Asia, Destinations

On the occasion of my 39th Birthday

December 23, 2012 • By

Sorry for the delay – lots of travel and no internet. Updating the last week in a few blogs will publish all tomorrow (Christmas Eve)

On the occasion of my 39th birthday, it seemed necessary to celebrate New York style with a splash of Balinese thrown in the mix. No birthday is complete without a morning visit to Starbucks followed by brunch at the idyllic COMO Shambhala resort in Ubud known for combining holistic wellness with the art of ancient healing. If you really are looking for something different and need a much need a rejuvenating life changing experience, then this is the place. You can visit their website at

Jill and I enjoyed a relaxing brunch on the veranda of Como Shambhala overlooking a valley of dense forest. Our meal consisted of energizing pure juice drinks, organic leafy greens, fresh cheese, chicken, zesty orange and chocolate crepes and a very special birthday treat of mango cheesecake. It’s definitely a place to unwind, relax and focus on the mind and body. We focused on our stomachs, the next best thing to health and happiness.

Because I wanted to go and because we were in Bali and because it was my birthday, we decided to see Katut the healer made famous (or maybe infamous) for his staring role in Eat Pray Love. To say we were disappointed is one thing; to say Katut was a fraud is quite another. I was mildly entertained by the process and was happy to check it off the list but Jill was irate and wanted to notify the world that Katut, the healer, was Katut the scam artist.

We arrived to Katut’s family compound with hope and enthusiasm having such a great experience with Cok, the healer a few days prior. Katut sat crossed legged on his porch dressed in a turban type hat, yellow (very dirty) shirt, glasses, and a multi-colored sarong type of “pant.” An elderly man with gray disheveled hair, Katut fixed his eyed on me as I awaited my awe-inspiring reading. To my disappointment and to Jill’s fury, Katut issued us the same fortune and he did so with us listening to the other. It’s not like he changed even one word or a fortune here and there. I thought he suffered from dementia and gave him a break. Jill theorized and then later confirmed that Katut either never had the gift or worse and what many locals believe that he sold out his gift to make money and the gods took away his powers.

Regardless of the issue, Jill and I each paid $25 to find out we have good ears, a good nose, good cheeks, deep lines and that we are very, very pretty and in Katut’s words, “make me happy to see/meet you.” More importantly, Katut channeled the gods and communicated in English gibberish that, ” Your lips wet like sugar, you can get married, will be married until end of your life. You like Queen! Don’t worry or be sad. You success.” What more can a birthday girl want? A sweet old man telling me I am smart and pretty. I could do worse. HA!

Jill had a slightly different reaction and told the waiting tourists (victims) to run for the hills that Katut was a joke. It was made all the more funny that she did so in Katut’s sightline on Katut’s family compound. I’ve wasted $25 on lesser things but I would not encourage anyone to see Katut for anything other than a photograph at large.

Needing to make up for our bust of a visit, we did what we do best. We conducted a little retail therapy and purchased a few silk very inexpensive dresses. Having worked up a slight appetite, we finished the evening ogling over some Australian men not interested in chatting us up but we certainly did our best (that is after a bottle of sauvignon blanc).

It was a terrific birthday in a beautiful country with a very dear friend. Next year my 40th will be in Vegas. All are invited.

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