10 things I am grateful for today:
1. Waking up healthy and warm in a comfortable bed.
2. The delicious bowl of raw organic muesli and soy milk I ate.
3. The fact that I can e-mail any of the people I love whenever I want to.
4. That I get to share every day of my Bali life with one I especially love.
5. The big, beautiful ocean I can float for hours in.
6. The equally epic blue sky and sun shining down on me when I do.
7. Stand. Up. Paddleboarding. The quiet breeze out past the boats and beachgoers.
8. Young green coconuts to drink and so many mangosteens.
9. A daily practice of the Primary Series.
10. Kindred spirits all around the world, sharing the love.
Happy day. Happy moment. Keeping it real by counting a handful of my blessings.
Yesterday, we headed to the Pasar Burring - a market we’d tried unsuccessfully to find in the past. It’s located on Jalan Veteran in Denpasar, a relatively tricky road to locate in the downtown area of the city. I have a feeling most blues just happen to stumble upon it. We were interested to see a new type of pasar - the food markets tend to vary only in size, stench and location. Our neighbourhood pasar is perfect in my eyes: the meat maze is hidden away in it’s own ramshackle building and there are no torso-sized chunks of meat being dragged through puddles. Generally tame and inviting, save for an excess of flies. Larger markets, not so much. I figured that the bird market would be a larger version of the bird stores that line the road in Bali: dozens of gorgeous cages with colourful birds inside. I was wrong (I find that a lot here).
The Pasar Burung is a gigantic, loud, eclectic assortment of animals all crammed into two short side-streets. If you hate seeing beautiful animals that ought to be free stuffed into cages with hardly any room to move, you’ll want to leave straight away. I did. Monkeys in shackles? Dozens of dead little turtles floating in a tiny tank? Hundreds of tiny birds in undersized cages? Birds stuffed into brown paper bags? It’s all there. Whether you love baby bunnies, parrots or mongooses (sounds wrong but I just Googled how to pluralize that), only an animal hater could love this market. I’m pretty sensitive to the mistreatment of animals - I haven’t eaten one in over fourteen years - and I was struggling to keep it together. It was so, so sad.
The only happiness I got out of the whole experience was cuddling the puppies, though it was more bitter than sweet. Across the road from the Pasar Burung, we found dozens of dogs and young’uns crammed into tiny cages. Their little feet poking out through the bottom, falling through as they tried to walk. Totally ignored. Not at all loved on. If that’s not fucked up, I don’t know what is. The puppy sellers were obviously completely desensitized to the whole situation, though I can’t even begin to comprehend how. A little boy was poking them with a stick. Looking at the pictures we took of the puppies - playful, sweet and hilarious - I don’t know what a person might be thinking when shoving them into a little cage. I wanted to buy every single one and take them home with me. Unfortunately, our house right now is a small kost without a yard or space for a puppy to run free. We couldn’t take a single one home yesterday. Leaving them behind was heart wrenching. (Just look at the one below!)
With all that said, I highly encourage anyone living in Bali for an extended period of time to go to one of these markets and give an animal a better life. Even if you’re just visiting in Bali and you want a new pet, go there. Do it. I’m all about adopting animals and taking in sick ones, too. I’ll write soon about our little bug-covered parking lot kitten. However, I honestly believe the street dogs in places like BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) get a hundred times more love than these caged ones. Did I mention these puppies cost $25 CDN before bartering? That’s a ridiculously cheap price to pay for an awesome companion with a good deed thrown into the bargain.
Big love everyone.
Having lived Bali for over three months, I’ve heard plenty of recommendations regarding places to see from fellow foreigners and the locals alike. Riding the highway to Pantai Saba simultaneously blew me away and left me wondering why I hadn’t yet heard a single word about this wonderland from anyone. I think it’s probably a 50/50 slice between people who have no idea this place exists and those who are hesitant to share a piece of the awesomeness. Can’t say I blame ‘em, but considering that five people have read my blog so far I don’t think I’m in any danger of overcrowding Saba by writing about it now.
I love rice paddy views, the rush of the ocean, dense coconut groves, sleepy old-school villages, tropical forest tangles (even thick with bugs) and sunshine for days. Throw “black sand beach” into that description and it’s a recipe for Pantai Saba. The man and I headed out there house-hunting, having heard about inexpensive and beautiful homes away from the bustle of the city. We were not disappointed. Fifteen minutes out in Canada would have gotten us to the grocery store. In Bali, it’s makes all the difference. (Bless this sweet crazy little island). We loved the neighborhood, fence-hopping to peek in windows and imagining puppies in every back yard. The quiet breeze and the hot sun felt so good. Dreams about our future lifestyle abounded.
After we’d taken down the numbers of all the interesting rentals, we cruised around the area searching for the beach. Ankle (and tire) deep in warm mud, we conceded defeat right after I snapped the picture above. According to online hearsay, Saba Beach is often completely deserted. I’ll bring some gum boots next time ‘cause I’ve been dreaming of it every since. The surrounding villages seemed to be populated only by smiling toothless old people and little brown kids riding oversized bikes. Rice paddies and weathered shacks lined the roads. In an odd turn of events, we even found ourselves at a retro fitness facility called Banana Bali Gym - complete the most incredible logo design and signage you could ever imagine. Yes, a giant banana + a muscle man = great success. Does it get much better than that?
Once I get over my crippling fear of highway riding (those potholes could swallow me whole), I think Saba will be my go-to place for solitary happiness. Not a single bule in sight and all the charm in the world, sounds about right to me. The next time we go to explore I’ll bring a real camera and try to capture some of the beauty in better quality. It’s epic beyond words. Until then, my yogi friends can just imagine they’re there in savasana. Got a few days off coming up and we have some excellent adventures planned that I’ll blog about. Don’t wanna break this two day streak as it may well be the longest I’ve had…
Big love everyone.