Cocos (Keeling) to Rodrigues

With another sailing adventure on the horizon (from Sand Point, Alaska to Petropavlovsk Kamchatka), I again find myself full of unfinished material I’ve been meaning to publish on this blog, such as video, photos and stories from my Indian Ocean crossing. As a first step in this effort, here is some footage taken from Cocos (Keeling) to Rodrigues, a journey of 12 days and 2,007 nautical miles; roughly 3,700 km.

Early morning, fishing lines out:

One of many stunning Indian Ocean sunsets.

Sometimes you are forced to watch the sunset with the engine on…

Rodrigues

Coming into Port Mathurin

The anchorage

Refuelling with the utmost efficiency

A little degustation before properly stocking up.

Rodrigues is a beautiful part of Mauritius, populated by genuinely hospitable people, which I strongly recommend to anyone wishing to escape to a paradise in middle of nowhere.

Yoga Barn, Lulu Lemon, Namaste

Sitting at the communal table of the Yoga Barn’s Garden Kafe, I order a ginger, lemon and honey hot pot as I take a look at my surroundings. The Yoga Barn is a beautiful space. Rustic but chic and as green as it gets. With high-end yoga facilities, perfect lighting, high ceilings and comfortable areas to chill and relax between classes, the barn offers a wide and open space set amidst terraced rice paddies and nestled in the bustling mountain village of lovely Ubud in Bali. As I keep looking around, I am stunned by the people – fucking beautiful people: perfect bodies everywhere wearing the most fashionable Lulu Lemon yogi outfits, perfectly tanned and simply gorgeous… Many tattoos all over the place: infinity signs, lotus flowers, Oms, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti… Lots of blondies with dreadlocks… and, the crystal healing necklace seems to be the barn’s uniform. I need to get one.

People from all over the world, true, but the diversity is somehow inhibited by the ruling class of the barn: top 1% without a doubt (they do offer “community free classes”… I don’t mean to overlook this initiative with my comment).

The Kafe Menu explains The Yoga Barn was one of the first veggie cafes in Ubud including “some non-veggie options for those who believe they need them”. Aouch!

As I am one of “those people”, I decide to order a chicken breast with potatoes. They offer only free-range chicken; happy chickens! So, as tables are shared, we all sit close to one another and it’s inevitable not to glance over my neighbors’ orders: kombucha, raw bowls, tofu in its different presentations, tempeh… I see no other happy chickens, uh-oh

After a couple of minutes, the smiley waitress arrives with my order and says out loud, “one chicken breast with potatoes, pleaaaase!” … My neighbors look at her… and I say: “here” (a small, small here), my neighbors look at me. I feel as if my dealer has just delivered my cocaine order which I am receiving in front of many kinder garden kids… I look back at my beautiful neighbors and smile. It was a happy chicken!

My neighbors change, I finish the (delicious and happy) chicken and two girls sit next to me. I open my book, Dune, and I am ready to immerse myself in it but the conversation distracts me.

  • Are you doing The Dance tonight? – gorgeous girl #1
  • Of course I am, SO excited! – gorgeous girl #2

A stunning guy joins them and asks: “how are you girls?”

  • SO GOOD, what about you?
  • AWESOME! – gorgeous guy responds

I am quite surprised about how good people feel around here, note to self: maybe I should go vegan. Conversation continues:

  • Hey so, we are grabbing a bite, do you want to order something? – GG#2
  • Noooo, I only eat breakfast! Big smile on his face.
  • SO GOOD for you! – GG#1
  • I know, I feel wonderful. I have to get going but I’ll see you tonight riiiight?
  • HELL YEAH! – GG#1&2

They take their hands to their hearts and then to their mouths, they do a little bow and he leaves…

(…)

I take a vinyasa class that day, probably the best vinyasa class I have ever taken, and, when the class ends my neighbor smiles at me and asks me about my tattoo. I tell him about it and he smiles again. Mannnn he is good-looking!

  • Did they use vegan ink? – he asks

WTF. I try to analyze the question. Vegan ink means?
As he sees my startling eyes, he just says:

  • It’s ok if you don´t know, they probably didn’t. I mean if you are not into that…

“Not into that” seems to mean: “if you are more into the let’s-kill-everyone thing”.

