Creativity Coach - Artist Desiree East

You want to THRIVE and live in the PRESENT MOMENT. You want to CREATE THE REALITY YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED through CREATIVE LIFESTYLE HABITS.You want to tap into that hidden, CREATIVE POTENTIAL that is ready to be UNLEASHED to the world. When your inner voice, your intuitive heart --- YOUR creative genius --- is nourished and pampered, you know you can create profound changes in your LIFE that is the art.

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creatively Fit Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

Filtering by Tag: indonesia

would you visit an active volcano?

I've been to Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawai'i a couple of times, and it was breathtaking. Well, except for the sulfur smell. And the fact that my slippahs felt like they were nearly melting under my foot. I have images of that trip to the volcano from a long, long time ago. Perhaps I'll dig those up someday... bali volcano. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

On clear days, we can see this volcano from the town that we are staying. It makes me smile. I'm not quite sure which volcano this is...it's either, Mount Agung or Mount Batur. We'd like to make plans to see it and hire a driver to take us up there. We figured it might be a trek, so we are going to spend some time in the mountains, and make Ubud our home-base for a few days.

Our initial motivation for making plans to visit Ubud was because we had no running water in the region that we are in right now. Can you imagine? Here's a link to my Trip Advisor forum post, if you want to read about the drama: Does anyone know which Hotels currently have running water?

We've been to Ubud, once, to meet some friends for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant. Yes, I mean tacos and margaritas! We were hesitant at first --- mexican food in Bali? --- but, our friend, Jeff, claimed it. And we were craving mexican like you wouldn't believe (my mouth is watering, at this moment, just thinking about it).

It was really, really good. The Indonesian owner had spent some time working in a Mexican restaurant in (I think) New Mexico --- and he's got some mad skillz in the kitchen. So we are going back.

Not just to eat the food that we miss. But to check out the Balinese art scene (yay, finally) and shopping, of course. Any special requests from home?

Ubud apparently has the best markets of all Bali. It's time to test my ancestral bargaining skills --- my Filipina blood runs thick when it comes to shopping and finding good deals, but I never get to do this in The States: "Half, half...I want half..." 

Or, in Bahasa Indonesia:

"Itu terlalu mahal..." (That's too expensive...)

"Boleh kurang?" (Can you lower the price?)

"Ada yang lebih murah?" (Do you have anything cheaper?)

"Ini tawaran terakhir saya." (This is my final offer).

"Untuk orang Indonesia dijual dengan harga berapa?" (How much would you sell that to an Indonesian for?)

Shoots, that last one is long. I better start practicing.

Because I can easily pass as a local, my Indonesian friends like to joke, "Just pretend you cannot hear and you cannot talk, then you will get good bargain!" 

That would be funny. But, let's face it, I would never be able to pull that off. My PC karma and guilt would follow me wherever I go. And have you ever seen me try to lie? Exactly. I can't do it with a straight face.

BTW, "PC" stands for politically correctness. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Oh great, another PC snob..." I'm not really, though, if you get to know me. Just buy me a beer or two, and we'll go from there...

Sooooo, unless we find reliable internet service, we might be going off the grid for a few days. A mini digital cleanse sounds mighty fine, right 'bout now...so, until then, I'll catch ya on the flip side --- x to the o

home sweet home in bali: andree's homestay

Many of you have been asking about where we are living...well, here it is. Andree's Homestay. It's a quaint little compound, and so far, the best long-term deal we've seen in the towns that we were interested in staying in. It's not advertised, and most of the guests find this place by word of mouth. We knew about it, because our friends used to live here (Thanks, Ken and Niken!) The family and staff that live here have been wonderful, and now that we have adjusted to Bali living, we happily call this our home away from home... It was challenging, at first, to find a place that fit our needs and our pocket book. We've learned that the stuff you see in travel books and magazines were not as affordable as we expected it to be. If you are vacationing, you can spend as little as $20/night (sometimes less) for a room, backpacker style. Or you can stay at a posh resort for $100/night, and upwards, to $800/night or more for a room.  And then, there is everything in between. A lot of the beautiful villas (that I wished we could live long-term in) are catered mostly to vacationers, and as GORGEOUS as they are, you end up paying western prices...let's say anywhere from $560/week for a small villa to $3,500/week (or more) for something spectacular. Most of the high-end villas include a staff.

