– Where is the reception? – I asked, at the entrance of the SPA, mesmerized by the beauty of the statues (Krishna, Saraswati, Ghanesh), the luxurious nature – shamlessly wet, green, stubbornly sensual – and the aroma of different incenses burning, simultaneously.
-I am reception. – A Balinese lady told me in her rough, yet efficient, English.
-I AM RECEPTION…- I repeated after her, in a whisper only I could hear, wondering at the lesson she´d just offered me without noticing.
What do I do when I land in Bali? I search for a full goddess body treatment in an old SPA in Ubud – that´s what I do, that´s what good daughters of Venus do.
The name of the lady who received me – claiming to be THE RECEPTION – was Katut (number 4), the fourth child of a family. I loved the sound of her name and spelled it aloud, like an excited child, learning her first words:
KA-T-U-T. The last three letters drummed on my tongue – TUT! – and made it tingle.
She took me to the massage parlour, a piece of heaven in the midst of Ubud´s hub – and I struggled not to fall asleep. I was exhausted. It took me so long to arrive to Bali: endless hours of flying and waiting between flights. In and out of consciousness…half awaken and half asleep…mixed up brain due to time zones´changes…the frontier between reality and dream vanished.
It seems to me that arriving to Bali is an Initiation the country demands from its visitors. The trip doesn´t start when you arrive to the country – it starts when you head to the country. In just 2 days, I caught 3 airplanes, 2 of which with long flights enough to review my life from birth until the present moment; I had lunch in Paris and breakfast in China. I even visited downtown Guangzhou, in China, between flights. Jet-lagged, foggy and cranky, I still roamed with the flow.
My brain endured – and eventually adapted to – 3 time zone changes.
If you successfuly arrive to Bali after this long, long trip, your brain is already stripped of any logic, sense of reality or balance. You´re literally out of your mind. And I wonder: how bad can that be? Losing our mind is not the worst thing that can happen. But that´s just me, a Madness child, talking.
-Am I awakened? – I asked, while sleeping.
-Am I dreaming? – I asked, while awakened.
I arrived to Bali not knowing which day it was. The taxi driver answered before I could ask:
-You arrived on Saraswati day.
-Ah…ok. Fair enough. Not Friday or Saturday, just Sarasvati day. Some folks know what´s important. – I smiled, a happy zombie on her way home. Another home.
Although she assured me she was using coconut oil, Katut´s hands smelled of rice. And her silence was loud.
Even stuck between dream and reality I knew: another school term had begun.
The eternal student is back to school!
More informations on Saraswati Goddess: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswati