Saturday, July 4
relaxation and a good dose of...guilt
We have found ourselves in an unexpected heaven, paradise. We expected some heaven, but this is bliss. Three weeks of this? It may kill me.
We're camping out in a house found on Craigslist six months ago. Its a family compound of beautiful proportions, tropical gardens, resident mangy dog, a herd of cattle, roosters in bamboo huts, frogs, snails of mammoth proportions and two chefs! We were a little surprised to find upon arrival that the villa came equipped with an onsite manager, cooks, gardener, 3 cleaners and all the babysitting you can ask for (actually I have to be quite assertive to get the bean back, he gets whisked off quite frequently, i find him eating with strangers, out the front with the blokes and their motorbikes, on the cooks hip while shes grinding spice in the mortar and pestle- babies are hard currency in Bali. 'Just relax, just relax' we keep being told as we pack up after ourselves, try to do our own washing, look after my own kid. Its hard to relax when there are people wandering around cleaning up your own 'mess'. Colonial mistress I certainly fail at. The girls are finding it confronting too, wanting them to go home and be with their own families and let us do our night time dishes. So were struggling a bit. But its beautiful here, friendly and quiet. and were slowly relaxing. The chef, Nunga is a wonderful cook and lovely woman and she has agreed to show me some dishes in the kitchen and to go to the traditional market next time she goes; that's a motorbike ride Im looking forward too! So Im looking forward to learning some wonderful new dishes while we are here. The pic taken is a water spinach and mung bean cooked salad and Balinese chicken with cracked rice. Our first meal here and recalled in this post just for Veggie.
I love the tropics; the incense, the damp, the thickness of the air, the smells of spices wafting, the slightly cloying smell of waterways, the rapid fire language that you cant quite understand, the laughter, the flowers, the colour of the green. My favorite are the delicate plates of offerings made morning noon and night to please the Gods; flowers and fragrant pandanus leaves on flat woven banana-palm bowls topped with a stick of lit incense and a Ritz cracker. These gifts are placed in alcoves, on the grass, on a path, about 20 around the compound at any given time (i think the dog ate the cracker in the pic, else it was one of the kids). We are away from tourist town, located at the end of a long banana palm lined lane and amongst trees and families. Its beautiful, full of ancient culture, tradition and lots of flowering vines and mossy walls. I just have to manage the guilt.