Woosh. Out of peaceful sleepy surfer beachland and into shopland and feasts of restaurants and girls waving massage pamphlets boasting $6 massages...and a variety of sumptuous choice. The shopping part is so teasing! Clothes and bags and wooden bowls and carvings and jewelry and furniture and and and. We're at the start of our trip...and so can't commit to carrying much. Despite this, we have finally purchased the long promised new Abbey dress and she and I have both picked up the essential sarong. There are tourists everywhere - all different levels of travel. All business and entertainment in the centre of Ubud is geared toward the tourists - making you feel coddled and comforted, and yet privileged, targeted and unoriginal. Well, the feeling of privilege is hard to escape no matter where you go. I often wonder what the staff think of us lounging around the pool, sipping our luscious juices. And yet... And yet their culture is so rich with ceremony and blessings and spiritual connection, you can't help thinking their souls are much more well-fed. Yesterday, in fact, was the day to celebrate iron. Cars and motorcycles everywhere were decorated with woven palm fronds. Casual but prolific and heart-felt. Reminding you of the deeper pulse of the island, untainted by tourism. Pause to say that as I write this two geckos have come to a standoff above my head. They wag their tails and make a clicking sound until one of them backs down. We have named three geckos in our room - Alec (after Alec Baldwin cuz he's a chubbo) Stringy (cuz I thought he was a piece of string at first) and Starlight (Abbey's choice). Yesterday was our first real venture outside the centre (for this see the post for Sunday May 8). Most days here so far have involved exploring, eating, and swimming. Jammy indeed. Today we got Abbey a month-long library membership and brought home two story collections. Tomorrow we will see if we can find a little preschool that we heard about at dinner when Abbey made a new friend - chatty little Jaz who speaks four languages. They drew pictures together and played hide and seek. The preschool does 2 hrs of crafts and games - much like at home.
Bed now. 10:15pm. Our days start early - woken by an orchestra of roosters and frogs and birds and cicadas and ducks.