Wednesday, March 3, 2010


On the outskirts of our village lies a large concrete walled house with a two car garage, and what seem like watchtowers overlooking the rice paddies. Often when we drive past, a blue "taksi" will be coming, just as another is going. Frequently multiple cars are parked in the sandy gutter.

Here lives a locally renowned Balinese healer, who has a busy practice.

One day Wayan, our present driver, asked if we would like to see him. I stuck my hand up, so the next day he set off early to ask permission. He came back and said I was lucky, because the healer could see me at 9.30 the same morning. I borrowed a sarong from Putu, our cook, who could not hold a straight face as she tried to fasten it around my big white body. She also prepared an offering basket with pretty flowers and two sticks of incense. I would just have to add some money when I got there.

At the entrance to the house, a monkey chained to a wire, munched a banana.

Inside was a flowery courtyard with statues placed here and there. A pretty woman in Balinese ceremonial dress came out smiling to greet me. I smiled and returned her greeting. I was uncertain what to do next. Wayan coached me. He advised me to put 100.000 Rhupia in the basket, which is about 10 USD, not a local offering. I placed the basket under a golden statue of what looked like Krishna and Wayan lit the incense. Soon a friendly faced man dressed all in white, with a bushy mustache and big warm hands came out to greet me. His English was very good. "What can I do for you?" he asked with a big grin. Not quite sure what he could do for me, I said I had been ill not too long ago and wanted to know if I was okay.

"Come in, come in." I will first have to see you" he said as he ushered me into a small room with a low table covered in flowers and colorful fabrics, banana leaf mats on the floor. I sat cross legged on one side of the table and he on the other. "Now concentrate on my forehead", he said. "I must see you", gesticulating his hand in a up and downward motion. I concentrated very hard on the spot between his furrowed brows as he closed his eyes. At a certain point he lifted his left arm slowly over his head and flicked away a flower from between his thumb and forefinger, which I guess meant he had seen me. "You will be very lucky , he said. I can see that'" Then: "Your stomach, you have problems with your stomach (that's from our colonics I wanted to say, but didn't), lower back and neck". "Okay", I said, waiting to see what would come next.

"Come here and lie down."

There was another mat with a white pillow next to the healer. I lay on my back with my head on the pillow and he started massaging my abdomen very hard. I had to turn over on my stomach and he briefly massaged my lower back. Then I was asked to sit cross-legged facing him, lowering my head onto his chest, so he could massage my neck.

"I see your heart" he said suddenly, and made me sit up again.

"You have a very slow heart rate"

This, actually is true. Very often when I had my heart rate measured in San Francisco, the machine would start beeping because I fell under the normal range. There, nobody seemed too bothered about it. But the healer was concerned. My heart needed a massage too, he said. He prodded hard in my chest bone for a while. And then again.

"Now let me see you again" he said and I had to look at his face again as he closed his eyes, the lids not quite falling shut, so I could see the whites of his eyes vibrating ever so slightly underneath.

"You are good now", he eventually said, "Just a slow heart." "Keep breathing deeply" And with that advice, he fixed a fragrant flower in my hair, dotted my forehead with holy water and I was on my way.

And now for something completely different:

The amazing swimming turtles!

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