Obviously, we can't afford that.

On the other spectrum, you can rent a traditional house for, let's say $3,000/year --- yep, that's approximately $250/month, with a commitment of at least one year --- (at least, that's what we've heard). Or approximately, $400/month for a two-bedroom, two-bath house. Most local houses have open-air living and traditional amenities, or a combination of both. If you go this route, you are usually responsible for setting up utilities, internet, etc. on your own.

Andree's Homestay was the perfect fit for us, because it has a mix of both western and traditional amenities. The rent fit our budget (at $400/month), and all utilities and internet are included...and there's a pool! We also have security and a full-time staff on the grounds, so if there is anything we need, it's nice to know we have help.

There are a lot of things I like about Andree's: it's nice and quiet; it's located near some very nice beaches (where touts are apparently banned) and located near low-pro surf spots; we can easily drive to the West Bukit to surf more popular spots; we have a wide variety of restaurants to choose from; we have met a lot of people from different countries who are also here long term (did I tell you, we met someone from Los Osos?); and although, we are still in a very nomadic state of mind, we have made it our own...

When you travel, what is it that makes a place 'home' for you? Are you planning on visiting Bali anytime soon or are you an expert on Bali living? Feel free to share your thoughts below...

parking at andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

view from upstairs. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

big fish. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

plants near the pond. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

our front door. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

view from our studio. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

elephant statue. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

lounging area. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

another lounging area. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

the swimming pool...essential, to cool down. andree homestay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

well that was fun...

We woke up this morning to find out we had no running water...so what did I do to kill time? desi travels to bali

But I'm not that lazy. I worked, too. Brendon and I have been brewing up some plans for our professional lives (which is why we are in Bali, in the first place), and we are very excited for the things to come. I'm not a psychic or anything, but I see wonderful things for our future. I don't know how or when it will all come together, but we are figuring it out and feel very inspired. More importantly, we hope we can help and inspire others along the way...

it's official...we're in love

I'm gonna keep this one short. But, by all means, please keep the questions and emails coming. Our friends and family have all been asking if we've settled in; if Bali has been what we expected; if it's all that we've hoped for; if it's getting easier... Our two-month anniversary of living in Bali is here, and I can definitely say that we have found our groove.  A routine, if you will, and a very nice one. It almost deserves a Marvin Gaye soundtrack to go with it. Seriously. And I can talk for hours on end about what we did and didn't expect. I think I might save that for another post, because I will just get all philosophical about it, because that's just how I am.

That said, I have a gazillion photos to share, and we haven't even really done any touristy stuff yet. We are just getting started...so I will keep shooting and promise to share more later.

Besides, the truth is, we just bought a bunch of pirated DVD's for super cheap (my apologies to my brother, Kalae, but that's all they have available to sell here, in the malls and everywhere...and somehow, it's completely legal???), and I just want to veg out in front of a movie in our cool, air-conditioned studio...aaaahhhh.

For now, here are some photos. This is a typical day for us: wake up, stretch, eat breakfast, check the surf, paddle out, eat again, and work on business/creative projects at home when the waves aren't good --- maybe go sightseeing, if we feel inclined. And then, Repeat. It's going to be hard to leave, and I don't know how we're going to break it off to beautiful Bali gently when the time comes...

it's official we're in love. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

everyone wants a piece of the action. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

where are we? i think we were supposed to go over there... bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check from the cliff. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

entrance before walking through a tunnel. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

loving the adventure. sea cave at uluwatu, bali. desiree east

yes, it was that big. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

shooting from shade. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

brendon fave empty peak. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

bigger than it looks. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

cute little side-of-the-road calf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese woman in red. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

diggin the freshly blended fruit juices. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

we like lemon iced tea, too. bali, indonesia. desiree east

 lemon iced tea. photo by desiree east

one of our favorite places to eat. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese seafood satay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

time for ice cream. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

be careful what you ask for, you might just get it

the biggest wave brendon duck dove. bali indonesia. photo by desiree east For weeks on end - no, wait...months, actually - all I've heard from my darling husband is: "All I want is to get some, barreling lefts... just a nice, clean, hollow left." This statement is almost always accompanied with him posing in a front-side stance, along with sound effects of what it's supposed to sound like when you get barreled.

