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Friday, 9 December 2011

I live in Denpasar, Bali

I am living in the suburbs of Denpaser, Bali, Indonesia. After a 24 hour journey from Vancouver thru Seoul, Korea, I arrived at 2am on December 2nd on the magical island of Bali. Thanks to Facebook, and my razor sharp networking skills which I learned from my mother, I've gathered together a list of people who live here. Phone numbers and emails of new friends I've yet to meet. I live with 26 year old Dewi Hoek. Although we had never met, but had a mutual friend, she kindly offered me a room to rent in her mothers house. Dewi is stunningly beautiful and probably the sweetest little thing I have ever met. She is Indonesian and Dutch, with perfect light chocolate skin, long golden brown hair, long limbs and delicate features. She kind and thoughtful, and speaks softly and gracefully with a sharp sense of humor. She speaks English, Indonesian and Dutch. I can already tell we will become very good friends!

I arrived yesterday at the house and I was met my Dewi and her boyfriend, Macho. Dewi's warned me that the house is going thru a renovation, so I didn't have high expectations. I was just happy and grateful that she had offered to let me, a stranger, live here. The house is stunning. Traditional Balinese style on the outside, with orange carved stone and a wide entrance with a beautiful traditionally carved wooden door. The interior is wide open and bright, with fresh air blowing through. It is absolutely zen-like with white marble floors and crisp white walls. The best part, something that I believe is very common with Balinese houses, there are two open ceilings which sit atop the indoor garden. When the rain comes at 6am, I can hear it from bed. It woke me up this morning. Monsoon like rain, pouring into the house, watering the beautiful garden.

I fell back to sleep after the monsoon, and awoke this morning just after 830am. A flawless sunny day. I grabbed a towel and placed myself in the sun to the side of the indoor garden and proceeded to breathe, meditate and do some yoga and stretching. Immediately this became my own hot yoga class. I sweat buckets out of every pore of my body. It felt fabulous. Afterwards, a cold shower with a bucket. You see, there is no water in Denpaser between 5am and 11am. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and this is ok. A huge container is filled when the water is flowing, and you do it the old and simple way. I've already begin to enjoy taking the plastic container of water and pouring it over my skin. It is beyond refreshing and somehow more real and natural, because I am doing it myself, and it is not coming out of a piece of metal.

My bedroom is perfect. Quiet and cool with a beautiful new bed, AC, and flowing fabrics hanging from the ceiling. I have beautiful Balinese table, with is dark wood and low and wide. On it, I have arranged a few framed photos, my favorite shells, a globe from my dear friend, and my journal. I also have my own bathroom, which is huge and newly renovated and joined to the bedroom. When the water is on and I can have a real shower, I am next to one of the gardens and the open ceiling. I will be able to feel the breeze and see the sky as I bathe.

Is it just Dewi and who live here? The answer is no! We share the house with an 8 week old puppy named Molly and 2 stray cats. One is named Lucy, the other is to be named. We also share the house with ants, gecko's and a cockroach or two. One big happy family! The neighbors own roosters, which don't just crow at dawn, but 24 hours a day lol. Let's just say they are International Dateline Roosters! They are the animal version of a church clock in Europe, if you have ever been to a small village, you will know what I mean.

Flashing back to yesterday, as I sat in the back of the cab on the way to Dewi's house, I couldn't help but think to myself: This is probably one of the most entertaining and impressive things I have ever experienced. We drove at noon on Friday, which in any city in the world, I imagine, is the busiest time to drive.  Although there are traffic lanes, no one really uses them. And as for rules of the road, there are none. Many cars filled the street, but mostly motor bikes. Motor bikes run the streets here, after all. Some bikes drive behind the cars, but mostly they drive to the side, or right in the middle, against the oncoming lane. If there is no where to go, many take the sidewalk. It is loud and busy and crowded, 1000 times busier than what I experienced in the streets of Thailand. I can't imagine what India must be like. When people honk, they do it in a friendly "Beep, Beep, I'm here" sort of way. You also honk when you turn a corner, because it is most likely there will be a bike careening around the corner right into you.

Who rides these motor bikes? Absolutely everyone. Men with their whole store of merchandise balanced atop their shoulders on perfectly balanced pieces of wood, little old women in high heels carrying baskets of market goods, families of 4, with baby sitting right at the front on the handle bars, without a helmet.

I also saw 4 year olds lighting fire crackers off yesterday just outside the house. Perhaps we worry too much about our children in the Western world? Perhaps we waste too much time obsessing over mundane things in general, and should just enjoy the simplicities of life and have faith in our children to be as they are. The universe is unfolding as it should, so don't worry, people.

I spent a good hour yesterday on the back of Dewi's bike, and man, this chick can drive. We were hitting speeds of 50km an hour last night along the dark street, whizzing past night food stalls, riding the sidewalk and dodging a bat as it dove for a mango tree. I plan to get a motor bike here. I've had a few offers to rent one. Should cost me $80 for the month. The gas, 10,000 Rupiah. About a dollar a day.

Although after proof-reading this, I am beginning to swallow my own words and have second thoughts about getting on a motor bike!! It seems that getting a motor bike is my only option though, as my bedroom is so far from where I will be working in Kuta. 2 hours walking..... An hour on a normal bike.... With a motor bike, 25 minutes. There are no bus's on Bali, and a cab costs about $5 one day, so realistically I should just suck it up and learn to live like a local.

