I read the book few years back simply because it was D-Book to read. Everybody was talking about it, it was in Oprah, so I felt that I just HAD TO read it. So I bought and read the book. It was an interesting reading but not necessarily my all time fave. Being a person who loves travelling, the book kinda inspired me to travel MORE, but the findings and the reason(s) behind the travel itself did not really resonate with me. Still, it was a good and BOLD writing.
A month ago, I came to Ubud and totally forgot about the book until only in my last few days that a friend reminded me (yes Ira, that’s YOU) of the book and the characters in the book. But it just didn’t feel right, as the book revealed many sides of the characters that were not always pretty. So then, I decided that I wouldn’t pursue finding these people.
Last week I came again here to Ubud and felt that this time I’d do it. So today is the day.
First visit was Ketut Liyer. Just like in the book, I found him on his veranda giving traditional medicine to a Balinese woman whose son was a bit “confused” (that’s his exact word, “bingung”). At first he thought I was there for some medicine, but then I awkwardly explained my visit (that I basically wanted his autograph and a picture with him… very clever Win). Then I elaborated a bit about how “famous” he is now with the book and upcoming movie, though he had no clue who Julia Robert is.
Then he suddenly felt the urge to “read” me. Looking at my face and reading my palm, he told me stuff, like the usual one, that I’ll be living to the age of 100, to the detail about my sex life (oooo and both of my parents were there listening as he revealed how many times a night -at least that’s what he thought- that I normally do IT… yea and there goes my goodie two shoe image)
But overall it was a good visit. I expected no less of him, with a very good sense of humor and he said he must speak in English so that he’d not forget and he said that I should teach him more English. When I was done with him, there were 3 more groups waiting to be welcomed. But it was a pretty good experience. Since I did not come to ask for anything (he basically forced me with the “reading”), he refused to accept anything from me except my home and email addresses.
Then I went to Balinese Traditional Healing where Wayan and Tuti live. I met Wayan and later Tuti (returning from school, she’s now already 3rd grade of Junior High). It was kinda weird as she was a bit irritated that I knew her from the book (and I can totally understand why). She told me that she planned to return the money coz the humiliation that she received was not worth the money. Many tourists look down on her as she was portrayed as a dishonest woman in the book.
During my visit, I ate her vitamin lunch which was a pretty good vegetarion dish. First we’re served Tumeric Juice, then lunch then another Jamu drink (one package was IDR 60,000). She served Obin with Rice and Egg and Juice Strawberry and did not charge us for that.
I believe that she’s a good woman at heart but she told me that she was under the perception that the book was for personal consumption and not be widely distributed. I mean, I can not imagine her old clients finding out that maybe their wives were made pregnant by other men instead of her traditional medicine.
I also saw her doing “reading” to a female client and (as it was done in the dining area) found out that this woman was sleeping with another man as her husband doing pretty much the same thing.
She also told me that she was contacted by the producer but no real number was discussed. She told me also that with the right price, she wouldn’t mind playing herself. The movie shooting will take place in October. So, October is definitely a good time to visit Ubud as not only you’ll get to see Ketut Liyer and Wayan, you might actulally get to see Julia Robert.