Bali is Trying to Kill Me: Food

‘Bali is trying to kill you.’ My co-workers joke. I am in Bali for five weeks with my work team which consists of myself and two very experienced travelers. My co-workers have lived in various foreign, sometimes extremely dangerous countries and find my chronic Bali-induced disorientation amusing.

It’s not that I haven’t experienced travel in my life, I have. I’ve just had the kind of travel experience that you enjoy when you’re fifteen and being dragged from museum to museum by your parents when all you really want to do is sit by the pool and develop skin cancer while texting your friends. Wait, was there texting when I was fifteen? I can’t remember. I know I was doing some trendy teenage thing, whatever it was.

Anyway, this brings me to the present. We have been living in Ubud for four weeks and I am sitting at a small restaurant called Buddha Bowl writing and waiting for my friend to meet me for dinner. My stomach is doing the uncomfortable flipping maneuver it does when I have recently consumed raw food in Bali. It seems that time does not heal all wounds and my stomach is rejecting the foreign bacterias with the same vigor and zeal that it did when we first arrived. I can just picture a little professional man in my belly with a clipboard examining all the food coming through my esophagus. On his sheet he can mark things ‘Good to go’ ‘Questionable, commence bloating’ and ‘Absolutely fucking not’. I think you can guess which category these spiritual Bali meals are falling into.

During my visit to the Toya Medika Clinic a few weeks ago while in the throws of an explosive bacterial infection in my belly, I vowed never to eat a piece of raw food again. I waited, patiently dying on the not-in-the-least-bit private hospital bed and witnessed my doctor extinguish his cigarette outside, pat a mangey dog on the head, splash some grey colored water on his hands and approach me with the look of a man who would have no moral qualms with prescribing me speed or heroin. Anything that would get this over with the fastest.

This probably sounds like a great excuse to stop eating salads and healthy things but the problem is that I am completely surrounded by the most delicious and fresh raw foods, juices, elixirs and tonics that you have ever seen in your life. There are even some restaurants in which, without any apparent warning, serve you an entire plate of raw food disguised as regular, cooked food. Yep, they are that good. Today I had pasta bolognese which was made up entirely of cucumber, cashew and some unidentifiable parmesan look-alike which I now know is called Raw-mesean. I can’t make this stuff up.

Wish me luck… my next post will be about Bali transportation. If, of course, I make it until then…

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