Memoirville

EXCERPT: Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

By Tim Barkow

Hello …. Bali—from chapter 73 of Eat, Pray, Love:

I’ve never had less of a plan in my life than I do upon arrival in Bali. In all my history of careless travels, this is the most carelessly I’ve ever landed anyplace. I don’t know where I’m going to live, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t know what the exchange rate is, I don’t know how to get a taxi at the airportor even where to ask that taxi to take me. Nobody is expecting my arrival. I have no friends in Indonesia, or even friends-of-friends. And here’s the problem about traveling with an out-of-date guidebook, and then not reading it anyway: I didn’t realize that I’m actually not allowed to stay in Indonesia for four months, even if I want to. I find this out only upon entry into the country. Turns out I’m allowed only a one-month tourist visa. It hadn’t occurred to me that the Indonesian government would be anything less than delighted to host me in their country for just as long as I pleased to stay.

As the nice immigration official is stamping my passport with permission to stay in Bali for only and exactly thirty days, I ask him in my most friendly manner if I can please remain longer.

“No,” he says, in his most friendly manner. The Balinese are most famously friendly.

“See, I’m supposed to stay here for three or four months,” I tell him.

I don’t mention that it is a prophecy that my staying here for three or four months was predicted by an elderly and quite possibly demented Balinese medicine man, during a ten-minute palm-reading. I’m not sure how to explain this.

But what did that medicine man tell me, now that I think of it? Did he actually say that I would come back to Bali and spend three or four months living with him? Did he really say “living with” him? Or did he just want me to drop by again sometime if I was in the neighborhood and give him another ten bucks for another palm-reading? Did he say I would come back, or that I should come back? Did he really say, “See you later, alligator”? Or was it, “In a while, crocodile”?

I haven’t had any communication with the medicine man since that one evening. I wouldn’t know how to contact him, anyway. What might his address be? “Medicine Man, On His Porch, Bali, Indonesia”? I don’t know whether he’s dead or alive. I remember that he seemed exceedingly old two years ago when we met; anything could have happened to him since then. All I have for sure is his name Ketut Liyer and the memory that he lives in a village just outside the town of Ubud. But I don’t remember the name of the village.

Maybe I should have thought all this through better.

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43 responses

  1. Mrs Palm Reader says:

    Sounds quite similar to my travels to South Africa, although I did at least have some family there.
    I managed to stay on as I met my husband there… hope the balinese men are good looking!
    Hey, if you ever need another palm reader just let me know, he he!

  2. K R Binoche says:

    This is the sort of crap americans love! Vacuous waffle! So boring and mediocre! So american! Best Seller in america is great help to Europeans - we know immediately not to buy! Thank you!

  3. yuki says:

    Great books, I saw at Oprah show!

  4. Juvesty Ronaldo says:

    Wow….fantastic…!!
    If i knew you r here (indonesia)..
    I catch You…

    So bali is the best place 4 making ur life better…!!
    Right…!!

  5. SP-F says:

    To K R Binoche

    Oh how painfully right you are.

  6. rosangela ferreira leite santos says:

    olá liz… sou BRASILEIRA e. fiquei comovida com a leitura do teu livro… amei todo o enredo… você verdadeiramente conseguio encontrar a forma da construção interior de um EU forte e fantástico… além do mais ADOREI a sua história-love com FELIPE…. desejo que continue com o mesmo… ele é bom, maravilhoso e verdadeiramente te ama…. estou ansiosa para receber notícias suas resido no interior do Nordeste do BRASIL e só agora tive oportunidade de ler este livro fantástico…. claro ,já se passaram quase 04 anos …. como estás hoje? beijos Rosangela Ferreira( Psicóloga do Ministério Público da Paraíba)-Brasil

  7. rosangela ferreira leite santos says:

    olá liz.. quero respostas tuas….. Rosangela Ferreira (Brazil)

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