Putting police-enforced silence and the demonic effigies out of our minds for the time being, Michelle and I set out to explore Ubud. The best way I can describe this little city is a mixture of tropical island culture and the Northern California spa scene with a twist of East Village glamour. And by scene, I mean scene.
Michelle was instantly annoyed by the conversations we couldn’t help but overhear as we made our way around town….about “spiritual path exploration” and “feeding the light within.” For those of you who have been to Café Gratitude in SF, just imagine what their staff members would have to say about life in an island paradise. (Other than “I am…tan.”)
Now imagine it’s crazy hot out and you’re in a long smoothie line behind said people and you’re trrrrrrrying to talk about Michelle’s impromptu NYC photo shoot starring herself as Mary in a real manger scene. Meanwhile dozens of 20- and 30-something X-pats wearing fitted Michael Franti T-shirts are trading REALLY LOUD updates on their inner work/trust funds.
OK, maybe we were just overheating and unfairly losing our patience, but Michelle was annoyed, and I felt it was my duty to help her. She was headed for a melt down.
Background: On the plane ride over, we had talked about how our trip to Bali was not going to be like the experience that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about in Eat, Pray, Love. Nope--too boring. Not that I wasn’t dying to meet with Wayan (the Ubud medicine woman with an uncanny knack for developing flawless herbal remedies), but we were going to approach our introspection and various healing procedures with some flare.
I thought that now might be the time to figure out what that meant. After some discussion regarding possible titles for our Indonesian adventure, we settled on Slam, Puke, Strip*. Suddenly, Michelle felt a lot better.
*We thought this title would be likely to draw in our target audience, the charmingly irreverent, fun people...once we found them.