Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Perfect Day

What makes a perfect day? For me, it's one where my spirit leads me where I need to go. I may have an agenda but it interlaces with the present moment, until the plan becomes secondary and the river takes me where I need to be.

It begins: I come downstairs from my room, ready to find a motor scooter ride for a late breakfast at Kakiang, the best bakery in Ubud. Agung, the hotel manager, stops his work to chat with me, offers a ride with his wife Made and off we go with three helmets for her, their son Nanda and me.
Made (Ma-DAY) and Nanda

We take the long way round, uphills and down into the jungle ravine and when we arrive, I ask what is her favorite cake, dash in and get it in return for the favor.

My next ride is a short distance past the monkey forest to a bead store. I search for a missing stone for my beautiful pendant.

They direct me up the block to a silver shop. The woman there is friendly and offers to polish the necklace for me and then we find a better clasp. It is a necklace made for tourists but the Balinese like it and comment on its beauty. It is serene and prayerful.  She sends me to a stone shop for the missing piece.

Outside, a man offers me a taxi ride. I decline, but when he reads my t-shirt from the Green School, he breaks out into a song and dance to the words "Bye-bye plastic bags!" I laugh and add "bye bye plastic water bottles" and ask him to do an encore performance for video-- he does! And I can't resist joining in.

This made my day! The other side of his sign said "Taxi"

                               (Not sure if this video will play- hope so)

The stone store is well stocked. I sift through the amethyst bin and find none like the small teardrop stone I lost. I browse the other bins and find a green peridot, so perfectly cut that when I put it in the necklace to see if it fits, the shopkeeper cannot dislodge it -- clearly meant to stay there.

 A short stroll -- passed orchid seller on bicycle, tourist buses, lunch stand and workers -- to my friend Koni's garlanded pathway.

Today, Koni tells me how his destiny was shaped by Bizet's opera "The Pearl Fisher," that it led him to live by the sea in Sri Lanka for years when he was young, in search of this love story come true. But that's another tale, much better than the film "Big Eyes" that we watched afterwards.

A feast with Koni on an earlier visit
It is still light when I leave -- 5:30 p.m. It is dark every night here all year at 7. Equatorial. I meander down Jalan Sukma and savor the street life of this community as the day closes down to night.

I wander into a store with fabrics, see a beautiful old metal Singer sewing machine. After I photograph it, the tailor asks me to take his photo too. I will bring him a copy next week. So easy, so open, so friendly. 

The tailor's wife
His wife gets up to help customers at their fried chicken stand. Many stop to buy it so I get some too.

My perfect day of ends back at home, eating the chicken with the evening star bright in my window, a candle, incense and this page.

Friday, April 17, 2015

7th World Water Forum, Korea - Pt. 1

What an intense and remarkable experience at this week-long event. It was truly international, with panels and presentations were from every continent-- except the coldest one. The stories that were strongest for me -- restoration of the the Upper Jordan River for Jordan, Israel and Palestine; ideas for the food-water-energy nexus; innovations in irrigation that use smart phones to control timing and flow of water.

OK, I have no photos to show yet because I'm posting from my iPod, so this doesn't have the "wow" effect of my usual posts but . . . Wow! I spent 5 days listening, talking, eating with 1000s of other people working for water. Very gratifying. And the range-- from indigenous rites and rights to the World Bank. A rare event.

More in a few days once I leave Korea and go "home" to Bali.