"Wow, babe, you're good. You'd make an excellent sound-effects dude, too." I always told him that he could go into voice-over acting. You should hear him, he's really good.

As you know, we are blessed with a wide variety of waves in Ventura County. Well, all of California, for that matter. And Mexico. And Hawaii. And we've had our share of travelling to other states and countries, as well, to seek out fun, rippable waves. It's what we do. Mandatory.

But, what we all love (we, meaning regular footers) about California and Baja are the plethora of right-hand point breaks...makes me all giddy inside, just thinking about it. However, being married to a goofy-footer makes me realize, well, how badly I feel for all the people who have to ride back-side on a perfectly, peeling right-hand point break. Like, all the time. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) No, but really, I feel for you...

Brendon has had a taste of the Mentawais, and he's been itching to spend more time in Indo. So, after a series of unfortunate events - coupled with the perfect timing of a down economy - we decided that after all was said and done, time is more valuable than any material wealth. So, we put our rose-colored glasses on and decided to stretch our dollar in Bali...and here we are.

Several weeks ago, the Bukit finally turned on. Seasons are changing, and the trade winds are blowing off-shore on the west coast of Bali. And what perfect timing: a significant swell hit the shores of Bali.

And Brendon lived to tell about it (because it was that big).

I bribed him to write a little blog post for us, just because. So, just grab a beer and pretend like he's all salty-dogged out, and doing his usual hand-gestures and sound effects. I wish I could have gotten his reaction when he came in from the water, but this is the best I can do for now. Hopefully, next time, I'll have the video cam on stand-by...

walking out to paddle out zone. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

Guest Post written by Brendon:

I think that was the biggest wave I’ve ever duck dove.

It was my first time paddling out at this spot, and it was firing. I was watching the other people jump off at the paddle-out zone. Some of them made it out clean, without having to push through too much duck diving drama. Others were getting caught at the wrong time and getting sucked down the break, while having to duck dive, like thirty pretty good size waves in a row.

I must have calculated fairly well before paddling out, because I didn’t have to duck dive a single wave on the way out - except for the one right when I jumped into the water; the current started sucking out so fast, I ended up dry-docking it with my fingers in between the board and the reef. Great.

So, I make it out and try to find my place in the lineup and noticed, along with my now freshly sliced index finger, that there are guys way outside and some on the inside. I know there are bigger sets, but I get antsy and try my luck picking off some of the smaller, head-high ones bowling up nicely on the inside section.

perfect inside balangan. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east.

lonely guy getting barrelled. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

That was a dumb move on my part. Out the back, came one of the biggest sets that I had seen all afternoon. Shit.

I started to paddle out to meet a giant wall of water that seemed to keep getting bigger the closer we came together. At that point, I started to think to myself, "Can I even duck dive this f***ing thing, or should I ditch my board?"

It was at least triple overhead.

Usually, I would just ditch my board and swim down, but I had an old leash on (another smart move), which could easily snap. The last thing I wanted to do at that point is take the rest of the set on the head without my board.

At the very last second I decided to duck dive it.

The wave breaks about ten feet in front of me, and I had about 10-12 feet, like ceiling high or more, of white wash coming toward me. I pushed down into the water super hard and tried to time it to avoid getting annihilated. I got bounced around pretty good, but somehow managed to hold onto my board.

After duck diving the next 15 waves and getting pushed further and further down the reef, it was over.

Out of breath, super hot and exhausted, I manage to make my way back out and sit on the outside corner for a couple. I was clearly under gunned that day but managed to get a couple.

cleaner day for surf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

simplicity. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

a balinese hindu ceremony...offerings to sea. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

The next day, was a bit cleaner and smaller, but there were still some decent size sets coming through. I paddled out with my buddy, Ken, and he makes his way up the break past the crowd. I went the other way to try and pick off one of those wide, swinging ones.

Just as I get in the line-up, the first wave of a set comes right to me, so I turn around and take it. I don’t know what happened, but I think I caught my rail when I dropped in on the wave.

Snap. There goes my leash.

I started to make the long swim in with the rest of the set breaking on me, but it wasn’t too bad. This is where a pair of reef booties comes in handy, because the reef is sharp with urchins hidden in the cracks. Urchin fest.

