When we find ourselves in a new place or situation there is usually a lot going on – internally as well as externally. Overwhelming is the word that comes to mind. Where to stay? How long to stay? Where to next? Where to eat? How to meet people? What should I be doing here? Yes, overwhelming, that definitely fits.
Arriving in Ubud, Bali was no different. Walking down the main street for the first time awakened some emotions, the strongest being frustration. How did I end up walking down a ‘spiritual chic 5th Ave’ – a street lined with shops selling designer prayer beads and $85 yoga pants. Why am I here? Why do so many people come looking for a spiritual experience and assume that its something money can buy?
After walking past four Polo Ralph Lauren shops in about 30 minutes I felt upset with myself for being here which ultimately meant being part of the problem. Having four of the same store, any store, in this close of a proximity is some indication of a problem. Having four Polo Ralph Lauren stores is an even bigger problem because they happen to be a major contributor to deforestation by means of sheer size as well as sourcing some of their fabrics from “some of the worst forest destroyers in the world” (http://www.ran.org/ralph_lauren).
With frustration running amuck it was time to do the only thing that could be done at the time. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So I cleared my mind, dropped everything, backtracked to pick up my camera, and headed out for a mosey with no plan or expectation.
“Come drink coffee” someone says to me as I walk by…
It’s beyond commonplace for this type of sales pitch to vibrate through my head. I had no interest in coffee but my first reaction was to ask ‘how much?’. The response I got was anything but normal – ‘free – come take a rest’. So I took a rest, and spent the rest of the afternoon laughing with a group of self-proclaimed ‘crazy people’ from Bali. They run this parking lot and simply hang out drinking coffee all day; literally watching money drive into their pockets.