I find myself surrounded by the sounds of running water, after being woken by the crows of an errant rooster and the slight smell of smoke. There is always an undertcurrent of smoke in the air, evidence of the transformative power of fire and the fact that this is how rubbish is dealt with here.
This is Indonesia. Or more accurately, Ubud, in the hills about an hour's drive from Denpasar. Spiritual centre of the Hindu island of Bali.
I call it the Mothership.
After what was a pretty fraught end to last year, and after finding myself going slightly nutty, what with being between jobs, dealing with the death of my niece and a few other matters, I took things into my own hands and booked the trip. Six days in Ubud to retreat, regroup and try sort my head out.
It turns out this is exactly what was needed.
But unlike Elizabeth Gilbert on her journey in Eat, Pray, Love (a book that is much maligned around these parts) I think I'll call this episode of my life Sweat, Chant, Heal.
See, if it was an Eat, Pray, Love journey I'd be doing just that - but I'm not. Okay, I'm writing this at the breakfast table. Nyoman (third-born child) has brought me some lovely fruit all cut up - the only way I eat fruit. He's also placed in front of me some dreadful packaged orange juice, some toast and an omelette - the omelette, as in most Asian countries, in excellent. The coffee is local and not overly dreadful. There is no fresh milk, but the coffee creamer and a bit of sugar makes it drinkable. I need to keep my fluids up. I'm sweating for Australia, but this is a good thing too - it's all a part of the purge.
I've made a pact with myself that while I'm here I'm going to be vegetarian. Not vegan - bugger that, but I'm not eating anything with a face until I get back to Australia. Good thing eggs and tofu aren't meat. I admit that I need the protein. It's too hot to eat too much anyway. A great thing about Ubud is that the quality of the vegetarian food is phenomenal. Cheap and plentiful. It feels right.
So this is day two of my holiday/retreat.
The journey here was uneventful, discounting the transfer up to Ubud courtesy of Wayan (First born child) and his minivan which I've dubbed H&H transfers. H&H stands for "Hang on and Hope". It could also be Hell and High-Water transfers, as they will get you there by hell and high water, even if it means liberally applying the horn to passing mopeds and driving in the centre of the road at all times.
My hotel, the Amoya Inn, is a small family establishment off the Hanoman Road, located at the back of a family compound. You'd never find it if you didn't know it was there. My room is large, air-conditioned and fairly simple. The pool is just what it needed. That the place is in the middle of town, but quiet is just perfect. Gives me plenty of time to write and swim and think and heal.
I've made an appointment with a Sound Healer on Thursday - can't wait for that. For the rest of the time, I've discovered a yoga practice called Yin Yoga - which is slow and gentle and works on connective tissue - and the teacher is gorgeous and incredibly helpful and patient.
I have more to tell, but I need some sleep.
This is exactly where I need to be,
It is bliss.