Day Five in Ubud, Bali
I think it was our fifth day in Ubud when we were told that the hotel had no more internet. We were leaving and on our way to yoga when one of the very small Balinese men stopped us by saying something like “we regret to inform you” or something super formal like that. Which is a terrible way to start a conversation. It's almost as bad as saying "Everything is okay. But so and so is in the hospital." It turns out that his friend was trimming a wall of ivy (gesturing behind us) and didn’t realize the wire for the internet was hiding inside. Prognosis? An unknown amount of time will pass before it is fixed. People have been called, but now we wait.
There is absolutely no reason to get mad about something like this. I think we would have before we started to travel full time, but now that we’ve been at it for about 3 years, we just kinda shrug and move on. Luckily I had scheduled my meeting with a client for the night before and the internet worked just fine.
Now I had a little bit of work to do, which could be done from any number of coffee shops in town. And there are a few coffee shops in town that are really good. One of my goals while in Ubud was to try a handful of coffee shops, but I’ve not been so successful. I think I’ve only been to two of them.
But here is where things get a little strange. I think I went to a coffee shop, but maybe I swam instead, but on the way to one of those events I saw one of the employees (maybe the guy who told us about the cut internet) sitting with the darkest and thickest of coffees. I stared at him while the water dripped from my swim suit.
I asked him where I could get one of those and he took me into the small office where they also sleep at night. It was stuffy in the room despite the window being open. A fly bumped against the window missing ample opportunities to escape elsewhere. Follow the breeze I wanted to tell him. Listen to the wind! But for him there was no escape. The hotel clerk reached out and snatched the fly from the air and held his fist tightly for a heartbeat, and without even knowing if he had anything in his closed palm, threw it towards the wall. Sure enough the fly hit the wall and fell dead to the ground.
Having completed this unusual task, the clerk moved the bed to reveal a tiny door, and through that door was a narrow staircase. He disappeared into it and I arrived behind him just in time to see his feet receding up a short flight of 5 steps. Not knowing where this was leading, I paused for a second to get my bearings. The air indeed smelled like coffee, but it smelled like dried sweat and uncirculated air. The stone walls were cold to the touch and must have been quite thick to keep out the tropical Bali heat.
While standing there in the quiet I remembered seeing an open air tower above the office from the pool. From below it looked like a guard tower, although less menacing. I heard him call to me from the top of the stairs, so I followed quickly, making sure to not hit my head on the low ceiling. A few more turns of the short staircase and I was at the top. I hit my head hard coming up the last step. At first I wasn't sure what had happened - did he hit me with a brick - but soon I was watching a lazy fan rotate above me.
My eyes scanned the room, which appeared to be mostly pillows and kittens. Some of them were sleeping, others were climbing all over everything. There was a low table in the middle of the room and it had a glass of spilled mango juice on it. Leading from the spill were tiny paw prints dried onto the table. I must have been out for some time. I brought my fingers to my head and felt wetness. Not blood, surely not blood. It's clear and cold like water. Oh, a plastic bag filled with cold water. Must have been ice at some point. I sat up and a kitten fell into my lap. He must have been sleeping on my chest.
I reached out and put my fingers around the cold and flat cup of coffee and sipped it. Cold as the icepack on my head, but still delicous...
This is day five of our 7 days in Ubud, Bali. To read more, choose from the list below! I swear that the next two days are full of actual happenings.