My life in Bali right now.
Bali Island of the Gods is a shadow of its bustling tourism alter ego, it feels like the Bali of yesteryear...... just with less rice paddies & more concrete.
Just in case you were wondering & worried about whats going on over on Australias much loved tourist destination...... because the fear fuelling media is riding your freak out fantasies to the max.... let me calm your farm & placate you heart palpitations.
Bali is on extended "Rumah Aja" direct translation "house only" in other words stay at home till mid April.
We even have that little gif for our Facebook & Instagram stories..... So it looks like I will be celebrating my 50th in silence - suits me fine to ignore it, really it does.
This all came about after Nyepi which is the Balinese day of silence & quiet reflection where even the airport is shut - there is no internet & no electricity, its is world or at least island peace. All the locals "Balik Kampung" meaning they return to their village for Nyepi, its a beautiful tradition, its lovely, Its still lovely now. The air, the beaches everything is cleaner & clearer a brighter shade of blue.
Whats going or rather not going on?? Schools are closed & have been now for over 3 weeks as have most group yoga classes (I say most & I mean the respectful ones)
Beaches are closed no surfing no swimming no beach bars
Essential services only.... shopping centres are closed so no you can't buy a new pair of boardies....do you really need them anyway???
You can get a coffee... some cafes are open with limited seating mandatory 2m apart & some are "di dalam bungkus aja" meaning take away only.
When you go to the supermarket they are temperature testing you & issuing mandatory sanitiser/ rubbing alcohol on entry
Physical distancing is in play... this message is getting through.
Our new normal is face masks gloves & sanitiser too. Incidentally face masks have always been a thing in Asia.... if you ride a scooter you will understand that fumes & insects don't belong in your mouth & up your nose!!!!
Hospitals have been allocated specifically for COVd Siloam Hospital is being kept for treatment of everything else except COVd so that they can still manage other illnesses. Bali has a higher ratio of beds per capita than anywhere else in Indonesia, they are following the leadership of affected countries & its evidenced as I sit now typing this blog.
Back in February I wrote a blog Is corona killing connection and well yes it is.... look back to January as China went into meltdown Indonesia Bali in particular was significantly affected by the immediate cessation of the influx of the Chinese tourist dollar. Hotels emptied, shops started to close, cars from the drivers that whizzed the tourists around started to park up & it has been a gradual but very visual change in the tourist landscape with businesses closing day by day... the little warungs, the mum & dad family shops that support the other businesses then finally the bigger beach clubs got the message & shut their doors & now we are here.... essential services only.
Nyepi saw Bali naturally progress to its now blissfully quiet down time it was a practical & sensible application of this annual event. Many people who returned to kampung have stayed in their kampung as they have no work to return of course this has other implications financial & emotional. It was a less fearful way more spiritual way letting Bali down gently to the place that we now rest.
Bali has existed for centuries on subsistence farming & self sustaining villages well before our tourist $$ came in & demanded the evolution of the 'I am not gay but $20 bucks is $20 singlet', macrame everything & more boho shifts than we will need in 10 lifetimes.
Australians think of Bali as our neighbour our own Indo backyard where we are guaranteed our smashed avo on toast...... for everyone else in the world it is still way much more further from home & "exotique" destination the stuff yogi dreams are made of.... We shifted this gentle island to a heaving mass of bule (foreigner) centric cafes, clubs & beach discos.
Bali is a super calm & creative hub on this vast blue green planet. This quiet reflection is giving space for this calm centred creativity. There will be moments of stress & uncertainty I am not going to deny this but I am also not gonna live in fear.
Canggu appeared & thought itself to be an alternate universe where the tourist community thinking they were living in a COVd free bubble had gone ignoring the advice of authorities.
This bubble burst a few days ago when the Banjar- the local authorities moved in shut the beaches & began patrolling the supermarkets & stopping people congregating..... then sprayed the joint using firetrucks with disinfectant!
There are still yoga shalas & gyms operating in Canggu. Not cool. I cannot say that I think this is appropriate given the current climate. One shala today even had a sick staff member still working... this my friends is greed driven by fear of abundance. Its also socially destructive & disrespectful to the Balinese communities & their elders Balinese people want to stay healthy too & the best way to minimise the spread is by physical distancing NOT GOING TO YOGA CLASS SWEATING WITH 20 OTHER PEOPLE... shut your doors people, be responsible business owners, be respectful of this islands traditional custodians. You are not cool, its not smart & you are not providing necessary service you are doing disservice to the entire Island.
Canggu rant over.
Many of my expat friends here have returned home at the request of loved ones. I won't lie I have had the phone calls & the pleading messages, driven by a mix of love & fear.
I took it all on board wrestled with it & didn't sleep well..... I have chosen to stay. I know that people are concerned for my welfare here... but I am ok. I was not going back to Australia so that everyone else felt better about their decision to return home. This is my home, I am at home here. being happy & healthy is important to me. This is where I feel both of those things, if that changes I am not adverse to changing my location.... I am adaptable & I love my family & my friends too - that doesn't change cause I am here or away from them.
I have food & am now own the proud owner of a baby rice cooker aka my one pot ...... Frustratingly restrictive excellent for avoiding dinner parties This is HARD H.A.R.D because I am a hospo person aka food pusher that likes to cook & feed the masses but I am slowly adapting & learning the joy of a mini cook I feel like I have minimalists my kitchen Marie Kondo would be proud
As we are no longer teaching collective practice I like many have created more online content luckily I was already engaged in this space :) I am working from home & contributing by putting my STAYCATION RETREAT together a 5 day Yoga Retreat -Ready When You Are- that you can do anywhere in the world any time. I am happy healthy & creatively contributing.
Personally I spend large chunks of time on my own, in my house I go out for a takeaway fore & a bike ride in the morning & then head back home read work crete content & write. I am a gen Xer.... I grew up without perental supervision & have lived travelled & worked remotely many times before..... I am pretty self entertaining & rona iso doesn't scare me as long as I have WiFi.... I am only human right & I still need contact lol. I have chosen my words carefully to focus on physical distancing as opposed to social distancing this is a time to keep connected with everyone around you there is unity in community we just can't hug which if you are a touchy feely like me is a tough ask but I am doing it!!!!
Stay safe stay healthy stay sanitised try not to live in fear, if roll out your rubber rectangle & get rid of your anxiety with connection to breath. This to shall pass & you will be back in Bali eating your smashed avo on toast & downing a Bintang at sunset real soon.
Me I look forward to welcoming everyone back to collective practice man is that gonna be one heck of a tear filled celebration of this thing called life