' choice and come out of it knowing that i am a better person for it. it is a constant challenge to view it that way and often i trip up but without these challenges that life throws our way, there would be no opportunity to grow, love, laugh, cry, dance and sing. so with wild abandon i pick a handful of seaweed and look for the variety of life...

Monday, 6 October 2008

bali buddha, kerobokan

Monday 6th October 2008

no trip to kerobokan (or ubud, for that matter) is complete without a stop at Bali Buddha - a health food cafe and shop that serves delicious food that is good and wholesome. so naturally whilst in kerobokan, i had to stop in for a bite of lunch...

for me, it's all about their club sandwich...i love it. chunky cut french fries, served with a way-high staked sandwich that is just bursting with goodies. meat is replaced with tofu, then there's egg, tomato, lettuce and and onion between hearty slices of brown bread. served up with a decent portion of homemade tomato ketchup. getting your mouth around the sandwich is an experience in itself...keeping it together between your fingers is also pretty fun too (but makes for excellent finger-licking closure!) and those french fries...well i just can't get enough of them. it is definitely the most healthy club sandwich i've ever had!

a great drink i tried...the detox! i mean it sounds good already and comes with aloe vera, mint, ginger, lemon and honey. it tastes surprisingly great...i mean sometimes i think these health drinks taste like what i imagine a 'sock' juice might taste like. but this was good...tangy, smooth and definitely drinkable!

raw food seems to be all the rage these days...i guess people are beginning to see the importance of not boiling, frying and grilling the be-jeepers out of everything and bali buddha has recognised this and offer a raw food segment on the menu. so i tried the spring rolls...totally brought me back to my days in Laos, where they eat these spring rolls at just about every occasion. wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with mint, carrots, tofu and vermicelli noodles and served with miso and peanut sauce...these were raw goodness in every gobble!

so one and all, when in bali do as the healthy do and get your skinny backsides down to bali buddha and jump on the health kick! you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

a little corner of heaven!

Thursday 2nd October 2008
so what do you do when a fabulous friend offers you the chance to stay at their amazing villa for your long weekend? say no, that you couldn't possible impose and put them out or instantly accept and take advantage of everything on offer from swimming pool to fully-equipped kitchen, outdoor bathroom to charming garden? if you're like me, then you take the latter option and on arrival praise the gods for the fact that you have dropped into a little corner of heaven. i mean three minutes walk to the beach and the sound of the waves constantly in your ears...what more could one ask for? i'm switching to auto-pilot for now and checking into heaven...over and out!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

selamat hari raya idulfitri

Wednesday 1st October 2008
selamat hari raya idulfitri ma'af zahir dan batin
wishing all those a peaceful idulfitri