I spent the following week with a group of ladies from Taupo at a retreat in Ubud organised by our yoga teacher. I caught the bus from Candidasa and arrived two hours later in Ubud. It was not as I expected, being much busier and more touristy. When the bus parked at the terminal, a man with a lovely smile asked if I needed a taxi. I did, and he had one – a scooter! I was dubious and couldn’t see how my heavy suitcase would fit on it. No problem! He propped it on his lap and could just see over the top. I hopped on behind and arrived in style at Ananda Cottages, a rather more upmarket resort than my normal standard of accommodation. I suspect their guests rarely arrive on the back of a scooter. The ride was fun, cheap and a much easier way to navigate around the congestion of Ubud town centre. I’m glad I wasn’t driving though.
The rest of the week comprised yoga in the mornings in a ‘bale’ with a view of the rice paddies, and relaxing by the pool, shopping or eating in the afternoons. I spent one entire afternoon at Candida Zest where I had a massage, a facial (bliss!) and a manicure, all for about half the price of a one hour massage in N.Z. I also had the best massage I have ever had in my room, with Ajung, a tiny lady with a lot of strength!
On another afternoon I visited the Pyramids of Chi. These had been built by an Australian who had had a ‘vision’ when meditating. Inside, a variety of gongs were played for an hour and the sound reverberated around the inside walls of the pyramid. The effect of the sound on the listener varies for each individual with some having dreams, enlightenment and/or healing. I just felt very relaxed and kept nodding off!
Some unwelcome excitement arrived in the middle of one night in the form of an earthquake followed by aftershocks. Thankfully for us, the epicentre was in Lombok but the poor people there had already suffered from two big earthquakes in the last few weeks so it must have been very frightening for them. I have never felt such a lengthy, rolling tremor and found it unnerving. There was much reassuring chat on our Messenger group and bags were packed with passports and money just in case we had to evacuate quickly.
In the evenings the group congregated at ‘The Gin Palace’, aka Room 19, at 5pm where much gin was imbibed before we moved on to a restaurant. We were spoiled for choice for places to eat with a large selection and excellent food at a cheap price within walking distance. I can recommend Zest and the Elephant, both of which are especially good for lunch. We had one memorable night at Mozaic, a Michelin star restaurant that had a ‘degustation’ menu. The garden setting was superb, the food outstanding and the company excellent.
We finished the week with a laughing yoga session which was another first experience for me. It is amazing how many ways you can make yourself laugh (and fool the brain into producing more serotonin).
The week went too quickly, and we were soon departing and going our separate ways. In my case, it was to the Bali Silent Retreat.