Ubud, Bali

Two years working in the remote Yasawa islands of Fiji had left me burnt out and exhausted and the end of a ten year relationship left me bruised and vulnerable. Bali beckoned and I soon found myself locked in the warm humid embrace of the Island of the Gods. The intricate temples, exotic flowers, vibrant art work and lush rice paddys were soothing for my senses: The kindness of the Balinese, the deep spirituality and the myriad of healing treatments soothing for my soul.

I had planned to live up in the hills of Ubud and write a book about my time in Fiji, which had been the most profound and challenging experience of my life, a story that needed to be told. But I quickly realised that I just wasn’t in the right headspace to lead the solitary lifestyle of a writer, I wanted to celebrate my freedom, to travel, meet people and to go a little crazy. My travels led me to Lombok and the party island of Gili Trawangan, a hedonistic little island paradise in a sea of Islam. In Java I explored ancient temples and smoking volcanos. On the island of Flores I learnt of ancient of fascinating cultures and saw Komodo dragons, spectacular coral reefs, emerald green hot springs and the magical crater lakes of Kelimutu.

One year on, I have come full circle and find myself back in Ubud and ready to write. I have just rented a beautiful studio room, the path leading to my house meanders through rainforest, banana plantations and under the canopies of giant banyon trees. As I write this I am looking over rice paddys, palms and banana plantations. I would like to say that I am enjoying the serenity but unfortunately they are building a house next door…….. you cant have everything.

I came to Ubud last week with my friend Jo, an artist from England and we visited art galleries and museums and went for fabulous dinners in some of Ubud’s most beautiful restaraunts. Quite a change from our usual party girl antics on Gili Trawangan where we met last year and reunited this year.

Jo insisted on taking me to the Antonio Blanco museum in Ubud. He was a flamboyant Spanish artist who married a famous and very beautiful Balinese dancer who became the muse for much of his work. His paintings were quirky, exquisite, and erotic, his work ranging from pop art (collages of soap; cigarettes and random writings) to sensual portraits celebrating the female form. He was obviously a great lover of women. I can lay no claim to being an artist or a great apreciater of art but this fascinating museum, complete with huge tropical birds, a picturesque temple and tropical gardens really moved me

 

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