Some ladies kicking it in a tide pool grabbed my board.

Oh well, at least I got some exercise from the swim in. I called it a day, went in and got a Bintang and took some video footage from the warung. It's true, be careful what you ask for...

close up from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

view from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

quick sketch of a daily ritual

afternoon sketch of wiwin feeding fish. bali, indonesia. by desiree east I've had my share of the usual field sketches while designing landscapes for clients, but it's been a while since I've kept a field journal for myself. I kind of miss the spontaneous feel of quickly dragging a pen or pencil, in a somewhat messy, yet intentional manner, across a page to do a quick sketch of something I see.

You know, that something that catches your eye. The silhouette of a tree. The texture of a leaf. Or something that suggests a story, like a magnificent view of perfect, reeling barrels. Or that simple something to document and keep, forever archived...

One of my goals, while here in Bali, is to keep a nature journal. I have finally settled into somewhat of a routine - of basic day-to-day living, that is - and now have some time to get back into a creative groove.

This was the first sketch.

Wiwin, one of the care-takers of the property, shows up every afternoon, around 4-4:30ish to feed the fish. So, I thought to myself: Okay,  perfect. An opportunity to fill the first page of my nature journal.

Scribble, scrabble here. Scribble, scrabble there. Throw some watercolor on it. Done.

I showed Wiwin the sketch. I got a thumbs up, a healthy laugh, a huge smile, and something in Indonesian...all I heard was, "Bagus!" which means, "Good."

"Ya, you like?" For a split second, my nerves got to me, and my stomach churned a little, as it always does, when I share my artwork. I know, it's just a sketch, but still. I get so nervous.

"Ya, bagus!" Again, Winwin says, with a huge smile and thumbs up.

The image seemed to make him smile a lot, so I ended up pulling this first page out of my journal and giving it to him as a gift, "For you...gift."

He just kept smiling. I hope he liked it.

chasing the bad spirits away...balinese style

following the parade. photo by desiree east How I Brought in the Balinese New Year: Part Two

Thursday, March 22nd: the eve before NYEPI 2012

After a day at the beach, we went home to get some food in our stomachs before the evening's festivities. Tonight, our goal was to see the ogoh-ogoh parade. Time to make some loud noise and chase those bad spirits away!

I whipped up some saimin. It's been our staple food, at least at home. I threw in scrambled eggs, green onions and crushed mint leaves to fancy it up. It was a quick meal, as we wanted to head out before sunset.

We had no idea what we were doing, or where to go. We just went.

My little red pay-as-you-go cellular beeped, and I checked the text message. "Hi Des, where do you want to meet?"

"I don't know, where is a good place?"

"We are driving right now...we'll let you know if we find something."

Finally, after a series of mini-texts, back and forth, a phone call comes through. "I see a huge group of people standing in line at Hardy's. I don't know why there are standing in line. But something is going on..."

moped frenzy by desiree east

So, we headed down toward Hardy's, a local market, where our friends decided to park it. (Everything in Bali is kind of word-of-mouth. No fliers, nothing online, you just have to ask around if you need any information. About anything - no really - anything.)

On our way down, we saw a large group of people dressed in Hindu attire - well, actually, half temple attire and half street clothes - and a giant purple ogoh-ogoh statue with multiple arms extending in the air.

"Oh, look...ogoh-ogoh! Stop here! Thanks, Babe." I'm such a pleasant passenger-seat driver. My husband loves it.

We found a perfect little spot to park, right behind the group. Talk about timing. They were getting ready - or actually, they were all sitting, relaxing on the ground. Traffic was still going by, but slowing down, while passerbys took quick snapshots of the statue.

ogoh ogoh with white hair. photo by desiree east

We decided to park and wait till the group decided to leave. They had to have been going somewhere, and we figured if they head down the road, they'd eventually end up at Hardy's.

So we followed them. It was pretty cool. Exciting. We have it on video. We walked down the hill, toward the bypass, following the drumming, the music, the ogoh-ogoh. Meanwhile, a plethora of mopeds and cars were still attempting to through, going the opposite direction as the parade.

It was kind of nuts, but fun and exhilarating at the same time. We came to the conclusion that they don't really close off the streets for parades. Ummmmm...kay.

