About a week before New Year’s Eve I was in desperate need for a break from the chaos of Delhi and seriously needed a reminder of what peace felt like. A couple of days later I received an email with information on a Michael Franti concert on New Year’s Eve in Ubud, Bali… O.k. Bali it is. I know, I know, please don’t make fun of me in that Eat, Pray, Love kind of way … I wasn’t going to Bali to find the love of my life, but I did book my ticket and left 24 hours later. Since we are on the subject of Eat, Pray, Love, I think she was on to something going from India to Bali. The other way around is a quite abrupt. Anyway, when I arrived in Bali I quickly found a taxi and I was on my way to Ubud. A guy on a motorbike leisurely cut in front of us at one part of the drive and the taxi driver quickly apologized for the crazy drivers and traffic … to which I laughed and thought to myself, I really think I have desensitized myself to a lot of things over the last year … kind of like shock therapy. The driver had to pull over to let someone pass from the other lane since the road was so narrow and during this process I heard I noise I haven’t heard in a long time …. the clicking of a blinker. “Wow, this place is REALLY organized” I thought to myself.
The concert was incredible just as I thought it would be (and it was for a good cause! The Bumi Sehat Natural Birthing Clinic). There were about 200 (+/-) people from all over the world, in the rain (and lots of mud!), in the middle of the trees, with fireworks, listening to Michael Franti. Pretty amazing way to start 2011! The rest of the week was one of the best week’s I can remember in a long time … I stayed in this little hotel where I left the doors open each night and feel asleep to the amazing sound of nature at night (so loud it woke me up a few times!). Each morning consisted of fresh juice, fruit and lovely scrambled eggs (which don’t exist in India for some reason, they puff them up with air … weird and still a mystery how they do it), yoga everyday overlooking the surrounding rice patties, and days were filled with walks, great conversations with new friends, many books and “oh there you are“… Peace.
I was a little apprehensive about going on this trip so last-minute by myself, but now I cannot imagine having not gone. It’s amazing the type of impact 10-days of traveling can have. Truly amazing. Thank you Bali for all of the smiles, the beauty, and most of all for a feeling of peace that I had forgotten. Truly, if it’s ever a question about traveling or not traveling … there is always one answer … travel!
Recommendations for Ubud:
- www.purigarden-hotel.com - Great location in the middle of town
- www.karsabungalow.com - About $50/night including taxes and breakfast (Super nice staff!) about a five-minute walk to the Yoga Barn
- Clear Cafe LA meets Ubud. Amazing food (everything I have had is great!) and maybe the world’s best carrot cake.
- www.balibuddha.com Bali Budda - Great Cheese and Basil Omlete. They also have extraordinary fresh juices, baked goods and psychic readings.
- www.theyogabarn.com – Daily Walk-in Yoga Classes
- www.tacocasabali.blogspot.com - Great Shrimp Tacos & Margaritas!
- You must eat at Sari Organik about 10 minutes outside of town (0361) 780 1839 – We took a motor bike taxi there and the ride was almost as amazing as the food. Please trust me on this one … don’t miss this place, the view is stunning!
More on Michael Franti & Spearhead
About 12 years ago, I was dropping off my friend Aimee off at Belly-Up in Solana Beach, CA (I would have to say, one of the best places in the world to see live music) and that was the first time I ever saw Spearhead. A couple of days later I went to Lou’s records (pre-iTunes, can you believe it!) and found a 5-song Spearhead CD (with Hole in the Bucket, 100,000 miles, etc.) I was from that point on a fan for life and humbly converted many of my friends as well (we have often used his concerts as reunions over the years!). Seeing him in concert is such an amazing experience and I am happy to say I have had the privilege many times including for our Senior Year Spring Concert at UCSB in 2000 and topping the list for New Year’s Eve in Bali 2011. What’s crazy is to hear them on the radio now in India and have my friends ask me who that is because the love it (They play Hey, Hey, Hey and Sound of the Sunshine all the time on my favorite Delhi station – 95FM). You know those musicians that just happened to help you chronicle your life in a way … whether it’s through simply following their albums or getting to experience them live (music is the best time capsule!) … Michael Franti and Spearhead is that for me for sure and I am so thankful that I was able to start off 2011 in such a positive way by listening to their music live in Bali. Pretty incredible!
By the way, Michael Franti just recently opened up a yoga retreat in Bali called Soulshine Bali – looks very cool & relaxing! I just contacted them to see about bookings because I can’t wait to go back to Bali! (Once you go there you will understand!) I will let you know how it is when I go! http://www.stayhumannow.com/