Sunnier Times
in Ubud...
A woman giving her offering.
December 27, 2007

Day started with a downpour – but it didn’t matter because I was indoors learning how to cook Balinese food. I was happy I
picked such a good day for this. But then again, it seems that every day during rainy season in Bali could be a good idea for this.

The class was great. Ketut was our instructor for the four of us in attendance and he was adorable.  We came away with an new
knowledge of Balinese spices and how to prepare them (not the simplest of tasks as there are so many local spices that are
necessary to make the 'basic spice' - but maybe it will be possible to do it justice once I get home). We also came away with an
apron and tons of Balinese recipes. Went to wash hands and saw something that seemed like an impossibility for the past 4
days – a patch of blue sky! We had an hour of class left before I could be off and roaming around Ubud in the sunshine.  We
finished class off with a local black rice pudding dessert (sooo good!) and abrem (local rice wine) cocktail. It felt so good being
able to retire my poncho for the day. Yay!

This was a perfect time to head out to the Monkey Forest. Unfortunately, I saw a sad sight just as I entered. A mommy
monkey was caring for her deceased baby. In a bizarre way, it was quite beautiful and moving…even if it was heartbreaking. It
truly showed right before my eyes how it doesn’t matter if you’re a human being or an animal, losing a baby affects all things
the same. I saw her clinging it close to her as she moved from place to place. I saw her spending minutes petting its head. I saw
her swatting the flies away. I saw other monkeys try to console her. The keepers at the Monkey Forest just let her be. I am
assuming that when she is done mourning, that will be when she will be able to stop clinging to it. The poor little baby was a
blue-ish color. Scary how newborn deaths in monkeys don’t differ too much in looks from those of stillborn humans. Once I
pulled myself away from that situation, I encountered nothing but monkey happiness from that point forward. The little babies
with their little faux-hawks are the absolute cutest. And then there are the grandpa-looking monkeys who seem to exhibit a
mustache and beard. I spent far longer in there than I had planned. What can I say – the place sucks a person in.

From there, I decided to continue my day in the Ubud sunshine by going shopping and buying the things I had my eye on
yesterday. These items would include coasters with built-in cinnamon sticks (hard to explain), a ring and earrings and salad
servers. Ubud was beyond enjoyable to me in the crummy weather – imagine how much I was loving it today!

While on the Ubud streets, I ran across Stacey and Brett from our last hotel. We thought it could be fun to grab a drink later on
tonight. When I met up again with Christine, it turned out she had also run into them and a plan was set to meet them at 9pm.
It was fun hanging out and laughing with them as they are a great couple. Glad we ran into them.

December 28, 2007


Oh, what a beautiful morning,
Oh, what a beautiful ---

Okay, okay. I am going to stop singing now. But I think it was well-deserved with it being the first morning of sunshine since
we arrived in Bali. And as luck would have it, the sun lasted the entire day. Hooray!

We had our last breakfast in Ubud. I had gotten so used to the town that it was sad to say good-bye. But who knows – I’m here
a while longer. There’s a good chance I might go back for another day just for old time’s sake…and possibly for the ginger
pancakes with mango
fool I had this morning.

One thing that did throw me for a loop this morning was when a vendor stopped by my table to sell me an International Herald
Tribune newspaper. Normally I wouldn’t pay any attention. But I happened to glance at the headlines. And then I saw Bhutto
was assassinated. I bought the paper. I didn’t really think it was for real. I am currently reading ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’
and this story seems to tie in with the book. Just a couple months ago I had never heard of this woman. But today I had chills
running up and down my body when I read the story. Somebody who was all about the advancement of people in her country
is now gone. And now almost an entire country’s citizens probably realize their potential freedoms are gone. The book I am
reading is incredible and it really helps a Westerner realize how grave the situation can be in that part of the world.

In any case, I am still in shock over this. I actually have thought about a nice Pakistani family I met while in line for the
Petronas Towers. They were telling me I should come visit them in Pakistan. I am wondering what their reaction must be to
news like this…
Back to Indonesia.
Getting a pre-dinner drink.
Another rice paddy.