As we marched behind the ogoh-ogoh, along with the mopeds and the cars, we approached one of the main traffic lights. Our village's ogoh-ogoh started to merge with the main parade on the bypass. "Look, more ogoh-ogohs!" I felt like a little kid at a Disneyland parade. Except it was different. Waaaaay different.

The group from our village turned right, and we turned left, fighting our way through a river of people and idling mopeds, to head in the opposite direction toward Hardy's. It was like swimming upstream, except instead of getting water up your nose, we were sucking in exhaust fumes.

dodging mopeds by desiree east

We finally met up with our friends at Hardy's parking lot. Yay, we made it! Their car was smoking for some reason. Go figure. Maybe it was the freon. They just got their air conditioning fixed. Oh well. Let's walk! Downstream we go...

So we walked  alongside the parade, walked through mad traffic, and followed the ogoh-ogoh madness, colorful, ginormous, statues flying high above us. We headed toward the end of the bypass in Nusa Dua - walked about a good mile, or so it seemed.

this one I like to call, 'the flying drunk one' by desiree east

At one point, I started walking through a group of people, oblivious to the fact that they were all wearing the same color T-shirts. I suddenly realized there was a giant ogoh-ogoh coming my way. Oops! The parade had suddenly come back toward our direction, and I was walking right through a group of parade people."What the...???"

You should have seen my face. I was so confused. Pure comedy.

See, this is why we need traffic control, people. You know, like traffic cones, and officers in reflective vests. Not in Bali, though. But it's okay, I kinda liked it. The chaos.

As Brendon protected me with one arm, I got pushed (gently) into some bushes in the median, while the rest of the crowd - families, kids, tourists - followed suit. Here they come...loud whistles, drums, cymbals, torches, music...and a gigantic ogoh-ogoh, flying above us. "Wait a minute, didn't I see that one already?" Oh yeah, they magically made a U-turn somewhere. That's right.

I learned later, that while carrying the ogoh-ogoh statues, they purposely stop at intersections and u-turns, and rotate the statues around in circles in order to confuse the bad spirits...??? Oh, okaaaay. Now it all made sense...

After getting our fill of seeing the brightly colored, impressively built statues, we headed back, like a herd of cows. It was a long sweaty walk back to Hardy's. The temperature doesn't drop much here in the evenings, either.

We all decided it would be a good idea to hop in one car and grab a cold beer and a grab a bite to eat. But we ended up in traffic, unknowingly getting stuck behind another ogoh-ogoh parade from another village. And then another one. To top it off, all of the warungs (small side-of -the-road eateries where you can eat local food) were pretty much shut down. After a good  45 minutes of sitting in ogoh-ogoh traffic, we finally made it back to Nusa Dua.

Was it worth all the madness? Totally.

a family enjoying the parade by desiree east

red ogoh by desiree east

flames to chase the bad spirits away  by desiree east

bright colors by desiree east

 a lion-looking one by desiree east

How I brought in the Balinese New Year: Part One

daily surf check. bali. by desiree east bali surf and exposed reef by desiree east

Thursday, March 22nd: the day before NYEPI 2012

Today, like most days, we went to look at the surf. It was low tide. It was a gorgeous day, post rain, with bright, clear skies and fluffy white clouds scattered about. The air was still and the sun was beating down directly overhead. Buckets of sweat rolled off of my forehead from the 10-minute gander at the surf. I'm sure I lost a couple of pounds of water weight.

There was a fast, little, bowly left, about shoulder to head high, sweeping past the half-way-exposed reef. The boys decided they wanted to paddle out. Me? Well, I'm a chicken. Especially, when it comes to shallow, tide-is-still-dropping reef breaks. Thanks, but no thanks.

Even if I wanted to paddle out, I couldn't. My board was out of commission. It's in the ding-repair shop. The first day I pulled my board out of the board bag, I discovered little fragile bits of resin and a huge chunk of crumbled foam among layers of bubble wrap and duct tape. My eyes welled up in tears for about a good 5 seconds. And then, I was over it. I accepted the fact that after so many years of traveling with surfboards, I had finally become a victim of luggage-handler-brutality. I shrugged it off. I guess it comes with the territory. But, that's another story...

pathway to beach. bali. by desiree east

stairway entry. bali by desiree east

We followed a little path that led to down to the beach. A short staircase brought us to a sea cave, adorned with umbrellas, offerings, and the sweet smell of burning incense.

