When I first arrived in Ubud I came across Cafe Wayan, the name of Wayan's shop in the book, on Monkey Forest Road, and was disappointed to find that someone was using the familiar and famous name for their quite successful and over-priced restaurant and cooking school. Afterwards I decided not to seek out the characters in the book. I tend to do a lot of walking around on a daily basis, so if its meant to be I figured I would happen across the shop before I leave Ubud. So after finding this map, I thought, well I guess it is meant to be that I meet Wayan, if in fact her name written on the map means anything at all - there are probably twice as many Wayan's in Ubud than there are Ketut's, and I've met plenty of both. But I decided to give it a try. I had a yoga class at 4PM that day so I decided to visit Wayan's shop at around 11AM to leave me plenty of time...so I thought.
It didn't take me long to find the shop, and when I saw the small blue sign reading 'Traditional Balinese Healing' I just knew that I had found her. The shop was small and mostly open aired. In the front there was a wooden table and chairs cluttered with papers and bits of root and leaves. Next to the table was a glass cabinet filled with jars of herbs and remedies. The back was dark with a bench and blankets. There were stairs leading up to a second floor loft space. This seemed to be where the massages took place. A kitchen was hidden away just to the right of the entrance and there was a small garden in front. As I walked into the shop I was immediately greeted by a young girl, I guessed was about 13. She was holding a fluffy white puppy and invited me to sit down. I soon found out that this girl was none other then Tutti! And what a doll! She called for her mother and got straight to work grinding fresh turmeric into a lovely bright orange drink, which she poured into a wine glass and offered to me. Wayan was busy attending to the other 3 people in her shop, flitting here and there, but I was perfectly content in my small talk with Tutti, mainly concerning her adorable puppy.
In about 20 minutes I would come face to face with a flighty little smiling Balinese woman, the now famous , Wayan, who lived up to the hype in every way. She was very welcoming, despite being quite busy. Wayan offers a few different levels of service from just a body reading, to the full blown all-day extravaganza, including a full-body massage and a vitamin lunch. I went for the cheapest option which on paper included just the body reading and traditional remedies. Wayan I found had something else in mind completely. I told her I only had until 3:00 because I had to get to a yoga class and she assured me that she would be done with me in plenty of time. The client she had sitting behind her simply smiled knowingly, slowly shaking her head in an 'oh you poor thing, you have no idea what your in for' way. Wayan started by asking me my name and where I was from and when I was born. Then she gave me a flower and told me to rub it between my palms until it was gone. In the meantime she made her offerings of a small flower arrangement and burning incense to a religious statuette, speaking my information to the deity. When she came back to face me she began running her hands all over my body, mumbling about my kidneys and joints, jotting down notes as she went. She had me put one leg on a chair, then the other, running her hands along each. Every once in a while she would smile up at me and tell me "I explain later." Then she took my hands in hers and began reading my lines. Again taking vigilant notes. When she couldn't get a good reading on my love line she had me hold a flower against the line for about 20 minutes before she took another look. "Ah, there it is!" Haha...this was getting fun. When the reading was over she sat me down, giving me a pen and paper. Then she went through all of her notes urging me to make notes of my own. This is what I got:
- I need to drink more water, calcium and Vitamin E
- I need to eat less sweets, especially ice cream, which I found funny because that is my favorite treat
- I have bad blood circulation which causes cold fingers and toes...yep...I should not drink cold water or eat ice or ice cream (there it is again - it's like she knows my weakness)
- Sore joints in my knees, hip and shoulders...correct again...this can be taken care of with Galanga root
- Back pain can be remedied by boiling cucumber and drinking the water
- For my digestive issues I should eat more rice mixed with veggies
- For the kidneys I should eat more papaya and turmeric
Wow...Besides all of this I'm as healthy as a horse!
Now onto the palm reading:
I'll have a long life. Nice to know :)
I'll always be able to find a job because I'm smart (well that's a relief since I left a perfectly good job before coming on this trip), but apparently I will eventually only be working part-time...hmm
She pretty accurately described a 2 month and 3 month relationship I had in the past, and told me there was a third 1.5 year relationship. I told her no way, I've never had a relationship last that long. She gave me funny look and told me "well there is definitely a man in your life who has loved you for a year and a half." I wonder who that could be? Then she went on to tell me I will have 3 loves in my life, 1 short small love, 1 long small love that will last 5.5 years, and 1 long deep love that will last 9.1 years. When I seemed troubled by the fact that I had 2 long loves, she took my hand and began telling me about her divorce. Now I really felt like Liz Gilbert!
Finally she told me I have 3 kids inside me. This does not mean I will have all 3, just that they are there. 2 are strong, and 1 is small. I couldn't get her to elaborate on what that meant, but it creeped me out.
I wish I could say this is where the story ends, but like I said, Wayan had her own plans. I got up to leave when she said "where you go? You not done. " She then handed me a sarong, "Undress! Put this on." I tried explaining again that I had a yoga class to get to. At this point it was already 2:30, but she just shooed me into the back assuring the rest of the treatment would be quick. "15 minutes you be done. Now undress!" Well, I thought to myself, I am here, in Wayan's shop, I may as well just go with it. I resolved that I could miss my class and just double up tomorrow if need be. The bathroom I was ushered into to change was tiny and filthy. I tried to shimmy out of my clothes and into the sarong as quickly and stealthfully as possible, avoiding touching anything. When I came out I was asked to sit on the bench in the back of the room, in full view of the rest of the shop, for anyone who wished to watch my pending torture. Two men and an old woman appeared out of the kitchen with bowls of murky, foul-smelling warm water with leaves in it. All three then proceeded to roughly scrub down my entire body with the leaves. And when I say rough, it is no exaggeration....at times it felt like they were taking my skin off, and they did not miss an inch, even my face and hair was scrubbed for at least 30 minutes (ha...15 minutes my ass). By the end I was dripping with brown water and bits of leaf, feeling utterly spent and like I just took a bath in stagnant pond water. But they were not finished, next they began removing the excess water and leaves by running what looked like a long toothpick down my body over and over. Then came the nice smelling oils, at least 5 different oils, rubbed all over my body. And finally two patches that felt like icy-hot were placed over my knees and I was told to sit and wait for Wayan. I felt like I had been dragged though a swamp, but I did as I was told. While I had been busy getting my "treatment" Wayan had busied herself pulling together some roots, leaves, and pills which she handed to me with instructions on when and how to take each. Then she told me I could get changed. As I was leaving, remedies in hand, I asked for a picture with Wayan and she was happy to oblige. She asked me if I was sure I didn't want to stay for the rest of the treatment, but I felt like I desperately needed a shower, so I politely told her I had to run to my yoga class, which I was already a half hour late for. So I made my escape, with Wayan yelling after me to come back tomorrow to finish the treatment with a massage and vitamin lunch. After paying $40, I'm just not sure it would be worth it to endure further torture. Still I had fun spending the day with Wayan, even if I did leave feeling a little like a drowned rat.