Work and play in Ubud

by measuringcoastlines
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I’ve spent most of the past few days getting back into work. I find Hubud a very easy place to be. People are pretty friendly and everyone likes talking about travel – most of us have that in common, though there’s certainly plenty of local Balinese coworkers too. There’s a variety of spaces to work in whether you feel the need for productive quiet or a lively space where you can gab with your neighbours. There’s a tempting cafeteria, and some beanbags to flake out in. I like to set up near the window facing the garden, even though there’s usually a large ant crawling on my keyboard after a while and I have to literally debug my computer.

I’m 15 hours ahead of most of my clients, which means the optimal time to connect with them is unfortunately right upon waking, even though I’m getting up hours earlier in the day than I would in Canada. It’s a bit of a switch from my month at the Krishnamurti Educational Centre where I would get up and have an hour or two for meditation and somatic work, and that would set the foundation for my day. Now I wake up and have to hit the ground running. The tradeoff is that later in the day, I can work completely uninterrupted by emails, texts, or phone calls, or just say to hell with it and take off for the afternoon, because everyone I would normally communicate with is sound asleep. Once I get to India, it’ll be about a 12-hour difference, so that’ll change the schedule up a bit.

I tried to go to a WordPress meetup (not connected to Hubud) but nobody showed. I also went to a PechaKucha night, which was very enjoyable, with speakers from the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival currently taking place. If you’d asked me what I was planning to do in Bali, I don’t think PechaKucha would have crossed my mind! But there’s certainly a scene here, and some terrifically creative and energetic people making it happen.

On the non-work front, I took a batik lesson at ARMA, the museum and garden and cultural space I had been to on Saturday. It was held in the same open hall where the little girls practice their legong dance, so they set the background for my artistic noodlings. My teacher, named Made (which is the name for second-born children), set me up with some fabric and I drew on it in pencil first, then wax.

Made pins my pencil drawing to a frame.

Made pins my pencil drawing to a frame while the wax heats.

Made shows off my wax drawing.

Made shows off my wax drawing. I needed help finishing the tracing, because I spilled really hot wax on my hand when I paused for a moment to assess my work.

I've finished painting my batik. Time for it to dry.

I’ve finished painting my batik. Time for it to dry.

Made coats my batik painting with a gloss to seal in the colours.

Made coats my batik painting with a gloss to seal in the colours, and then boils the fabric to melt off the wax.

I made a thing!!

I made a thing!!

I really enjoyed doing this. It’s the first just goofily amateurish creative fun new thing I’ve done for a while, in a beautiful environment. It felt good.

Matthew will be arriving here on Monday, which will be interesting since he’ll be adjusting to this new reality while I’ve already had two weeks for it to totally be the new normal. (I’m amused to already find myself irritated by those slow-moving tourists taking up the whole sidewalk with their gawking while I’m trying to get somewhere, like I wasn’t doing the same thing a week ago.) Plus he’ll be renting a scooter, which will be nice; I can see a lot of Ubud by foot but I beyond that, can’t get terribly far without hiring a driver or committing to a long sweaty walk.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never command a scooter in a place like this or India. It’s the combination of three things: I have almost no experience driving a scooter, I have no experience with left-hand drive, and I don’t have a knack for the chaotic nature of India or Indonesian traffic and bumpy streets. I don’t have a comfortable grasp on which direction to look or to expect people to be going, and don’t trust myself to make quick decisions while steering a vehicle I’m not used to. I’m pleased with myself every time I successfully cross the road on foot. Matthew, on the other hand, actually prefers the free chaos of Indian traffic to the stuck-in-a-box monotony of North American roads, so he’ll be in his element, and I’ll just be behind him clinging on in mortal terror. But we’ll get to see more of the island!


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