I could hear a woman's voice coming from behind a wall of old lava rock. She was talking to someone else, but I couldn't see them; all I could hear were soft, echoing voices.

After coming down the last step, we stepped  onto soft, white sand, and almost immediately had to crouch down and make our way under the lava rock.

The Indian Ocean greeted us on the other side. Aaaaaaah...time to cool off!

the indian ocean greets us. bali. photo by desiree east

sea caves to the left. bali. by desiree east

dreamy coastline to the right. bali. photo by desiree east

hindu offerings at stairway entry. photo by desiree east

While the boys were surfing, I found some shade under a small  cliff side. I enjoyed watching people come down to the beach to leave offerings throughout the afternoon.

When I first arrived, an elderly Balinese woman left an offering, or 'canang sari' under one of the small sea caves. She came up to me afterwards and said something in Indonesian - or Balinese (I'm not sure).

Always with a grin on my face, I replied, "Maaf, saya tidak mengerti...Saya...ummmm...saya bukan orang Indonesia."

(Translation: "Sorry, I no understand...I...ummmm...I am not a person of Indonesia.") Then, I flashed an even bigger smile, a little embarrassed in my attempt at Bahasa Indonesian.

Smiling back, she responded with something else. Surprisingly, I totally understood what she said.

Just kidding.

What really happened next is beyond me, but I kind of bowed, putting the palms of my hands together and said, "Ma kasih...Terima kasih."

I don't know why I did that. I just said, "Thanks...Thank You." It just came out, whether it made sense or not (probably, because that's all I knew how to say). I had absolutely no clue what she said to me...

She smiled back as she returned to the other sea cave that lead back to the trail.

balinese offering in a sea cave. photo by desiree east

offerings out to sea. bali. photo by desiree east

light thru sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

The local people often mistake me for being Indonesian, usually saying, "Oh, you have Indonesian face." So, a local Balinese bartender taught me to say, "Sorry, I don't understand. I am not Indonesian." 

So far, it's helped, especially when locals approach us and immediately start having full-blown conversations in bahasa Indonesian with me (while completely ignoring Brendon). It's pretty hilarious.

Back to my story. After the woman left, I could see the offering she had left from where I was sitting, along with the incense stick that accompanied it. It was unlit. Then I thought to myself, "Hmmmmm...maybe she was asking me for a lighter...duuuh."

Perhaps I should start carrying a lighter or some matches with me, just for these instances. And for the fact that everyone here loves to smoke - the locals, the international tourists, everyone, it seems, has a stogie in their mouth, even if it's raining cats and dogs. But that, too, is another story...

seaweed harvester leaving offering at sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

monkey prints. photo by desiree east

The Balinese leave offerings for the Hindu gods throughout the day, on a daily basis. You can see them everywhere: in front of homes, restaurants, hotels, and businesses; on sidewalks, along roadsides, in the middle of intersections, and in cars and mopeds; in the forests and on the beaches.

They leave offerings to the good spirits, so that those spirits will continue to provide prosperity, good fortune, and good health. They also leave offerings for the bad spirits to keep them satisfied and quiet, in hopes that those spirits will leave the people alone. Daily offerings are a way to thank the gods and to keep the relationships between human beings and spirits in harmony.

With Nyepi approaching, it was a busy day. As the afternoon went on, more people came to leave an offering of their own.

First, it was the woman who didn't have a lighter. Then another woman arrived, alongside her tiny boat over-flowing with seaweed. About 20 minutes later, an elderly man, dressed in temple attire, left another offering. After that, another elderly woman approached with a teenaged girl - the elderly woman dressed in traditional attire and the girl dressed in modern-day fashion. They, too, left an offering, except the girl - like all teenagers - stared out to sea, ignoring the whole offering thing, as if she was daydreaming about her friends and the evening's ogoh-ogoh festivities. Finally, before I left, a young man came to leave an offering.

I sat quietly on the beach, keeping my distance, and exchanged smiles as people came and went.

It was a beautiful thing.

two umbrellas and incense burning. photo by desiree east

balinese offerings on lava rock. photo by desiree east

random and untitled update #1

bali roads by desiree east Hello from Bali! My apologies for not updating sooner, but it has been somewhat of a whirlwind since our arrival. Brendon and I are finally settling into the groove of things.

