Art, Culture, and Ocean Conservation . . .

Archive for April, 2011

All the things

As you near the end of time in one place all the things you love about it rush onto you like a fresh breeze. You instantaneously start tapping back into the feelings, sensations, and perceptions we all so quickly come to take for granted.

Im leaving Ubud, I ve left before, but was not going so far away.
Ubud I will miss you and all of your secret ways.

Your warm and sweet ancestral love, incense wafting out of every window and door.
Ubud I will miss you. I will miss your dragonflies galore.
I will miss the lil dance of the taxi drivers call and the unbelievable taste of the nasi campur.

Weve been so spoiled every morning -breakfast brought to our door. Fruit tower, banana pancake,pineapple pancake, omelet, scramble, local plate, you could never ask for more!

Ubud I will miss you and all your ceremony! THe holy water flicked by flowers onto every single thing. The celebration of knowledge, of love, and of history. The gamelon floating and hanging thick in the air, with every moment hammering the story of a thousand years.

Offerings made everyday, dogs following along the way, motorbike buzz, and rhumbutan love, and flowering passoinfruit vines, Ubud my dear, your vision is clear, your liveliness frozen in time. And Bats! Ill miss the bats. They are large and loud and clattering around but i still love their presence so. The geckos! My favorite house pet ever. We even had a hip hop gecko at one place he was so cute, saying Geck-Geck-Geck-Geck-OOOOOOO. they are big , bigger and small. .. .your lil friend hangingout by the light on the wall xo

So many lil magickal wonders loom in every nook and every crack-what a place to discover and be rediscovered back, ubud, already, you are like a long lost friend.

Ubud you breed flowers, bells, coconuts and reeds!
I am parting, it is true, but it is not nearly the end of this, only onward, gayly forward, merely shifting continents.

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Fire

I’ve been thinking a lot about fire. About fire performance, about fire conclave, but also about the rudimentary element of FIRE. Its a constitution, a way of life, a tool, a means of communication, an element, a type of breathing, the force of creation, and the force of destruction.

In Costa Rica a grandmother of the Bri-Bri tribe taught me that when a fresh banana leaf is folded in half to wrap a piece of cacao or make a papuse for a baby. . . that it will snap—first you must place the banana leaf over the flame. Only then will it become flexible AND stay strong.

In Australia the Aborigines make canoes from the trees to navigate the mucky swamps and stay further away from the crocodiles, but before the trees can be shaped and made strong-they also must go through fire.

We use fire as a ritual, as a right of passage, and as a marker as the sun coming around for spring. In Iranian tradition, Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar, at spring time it is common to jump over small fires to mark the increase in light that spring brings and to let go of the shade of winter.

This from wikipedia: The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make bonfires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az (ane) to, sorkhî-ye to az (ane) man (“az-ane to” means belongs to you); This literally translates to “My yellowness is yours, your redness is mine,” with the figurative message “My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me.” The fire is believed to burn out all the fear (yellowness) in their subconscious or their spirit, in preparation for new year.

In the east village in Manhattan there are many gardens and last year I had the honor of celebrating Nowruz and getting to jump over the fires. I was a bit hesitant at first but it was quite liberating. Jumping over fires is also common in the up coming Beltane-another celebration of spring.

As I have been traveling one word that comes up a lot amongst holistic healers and yogi’s and other higher mind seekers is that of a person’s Constitution- which needs to be in balance per Chinese Medicine. I actually had never heard this term before traveling. . . but once I learned about it I started hearing it EVERYWHERE. Funny what a lil awareness will bring to light. So there is also a FIRE Constitution (www.herbdoc.com) -The Fire constitution is associated with warmth and light. Fire, like our minds, illuminates and sheds light on a darkened world. It’s lively, full of imagination and vitality. When kept under control, fire is very useful. However, it will dominate and consume if not kept in check.

The circulatory system and the upper parts of the body are associated with the fire element, because heat rises. The heart is seen by the Chinese as the home of insight and understanding. Courage is also associated with the heart.

Excess fire leaves one “out of touch with reality” and living in a dream world. It can also result in excessive imagination and the over pursuit of perpetual happiness. Not enough Fire may leave one unable to accomplish goals, antisocial, and with a fear of trying something new.

You can be cleansed with fire, initiated through fire, and burned by fire. Fire is the sun and is the core of the earth and exists through out the galaxy.