After the class I decide to sit in one of the comfy puffs at the lobby and wait for my next class. You can hear everywhere “the dance”, “the dance”, “the dance”. Fuck it, I might as well just do the dance.

The Ecstatic Dance is a free form dance event that recognizes itself by being a “talk free space” and by featuring a live DJ and electronic dance music with little to no direction to how people should dance. The events are drug and alcohol-free and most important, it is a space of non-judgment where people come together to “share a movement experience”.

The barn issues the dance tickets 1.5 hours before the dance starts and people just get all crazy pushing each other to get one of the golden tickets. And yes, I pushed as well.

As I wait for the dance floor to open its doors, I sit in the lobby area having a detox energetic juice before the big event. I would prefer to have a few beers to be ready to loose myself to dance but let’s see what this beetroot drink can do.

People come to the lobby and yogi outfits are gone: beautiful dresses, necklaces, flowers, hippie pants, make up, “OMG, you look amazing!”.

I realize I am still wearing my sports bra and the same sweatshirt I’ve used all week… (…)

An older guy is wearing a “Vegan means Peace” t-shirt and as he walks into the lobby, he gets high-fives from people “al righty!”, “I hear you man!”

  • You vegan? – he asks a girl
  • Of course!
  • How long?
  • 14 months. How about you?
  • 11 years. – smile, hands to the heart, bow, he walks away

As the lobby gets more and more crowded, I put away my book and decide just to watch. The average height is 5.10” and damn, how pretty they all are!

A new conversation starts close-by.

  • Hey, did you invite HER? – cute guy asks a cute girl
  • No way, I didn’t.
  • I mean, she eats caviar, I can’t even…
  • I know, I don’t hang out with people who eat caviar.
  • So wrong!

(…)

  • Hey so, is George coming?
  • Noooo, he is water fasting and he is in his 6th day so he is at that stage where he can’t move.
  • Wow, I SO wanna do that.

(…)

19:20 the dance floor opens… Music starts… people begin to dance, music gets louder and a strong and shared woohoo explodes in the studio… No drugs, no alcohol and people are just dancing like there is no tomorrow. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l people.

And so, as the music gets louder, I start to dance… cautiously… a few slow movements, and then a little more, and little more… and…

Fuck it! I close my eyes and I just lose it.

So there I am – quoting Hugh Grant – “dancing with my eyes closed and making a complete fool of myself”, sweating like a pig, jumping, moving and twisting every little part of my tiny 4.11” body and, I feel just AWESOME.

Namaste.

Ubud: ¿shanti shanti o ganas de regurgitar?

Hmmm… Ubud ¿qué puedo decir sobre Ubud? Seguramente no le dí la oportunidad que debiera, pero no me gustó o, mejor dicho, casi no me gustó. Aprovechamos la visita de una amiga a Bali y que Clarita, la bride to be, se había ido a Ubud a otra sesión de relajación y piñas coladas para hacer la excursión desde Canggu. El camino fue muy bonito y divertido, a ratos por calles pequeñas entre campos y casitas, a otros en avenidas grandes, caóticas, llenas de autos y motos yendo lo más rápido posible. Recogimos a Clarita a un lado del Yoga Barn, que por lo que entendí es como la meca de los yoggis, con clases a todas horas y grupos enormes de estudiantes y bali dreamers. Sentada en la parte trasera de mi moto, Clarita nos guió hacia un restaurante super saludable que tenía una bonita vista hacia la selva y a un templo hinduista. Al bajarse, tuvo la mala suerte de que su chamorro derecho tocara el escape de mi moto, Juanita Chantik, asándose al instante. Complemento su torpeza poniéndose pasta de dientes sobre la herida, haciendo que el choque térmico rompiera la piel, por lo que al cabo de una hora ya estaba secretando pus. Yo me sentía muy mal, pues, además del dolor, me imaginaba lo importante que para ella sería poder presumir sus chamorros el día de su boda. Pero Clarita es fuerte y, luego de mentarme la madre un par de veces y otras a la pobre Juanita, pasamos a ocupar una mesa en aquel restauran.