The internet service is kind of spotty, so my blogging will be pretty random until I figure out some sort of routine for it, as it seems like we get the best connection at nighttime. Because of this, I'm not sure how I will go about updating my blog. So far, I've got two weeks worth of photos and random stories to go with them.

I'm not kidding when I say random, either (because that's just how it is here, no joke). In a nutshell, I've learned quickly, that the best way to adjust to the pace of the Balinese lifestyle is to just 'go with the flow', follow your instincts, accept the blessings as they come your way, and most important, laugh off any little frustrations that might test your patience.

Like the internet connection. (At this very moment, I am frantically typing at a million words per minute, hoping that I am not cut off whilst in the middle of uploading stuff). And I probably won't have time to edit my grammar and such, so cheers to that.

Someone hand me a bintang, please.

On that note, I will archive everything the best I can by dates. Feel free to to click on the calendar (on the right, in the side bar) to see what we've been up to. My success in uploading photos will also depend on how strong the internet connection is, so...we'll see how that goes, too.

Sooooooo...what have we been up to???

For now, I will start with how our day went today...the MELLOWEST day since we arrived. Pretty uneventful, but a nice change, because we have been going non-stop for the last two weeks, while our friend Mike was here. Unfortunately, we had to say good-bye to Mike yesterday. I'm pretty bummed. No more side-of-the-road robot dances.

good-bye beers at the airport. bali.

Today, we took it easy and settled into our new place. We walked around our neighborhood. No car. No driving. No traffic. We strolled around, took our time, and went really slooow. Although, it was very hot - kind of like walking in a giantic, outdoor sauna, or a very large, enclosed greenhouse, if you will - it was relaxing. Oh, except on the main street, where we were dodging buzzing little mopeds and the occasional construction work truck making its way over dusty potholes.

entry towards our street or 'jalan' by desiree east

country road and neighborhood dog by desiree east

We walked further to see if we could find laundry service. We found a little laundry place right around the corner. You can see quite a few of them along the streets of Bali. There are no laundry mats, just laundry services. You drop your clothes off. They wash and hang them to dry for you. You pay by the piece.

It's been raining in the evenings, and it's been very humid, so hopefully, we will get our clothes back somewhat fresh and dry. It could take one day, or two days, or maybe even three or four days. We'll see. That's been our mantra for the last two weeks, "We'll see..."

laundry time by desiree east

On the way back, we stopped by the Silly Snail Cafe. It's also a base office for the R.O.L.E. Foundation (Rivers Ocean Lakes Ecology Foundation).

A Balinese woman greeted us (shoots, I forgot her name), and we attempted to communicate back-and-forth between Indonesian-English and then English-Indonesian, by using the usual hand gestures, facial expressions, and head nods.

She asked if I had any children, then in turn, I asked her if she had any. I thought she said that she had 20 kids, as I repeated after her, "Duapuluh? Duapuluh?" I vainly attempted to count to twenty with my fingers, "Satu, dua, tiga..." 

Smiling, the Balinese woman kept on nodding her head, "Ya! Duahpuluh." 

(I thought to myself, 'how cute...she is so proud of her twenty children').

But, still very confused, I looked at her petite, little frame, and I asked one more time, "Duapuluh???"

After smiling, giggling, and gesturing through a good two to three minute conversation of charades, I finally figured out that she had only one child who is twenty years old, "Oooooh, okaaaay..."

It was pretty comical. While I thought she had twenty kids, she was probably thinking, "Wow, this girl can count to twenty really well..." I think I need to hire an Indonesian tutor.

The R.O.L.E. Foundation provides education to local women and children, and offering programs that cover areas such as:

  • Women’s Literacy and Vocational Skills
  • Children’s Environmental Awareness
  • Eco-Friendly Business Start Up
  • Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Projects

This looks like something I'd love to be involved with. If we end up staying in Nusa Dua, and if I have more time, I would love to learn more about teaching/volunteering here...but who knows, "We'll see..."

the silly snail cafe and ROLE Foundation. nusa dua, bali. photo by desiree east

medicinal plants by desiree east

i heart orchids by desiree east


transformational creativity coach desiree east

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creativity Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

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