What an amazing, versatile, life saving, technology advancing element in existence. Much love to the fire. Burn bright. ox

Neil Gaiman Audiobook Contest: Help Me Win! ox

Well Lovelies I have been on an extraordinary adventure but I return back to the USA next week and am already gearing up for new projects. I could really use your help on this one! Please vote for me to be the voice for Neil Gaiman’s Audiobook “American Gods.” Everyone can vote 1 x per day and I only need 400 more votes to be in the finals. Help me out*

http://neilgaiman.bookperk.com/engine/Details.aspx?p=V&c=29933&s=7911901&i=1#SD

Username:snapdragon T hanks so much* xo -=ali*

Pirate Faerie Mermaid

Puttering along the Indonesian Ocean to an island an hour from the coast where sunsets and sunrises envelope each day and fishes and coral reefs fill the inbetween.

Swimming in water so thick with fish you can see the water current swirling through the school- the silver backs flash sunlight into our eyes and suddenly I’m eye to eye at the surface with a school of long tube nosed needlefish and then another swirling cyclone of smaller fish come swimming through- their limits outline our bodies as we paddle through the water- the eye of the storm- the calm center as they circle around us trying to avoid being prey. So wild. Dangerously beautiful we soar through the ocean, island to island, full of dragons and dolphins and Manta Rays and Sharks and color changing cuddlefish and the many layers of the lionfish at full sail- I don’t think I have envisioned or visited a more psychedelic place then underneath the middle of the ocean. Huge clams larger than dogs with electric green, purple, and yellow lips- coral that are perfect replicas of human hearts tiedyed in dayglow pink, green, and yellow- ginormous fish floating by like submarines, grand mountain ranges, towers, and valleys- creatures upside down and backwards with super human strength, more decked out than I am on my best paying gigs, when everything is measured in meters it’s hard to comprehend how deep I’ve actually been going- but for anyone who has enjoyed a sunset on my roof with me in manhattan – imagine those 6 or 7 stories inverted under the ocean and the buildings replaced with coral and the people replaced with fish and that’s about where I’ve been hanging out- in a mirror of my previous existence 7-10 stories deep, breathing under water.

I’ve spent lots of time swimming in the sea over the past few weeks, seafaring Indonesia as the faerie mermaid pirate that I am, which incidentally has allowed me to check in with all the scrapes and scars on my body- the roadmap of lines, moments, and events that have left their mark on my vessel, like an old boat after many years at sea. However, it doesn’t matter how many layers of paint have weathered away as long as the planks of wood are rot free and the boat still floats-I feel that over the years my vessel has only become stronger, letting go of what no longer serves me, creating a more streamlined and efficient voyage. Opening up secret treasure chests of gems and jewels I am still discovering teeming with riches I am only now bringing to the surface.

Moving Forward

Sitting with The Gypsy princess plucking starshine from the sea. My final hours in gill T spent at the seashore letting the tide bring forth our lil phosphorescent friends. Hours spent listening to the waves and drifting off into the milky way. The gili islands are quite simple but also totally endearing for the same reason. Your elders are papa and mama and the locals your brothers and sisters – there is no separation- all people are family here. It is never goodbye-only see you later. There is a laxidaisicality seeping from every store front, market, and family stay. . .typically sung in the tune of Bob Marley or Guns ‘n Roses and accompanied by acoustic guitar.

Time to move forward to our next leg of the journey- further east in Indonesia for the next 36 hours. English is slipping further And further away and full immersion is imminent. Already today I have taken two ferry’s, three buses, and a minivan and am now driving across two islands over- by tomorrow afternoon we will arrive in Flores- nearest to Komodo island

Already the buildings are different the people are different, their religion is different-more Muslim, barely any Hindu- more mosques- partaking in the call to prayer five times a day, leading to their dress being different- instead of Kabaya’s now the womens hair is covered. The local food is changing. The Indonesian dialect is notably different. However- one thing remains constant throughout all of Indonesia that I’ve seen so far, the younger generation here is undergoing their “hardcore” stage- they all have swooshy and spiky hair styles, tips bleached with peroxide, shirts with metal font, skulls, and even Iron Maiden is coming through on tour. It’s so funny I remember in Bali we’d be at these peaceful organic restaurants in the rice fields and you’d go downstairs to use the toilet and you’d hear nothing but hardcore metal pouring from the kitchen 🙂 \m/

In the capital of Lombok in Matarhan where we made our major bus connection we had a 2 hour wait and Justin and I went to grab some super yummy local food. On our way we passed a lil Toko (shop) that makes keys—they even make skeleton keys. When the young key maker saw my tattoo he got very excited and asked me to wait while he finished his customers- he then hand cut a real skeleton key to match my tattoo!!!

