Our Nerve-Wracking Adventure to Ubud, Bali
Driving in Bali
ZOOOOOM, another moped goes racing by! This time passing on the left of this narrow two-lane highway. Here the cars drive on the left side of the road, completely different then what I have been used to my whole life living in the States.
HONK, HONK sounds another moped, as it goes zipping by on the right side of the car and dodges in front of me, cruising into oncoming traffic with a giant truck headed right for it. The red moped holding three passengers calmly gets ahead of the car and cuts back in to take his new position in the highway line. He misses the oncoming truck by inches, yet no one seems upset or worried.
This is the norm for Bali highways…cars, trucks and mopeds passing any which way they can, dodging and dipping in and out of traffic, missing each other by inches.
Here I am with my girlfriend riding on the back of this little blue moped we rented, heading for Ubud on this wild highway, helmet on and hands gripped. Might I add that this was the fourth time I had ever been on a moped, the other three times were just days earlier.
BEEP, BEEP, a big jeep sounds his horn to let traffic know he is coming around this blind curve, so if you’re in his way, you might want to move. That was one thing I thought was great, is the use of their horns was actually for safety. They use them to communicate on the road, and let the others know they are making a move. We do that in the States as well, but I feel a lot more road rage vibe on U.S. roads and highways. By the time you hear a horn, it’s usually followed by a middle finger.
“Left turn coming up!” my co-piolet warns me, giving me time to put on my blinker and safely make our exit off the main carnival ride of a highway. This was our second adventure to Ubud, the first one mostly on main highways the whole way there. We decided to
make it a little less scary this second trip by taking side roads, once we realized Lindsi’s maps function was operational on her phone. It worked great, I focused on driving while she focused on where we were going.
“A right, then an immediate left at the next intersection.” she called as I maneuvered our blue bike into position to follow her direction. One thing was true, you had to be assertive on the moped, a cross between cautious and thunder bolt ready. Otherwise Bali traffic would chew us up and spit us out like a piece of gum.
The Monkey Forest
Monkeys & Acro!
On this adventure to Ubud we had a plan! Go play in the Monkey Forest, go to the Acro jam, and get some delicious food from an awesome place we sampled on our first trip. After about two hours of driving, we made it to the first destination.
We parked our bike, paid for our ticket, and began our journey through the Monkey Forest. So many statues…it was absolutely beautiful, and monkeys hanging off of them everywhere we looked. Lindsi took her phone out first thing, and she began filming and taking photos of all these cute little guys running about. We ventured around, taking Acro pictures and exploring the Monkey Forest for about 2 hours.
Before we made it out of the Forest, we had one monkey try to rob us, well…try to rob Lindsi. She got an up-close face shot of this particular monkey, and he decided to retaliate. He waited till we passed and with our backs turned to him, he leaped out and raided Lindsi’s back-pack.
“Ahhhhh!” she yelped as the monkey held on tight, and tried ripping open a zippered pocket containing some coconut oil in a plastic bag. I tried to scare him off with a flimsy stick, but that only made him turn his beady eyes on me. I knew for a brief moment he considered jumping my way, but instead he reached his tiny fingers into the small opening he had made, and ripped off the top of the plastic bag holding the coconut oil. Satisfied enough, he freed Lindsi’s bag and jumped down, robbery narrowly adverted!
AcroYoga Jam in Ubud, Bali
From there we headed to the acro jam, the second destination on our list. It was held in this sweet place called Radiantly Alive. A beautiful yoga studio, with solid wood floors, and a wonderful design. We both removed our shoes before entering the yoga studio jam space, and once inside, each claimed a cubby and filled it with our bags. The air was moist and hot. I was craving a mild breeze…but there was none. A nice women introduced herself and we chatted about where we were from and how we were so happy to be at the jam to connect with the Ubud Acro scene. We shared some smiles and laughs and then Lindsi and I began warming up.
THUD. A hard fall at the front of the room, a man delivered to the hard wood floor by the unforgiving force of gravity. “Ow.” I thought to myself. I know all too well about the surprise punch of gravity. The fallen man was practicing his handstands along with a couple others. So far at the Acro jam, there was about 6 people in the room besides us, all playing around and warming up. After merely 5 minutes of playing with Lindsi I could ring my shirt out. We were completely soaked. Just pools of sweat trying to find balance with connection points as slippery as black ice.
A Familiar Face in a Foreign Country
I went for a shirt change and when I made my way back to Lindsi, I was pleasantly shocked to see a friend standing there talking to her. This old Acro friend didn’t recognize me at first, and began to introduce herself, “Hi, I’m Gabriella.” I gave her a big smile and said “Hey, I know you!” It had been over two years since we saw eachother last. It was in Portland , Oregon at Divine Play, 2013. We originally meet a few days before that, when we stayed at the same house and attended Pre-Divine, another really amazing Acro workshop.
It didn’t take long before she realized who I was, and we shared a hug and a good laugh. I think we were both surprised to run into each other, all the way across the world, in Bali. Lindsi and I worked on a couple more Hand-to-Hands for the day, then the three of us jammed together. It was really fun, Gabriella would fly on me and show us something new, then Lindsi would fly on me and try it out. I got to double base, and I must say it was fabulous. It helps me to remember transitions when I do them many times in a row.
The three of us being at a similar skill level created a jam session that allowed a fun flow of teaching, learning, playing, reviewing, and laughing. When it was time for us to leave, we passed out a few Lovin Life stickers to Gabriella and the other Ubud Acro community members. We shared some hugs and made our way out, to head to our final destination, FOOD. Two shirts soaked worth of hunger was growling in my belly, Acro was great, but my body was telling me “It’s time to fuel!”
Back home as I type this story, I realize I am so thankful for all the beautiful people in the world. The journeys in and around Bali were amazing, the people, the food, the ocean, all wonderful expressions of life. Seeing a familiar face while traveling through an unfamiliar country, a great example of how connected we all are. A great reminder that you have friends everywhere you go, some that you know, and some you just haven’t met yet. Thanks for taking the time to read this and many blessings on all your adventures.