Yo me pedí un fetuccini de zucchini, que en realidad no era más que zucchini rayado con alguna salsita. Bastante equis, la verdad. Sacha se pidió unos increíbles huevos rancheros que, sorprendentemente, se parecían mucho a los verdaderos. Ya no recuerdo que pidieron Marie y Clarita, sólo sé que envidiaba la elección de Sacha y maldecía la mía. Eso del raw food claramente no es para mí -aunque tal vez un poco de tocino, incluso crudo, hubiera salvado el platillo.

Ubud es un pueblo en la montaña con bonitos templos, buenos restaurantes, un chingo de tiendas de pareos, batik y madres para decorar tu casa bien shanti shanti. Aquí ya no abundan los surfers ni los bikinis, pero abundan los güeros vestidos en trajes típicos balineses, con sorong y sombrerito, paseando por las calles, skypeando en los restaurantes, sentados en el piso (¡al pie de una mesa con sillas!) actualizando su facebook o escribiendo en sus blogs sobre la increíble energía que perciben en Ubud. Los restaurantes enfatizan su fair trade, sus productos orgánicos, la comida raw, libre de gluten, vegana, etc. ¡Bah humbug!

Ubud

Campos de arroz a las afueras de Ubud

Ubud sin duda tuvo sus momentos bonitos, acogedores, pero el turismo yoggi y los fanáticos de Eat, Pray, Love llegaron a desvirtuarlo todo. Se organizan tours en bicicleta para ir a ver los arrozales, tomar fotos preciosas de lxs campesinxs chingándose bajo el sol, con pausas en los varios cafés que hay por todos lados alrededor del pueblo, también con vistas a los arrozales y esclavos, mientras aprovechan del wifi para taggearse con un frapuccino.

El contraste entre las macbooks y la madriza que se acomodan lxs campesinxs a escasos metros de estos me revuelve la pansa. No logro disfrutar de los paisajes y sólo quiero alejarme de ahí, de dejar de contribuir a que el esquema del hombre blanco y su frapuccino frente al balinés y su hoz se siga reproduciendo. Mi humor mejora cuando llegamos al Bosque de los Changos. Aunque no entramos, me divierto en las calles de los alrededores viendo como los changos hostigan a los turistas y vendedores de parafernalia balinesa. Tratan de robarlo todo, sea comida, sea unos lentes, una cámara, etc. No importa. Los balineses cuidan sus changarros armados de resorteras, ramas y escobas y no descansan ni un minuto. Los turistas se confían y van perdiendo cosas, sin saberlo, en el camino. Un señor sale del supermercado con una bolsa de plástico llena de frutas y un chango lo sigue de cerca hasta que alcanza la bolsa, le hace un agujero por debajo, caen todas las frutas, agarra todas las que pueda y se va corriendo, trepando las paredes de una tienda e instalándose en el techo a disfrutar de su tesoro, cuidándose siempre del acecho de otros changos. El señor está furioso. No le causa ni una gracia. Quiere matar al chango. Odia al chango. Odia su existencia. Odia haber salido de su ciudad de gente llena de odio. A mi me da risa y disfruto mucho de la escena, de ver como una persona puede enojarse tanto con un chango.

Debo enfatizar que esto no es más que la expresión de mi propia experiencia en Ubud y que tengo amigos que maman el Yoga Barn, la comida insípida y colocar estatuillas de Ganesh en su jardín. En aras de fomentar la diversidad de opiniones en este blog, de formas de expresarse y abrir este espacio a un mayor número de autores y lectores, la semana que viene Virginie Martin-Onraët, co-capitana del velero “Un Jour” e intrepida escaladora, publicará su visión de Ubud.

Sailing “Un Jour”

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Cocos (Keeling), Australia

Cruzando el Océano Indio; Bali a Cocos.

 

Quizás algún día se embarque conmigo alguien que sepa filmar y editar. Entretanto, aquí mis mejores esfuerzos.

Aquí un link a unas fotos del mismo trayecto.