LIVING UNDER THE VOLCANO

Those of us living in the energy field of Gunung Agung have been holding our collective breath for weeks now. The first month of dealing with the reality of a grumbling volcano on the doorstep generated much anxiety and busy preparation. But you can’t hold your breath for weeks at a time. The  status of […]

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THE LIGHTER SIDE OF VOLCANIC ASH

I was in Canada when the rumblings began. Like so many other Bali residents I became an amateur vulcanologist, obsessively checking daily seismic activity and monitoring the Facebook earth tremor updates. I filled my suitcase with N95 masks and goggles to bring back instead of the usual interesting groceries. At time of writing we still […]

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One Car Too Far, One Tourist Too Many

There are no words to describe Ubud in August. Well yes, there are: crowded, packed, crowded, depressing, jammed, crowded, dirty, blocked and crowded. Did I mention crowded?  I know I’m being hypocritical. I was a tourist once myself, then I moved here and got all holy. But believe me, Ubud was never like this.  Until about […]

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The Invisible Yoginis

A few weeks ago I woke up to the fact that not only was I not getting any younger, but my sedentary lifestyle was having a decided impact on my contours.  I hate the gym, walking is difficult here and it’s too cold for aquarobics even if I had a pool, which I don’t. But there […]

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Swadaya – Stories to Inspire the Nation

Indonesia is so rich in natural and human resources that no one should be poor in this country. But with wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few, millions of people across this vast archipelago struggle to feed and educate their families and live with dignity.  Increasingly, communities are finding solutions for their […]

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CLOVELESS IN BALI

Every time I’ve walked into my pantry for the past few months I have been beguiled by the rich, evocative aroma of cloves. There aren’t a lot of clove trees around Ubud. Wayan Manis’ mother planted one about 15 years ago just for the hell of it, and now harvests eight to ten kilograms a year. […]

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THE HUNDRED MILE DIET, BALI STYLE

Recently someone on the Facebook Ubud Community page lamented the high cost of quinoa in Ubud. Judging from the responses, I was not alone in finding it remarkable that anyone would move to a small town in rural Indonesia and expect to find abundant, affordable food products from South America. Granted globalisation has created the […]

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THE LAST BALI HERITAGE DOG

Across the ravine, a dog sends its voice into the dense black night. Beside my bed Tika’s ears prick and she raises her muzzle to reply.  For a few moments the timeless call and answer of the canine race echoes through the jungle. The barks vary in length and cadence; a conversation is taking place. […]

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THE VIEW FROM THE BACK SEAT

How often do we travelers entrust ourselves to strangers when we climb into a taxi in Manila or Cochin or evenCanggu? For over 25 years I’ve been traveling around Asia, often alone.  Countless times I’ve emerged from airports after dark to enter the back of a car driven by a stranger whose language I usually did […]

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MAGIC FOR SALE

I opened Ubud Community Facebook page the other day to see the message “Hey Ubud Peeps! Where can I find a balian healer?” Thus the ancient role of the Balian, who is guided by the gods to aid humans through mysticism and ritual, is reduced to just another item on the tourist itinerary to be […]

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