If 10 year olds and grannies can ride these scooters, I surely can. I know I will be the one who is to the side of the road, going the slowest. Perhaps I should get an Indonesian sign on my back: "Warning: New Driver from Canada. Please pass."

My first full day yesterday was a true success. Dewi and I walked Kuta beach and bonded, telling each other about our families and past travels. We were approached twice by young Indonesian boys who wanted a picture with us. So cute. Kuta is the surfing haven for many an Aussie, and many, many Indonesians. It was surreal looking out at the waves, dotted with surfers, and watching the planes come in from the south. I've looked at the map of Bali for more than a few months now, seeing where the beach was in relation to the airport, and so it was truly a neat feeling to be standing on the beach and watching the planes land. It was a feeling of clarity and knowing exactly where I was physically on the planet, in that moment.

After our beach walk, I was drawn to the house music coming from a lounge across the street. There right on the street in front, a dj booth, with young handsome Indonesian guy pumping out the beach house tunes. I had some mix cd's with me, and Dewi suggested I talk to a manager. I introduced myself, and handed him my cd, telling him I had just arrived in Bali and am looking for work DJing, as I will be here for the next 6 months or so. He suggested I get up on the decks right then and there and rock out a mini set. I was ecstatic at this opportunity! This place is probably one of the most sexiest beach lounges I have ever seen, with cabana style seating amidst lush palms and frangipani tree's. In the middle, a pool, turquoise water with tiled dark rock. At the back, 4 post beds covered in flowing curtains and lush pillows and fabrics.

I didn't have my cd's with me, but the Indonesian DJ kindly showed me his tracks. Both him and the manager were beyond friendly. The equipment I was to play on: the newest Pioneers with USB ports. If you DJ or are familiar with tech equipment, you will know what these are. Sexy is what they are! You can play over 2000 songs on one deck. I went thru his tracks. Easy. It was all beach house, lots of Hed Kandi and Miguel Migs. I played for about 45 minutes. I watched my first sunset in Bali mixing beats on the street. People passed and waved and took pictures. I smiled. True happiness. The sun went down and I could see the scads of surfers still out on the golden crested waves. Pure bliss. My email is on my mix cd, so I hope I hear from the manager soon! They have a DJ playing there daily, from the afternoon until 1am, so I am pretty sure I will.

As for communication, there is no wifi in the house. So as a self-proclaimed Facebook addict, and tech junkie, I was a bit disappointed. However I am enjoying the peace of this morning. Doing my yoga having my coffee, and then refreshing myself with the bucket shower. Dewi has an unlimited internet USB stick for her lap top, which she has kindly invited me to use anytime. I will look into getting a cel phone this weekend, something with unlimited international text to keep in touch with my new friends in Bali and with my besties in Vancouver. You know who you are!! A motor bike will give me the gift of freedom and the cel phone, the convenience of communication. I'm sure my mother will appreciate my phone number here, as I am bombing around the streets on a motor bike, won't you Mum?

All in all, I am very happy and very proud of myself that I am here. Getting laid off from my job and breaking up with my boyfriend back in June was a truly blessing in disguise, and just the kick in the ass I needed to listen to my heart's truth and follow a dream I had yearned for so long. I love Vancouver with all my heart, but escaping the rain and dark of winter is only but a decision and a plan of action away. I am a fan of this snowbird / expat lifestyle, and I truly believe you don't have to be retired or rich to attain it. You just have to make a decision, tell yourself everything is going to work out and just go.

Although I miss my dear friends, I know you are just a technology's click away. I have a wonderful, beautiful soul taking care of my kitties. Those are were tagged, sorry if I offended you in this informal post, public post! I am still on Dewi's computer. I will get a new phone this weekend, so we will be in proper contact. Love you guys SO dearly. Special thanks to those who came to my going away party and to those who helped me clean and organize my place the night before I left. You guys, you guys!!

My soul is happiest in the sunshine. I delight in the sound of the palms in the breeze and the smell of Frangipani's in the air. We have a mango tree in the yard, and ate them for breakfast. Life is good when you're living the island life.

I will stay in Kuta for the next little while, play some gigs, make some money and meet some people... then perhaps head North to Ubud, where Eat Love Pray took place and was filmed. I will go raw and do yoga at dawn and dusk and learn how to make jewelry and carve wood. I will write and take pictures. I also plan to video blog my entire journey, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, and share myself and my life here, with you.

*Peace, Love, Foundation, Family*

"The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page."


  1. wow kate. I've just learned so much about you. Hope you stay safe and have a great time. See ya in the summer (maybe).

  2. What an exciting adventure. Takes a special person to be able to just pick up and go. Good for you - all the best and be safe. Looking forward to reading the updates.

  3. Kate, you are there and you are safe. That's all I need to know for now. Your writing is enchanting, just like Bali. Keep exploring and discovering.

  4. Im glad that everything is going as planned.!! Bali sounds like fun and an it looks like an awesome place to be hope you enjoy it.!! I like that you have a Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan pic on your blog, paradise indeed.
    Have fun, wish you all the best Kate.!!

  5. i am living vicariously through you. amazing.