Ubud is a magical place. Less than 24 hours in, and I was already envisioning what a life would be like here. Achingly beautiful houses in the midst of stunning rice paddies, friendly, fascinating locals, fantastic food, roast suckling pigs, and plenty of tourists that would happily pay the prices that tend to go with the type of restaurant I like to work at.
Jenny was determined to get up early and have a morning yoga class, and while the idea held some appeal to me, the big, carved wooden bed held more. I felt a bit off this morning, so I figured a few hours napping and reading in bed would have me ready for another day of exploring.
A few hours later, Jenny returned. She had an invigorating morning yoga session, followed by coffee and pastries at a cute café, and being the great girlfriend that she is, she brought me home some breakfast. Still a bit groggy and wobbly, I ambled over to the table, extracted my pastry and absently took a bite of it, wondering why the hell she got one of those weird Asian pastry-abominations that is essentially a Danish with bologna and mayonnaise on it. It being Southeast Asia, said bologna and mayo Danish has been hanging out at the ambient temperature of, well, Bali. Having been thoroughly indoctrinated by the New York City Department of Health, I can assure you, this is exactly the temperature you should not hold meat and mayo at, what they call the “danger zone.”
Now, if it isn’t apparent, I will eat anything. Especially if I am hungry and I am in a foreign country. I am not a good editor in the eating department – pretty much anything goes. So, while I logically register the fact that even under the best of circumstances, a hot mayonnaise pastry is not a good idea, and under the worst of circumstances (read: these circumstances) it is a phenomenally terrible idea, my hand and mouth are unfortunately not part of that particular logic path in the brain. I think they are actually part of my autonomic nervous system, simply an involuntary reflex. Two bites into my hot mayo and balogna Danish, my brain finally catches up to my mouth, and starts screaming at itself: “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST DO? SERIOUSLY? A FUCKING HOT MAYO PASTRY? YOU ASSHOLE!”
At this point, that not-so-great feeling from all morning caught up with me as well, and it dawned on me that something was already not going well in my guts, and hot mayo pastry was not the answer. Fortunately the bathroom was close. A spirited solo game of Heads-Or-Tails ensued.
I periodically crawled, whimpering, out of our beautiful, pebble-floored bathroom, to lie on the bedroom floor, eyeing up my now not-so-amazing girlfriend. I imagine the look on my face could only have been that of a thoroughly abused, yet still loving, puppy. That sad, pitiful look that says “But I love you so much. What did I do wrong? How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me, yet so you glibly inflict this torment and suffering?” Exeunt my craven, maleficent nemesis to leave me wallowing in misery as she explores another beautiful day in Bali.
Given my above proclivity to eat anything in sight in developing countries, I’m no stranger and no draft-dodger to digestive attacks. I think my iron-clad stomach is perhaps rusting through with old age however. It seemed to be a stomach flu, complete with fever and bouts of chills and sweats, but it was mostly faded by the following morning, aided in part by my now-angelic girlfriend bringing me succoring young coconuts.