Atcha- make that 36 hour trip something longer- as it’s 11am and our ferry is broken down and will not leave Sape, Sumbawa, Indonesia until 4pm- rather than 9am. It’s all good though this is all part of the adventure. The night bus was pretty crazy lolol we drove all the way across the island of sumbawa-through the mountains, in the rain- the ac was so cold that there were ice blocks in the overhead luggage bins by morning-for real! and several times throughout the night all passengers on the bus would bolt awake from sudden jerky stops, bumps, and near accidents. we made it to our bus transfer in the early morning and rode another two hours to the east coast to catch our 10 hour ferry. So im chillin with the locals brushing up on my Bahasa Indonesian and as I’m writing this there are cute lil
Goats hanging out by my bag*

Wooohoo ferry is now in service at 6pm- had a nice day hula hooping and introducing toroflux magick to locals. Feeding goats and watching Indonesian news. I guess there was some crazy stand off between malaysia, Indonesia, and some pirates! I hope that’s not what was wrong with our ferry 😉

I love the public ferry actually it’s mad cheap-$4.50 and then we even got beds for $1.50 more- and it’s a 10 hour ride. The ferry is in full swing! Families, teenagers, babies, vendors, crazy space alien movies with fire swords and ice queens and Hercules, people playing music- lil girls selling things with the baskets balanced so nicely upon their heads despite the swaying of the boat. It’s unbelievable how tight they pack the trucks and buses on these things too- man oh man you could barely fit a piece of paper between vehicles.

LaBoun Bajo is a scruffy lil harbor town that is 100% authentic. It’s lil brightly colored ramshackle houses and piers laden with drying fish have not been touched by the sticky fingers of 7-11 or Circle K. There’s a bumpin night market and a beautiful mosque and all the trucks here have crazy huge stickers and lights across them saying things like “mobil sexy,” “sniper,” and “Tom Cruise!” at night the trucks all flash and light up different colors- Justin and I call them techno trucks.

This one street town is lined with lil family style restuaraunts and, the main reason we are here, dive shops! Well and our awesome view.

Oh yeah and really fresh coffee

Oh yeah and KOMODO Dragons! The diving here though is some of the best diving in the world! The mix of hot and cold currents creates abundant and colorful marine life- so many fish your head spins and yesterday we seam with huge MANTA RAYs!!!! But more about that later as I’m about tp board a boat to a deserted island for the next couple days!!!

Much love to you all and may you seek amazing adventures**

Xo

-=ali*

Gili Tranwangan

Welcome to Gili Tranwangan-(literally translates to dreaming) a land that has crystal blue waters, jingly miniature pony taxi’s, and no cars. An old sea town where most structures hold the undeniable history of going a few feet underwater at some point -as most doors don’t close warped by the moisture and all paint on the walls below your knees is crumbling- but most the restaurants and cafe’s don’t have walls anyway. A village full of charm and wonder off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia.

Dining bungalows a few feet from the shore provide cool shade in the hot sun and the days seem to lap over you like the tide on your toes.

Second day here getting school’d by mama ocean excited about spending the next 4 days under water working on my Mermaid skills. Currently sitting by the crystal blue ocean at the foot of misty volcanoes drinking coconuts with flowers in them surrounded by dragonflies- pretty deluxe.

Sunset bike ride delivered the gift of low tide- allowing us to walk out on ghost coral bed ocean floor for about 75 yards discovering THOUSANDS of live brittle Starfish!! They were so cute and they were everywhere!!!! So cute with their lil Velcro legs sticking and unsticking together- some of them staulking and sliding across the lil puddles of ocean like an octopus or Poisiden. Climbing into shells and peaking out waiting for their next meal to swim by.

Sitting on the ocean with the warm night breeze blowing over us. Red snapper caught today cooked whole was our scrumptious dinner. Candles flicker in the wind and a cute old man busts out sick melodies on the didgeredoo, the rain stick and this smaller circular breathing instrument with a high pitch- then he grabs some poi and starts doing under the leg tosses lolol. Teaching us tricks in the middle of the dirt road.

Bali had many dogs, Gili has cats- there is a cat for every table it seems lol. Lil cats all over the place- and roosters.

The interior of the island is very poor, barebones, houses and raised shacks where multiple generations of families live sans furniture, neatly tucked away. It’s a stark difference To the touristy seashore just a few meters away. . . And for most remains totally unseen and unknown.

Snorkeling in front of our bungalow on the north part of the island is spectacular!! Tons of angelfish, damselfish, big turtles, I even saw a ray one day- it was so great- that we actually decided to get our scuba certification so we could go deeper and we actually completed today. Yesterday I spent 5 hours under water and today we had two beautiful dives! We saw lionfish, moray eels, barracudas, clownfish, large blue seastars, huge green turtles, hawksbill turtles, stonefish, sweetlips- the oriental sweetlips looks like a lichenstein painting all stripey and polkadotted, pufferfish, and some triggerfish that remind me of drag queens. Lol. Our next dive is an adventure night dive and works towards getting our advanced open water scuba certification. I hear that there is so much bioluminescent sea life that every time you tread the water it looks like you are surrounded by faeries!!!!!!!! And I found this out AFTER I signed up- sooo cool.