Right Here, Right Meow

Before Bali, I could count on two hands the massages I’d ever had, and most of those were for my feet. So having 2 on the same day was an unprecedented act of pampering. A little ways up the street is Siam Sally’s (Thai) restaurant, with live blues music twice a week. Behind it, down the typical narrow alley, lie a string of other businesses, and beyond them, usually rice fields. One of the beads on this particular string is the massage salon where I had booked an hour’s visit for a full-body experience. There are hundreds of massage salons around Ubud, from tiny to large, from messy to elegant. This was a serene, and tastefully designed salon, with private, open air rooms. I can’t fairly compare this ¬†massage to others because I don’t remember my last full-body version, but I really liked it (and the complimentary skewers of fruit and cup of tea that followed). I’ll just have to have more massages elsewhere so that I can compare this one to something.

Meanwhile, Jen was getting her first foot massage in another room. She hadn’t had one of those sorts before, and afterwards when we compared notes, we determined that she needed to experience a Reflexology massage (I’ve had several, including one in Prague (a Thai salon) that was among my life’s most painful -yet transformitive- experiences. Jennifer had no idea until we met up afterwards that the screaming man in the back room was me!). We rested for a while and then visited a different salon nearby where I’d had a good (painful) reflexology encounter the week before. This time, we were treated simultaneously, and near each other, and I could tell that Jennifer was getting the painful-yet-ultimately-soothing treatment that she was seeking. I told her to moan when it was too painful, that using english words to express pain can backfire. In typical response to a reflexology treatment, our feet and body and spirit were all improved as we walked away.

And walk away we did, through the impressive and large JungleBook-esque Yoga center (but too hip for my taste), and out the little known rear exit which puts us onto the fringe of the Peliatan village to the East. We really like this area. It’s authentic, and fascinating, and free of the tourist shops and trappings. There’s an open food market where we took our first forays into home-style Indonesian cuisine, and tempted the Bali-Belly gods. Let’s just say that these places wouldn’t last an hour under San Francisco’s health and sanitation codes. But we’ve been back a few times now, and Jennifer -who’s becoming an expert on Gado-Gado- thinks that Nyoman’s is the best.

As we eventually meandered towards home, we came upon a small bridge that crossed a brook. I looked down and saw 4 men, their fishing poles dipped into the brown, gushing water. They smiled and waved back at me, and my camera. Then I saw Jennifer, ahead of me a little, looking back with an expression of great concern, and pointing to the ground near her feet. There, inside a white plastic bag, amid a pile of garbage, on the side of the road, was a new-born kitten, crying loudly, struggling, all alone. Motherless on Mother’s day. Poof! Our day, our experience, had just changed. Up ahead, across the street was a tiny store, with cans of condensed milk. As I cut off the side of a plastic cup, Jen brought the crying critter to the shop’s tile curbside floor. We did our best to steer the ginger boy with far-away eyes to the thick, yellow milk, or let it bite it off our fingers. We bought the store’s lone dirty used dish towel, swaddled him up, and walked to an Ubud Animal Shelter that we’d seen on Monkey Forest Road. And we named him Gado-Gado. (I meant Gato-Gato as a hybrid pun, but the other stuck. Whatever).

Dewa was the young man working at the shelter when we arrived. His english was maybe worse than our Indonesian, so we weren’t sure why his shelter couldn’t help us. However, we persisted, and neighboring shop keepers got involved, and passers-by oohed and awed, and offered suggestions. We considered taking him to our first cottage in hopes that mother cat would accept and feed him. Our repeated attempts to reach the shelter south of Ubud failed, but momentum had shifted, and Gado-Gado was destined to get help. After an hour and a half, Dewa -who in the end was quite sweet and caring and instrumental- phoned a friend to take the little guy (such a loud cry for such a tiny body-which saved him) to the southern shelter. While we waited for the “ambulance” (scooter), Dewa added warm water to a small dropper bottle and fed Gado-Gado what might’ve been his first big meal. We let him walk around a lot on the flat bench between us, and he looked much stronger and better than 2 hours earlier. Our concerns about his injured eyes went away. He even stopped crying and slept for a while. It was night time when the help arrived. They carefully placed him into a box lined with a big clean towel, and whisked him away. We’ve since been in touch with the shelter a few times to know that he is still alive and seemingly doing well. But he is unusually young to be motherless, and his fate will be touch-and-go for the next 2-3 weeks.

Put out a prayer for Gado-Gado.

–matt

5-12-13 m camera, g gado 071

5-12-13 m camera, g gado 075

 

5-12-13 m camera, g gado 068

5-12 matt iphone 003

5-12 matt iphone 004

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. artmarysf
    May 17, 2013 @ 02:47:36

    Been sending the love to the little guy

    Reply

  2. kathysarconi
    May 17, 2013 @ 16:42:41

    You saved a life… how fortunate that you happened along when you did. I hope he makes it.

    Reply

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