What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do-especially in other people's minds. When you're travelling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
~William Least Heat Moon
So far untitled, though I do kind of like the title, "Eyal and the Great Banana Adventure." Sounds like a kids book series, where we are sure there are other Eyal adventures out there to be had!
Way back in 2006 I was sitting in my Shanghai apartment, sweltering in the heat. Having just ended my job and bored with summer in Shanghai, I considered taking a three week trip to Bali. Should I go? Should I stay? I looked up flights, and decided if there was a flight for 500 bucks, (unlikely) I'd go. Luckily, it was not the high season for Bali and three days later I was off to Denpasar! It was obviously meant to be!
Things seems to fall into place when I arrived in Ubud. I signed up for a random yoga workshop and had a brilliant weekend bending and Om-ing with Desiree Rumbaugh, one of the most inspiring people I've come across until this day. And there I met a girl. Some random girl, I can't remember her name, and it isn't important. What is important is that one day, while eating lemongrass and coconut sherbet in the Bali Spirit Cafe, this girl of no name introduced me to Eyal.
Eyal took this picture of me in Seminyak near the end of my spontaneous vacation. Coffee, beach in a foreign country, good company, a restaurant where I can be horizontal, this is my slice of heaven!
Eyal seemed very quiet, very shy, and looked like he just couldn't have been bothered to meet a new person since the book or newspaper he was looking at at the time was fulfilling every need. But he put it down, and we gently eased into interesting conversation. And by the end of the day, we were happily tromping together through Ubud's Monkey Forest! (I'm deathly scared of monkeys- with good reason. I am scared of getting bitten by one of the evil little things who like to grab shiny cameras, earrings, necklaces just for the sheer hell of it. But Eyal offered to keep me company, assuring me the monkeys would be sleeping having been fed by the morning tour groups. He was right!)
Eyal reaching enlightenment in Elephant caves. If I hadn't included these pictures in another blog, I would have lost them all when my hard drive crashed. (Still in pain over it several years later!)
Eyal was my new travelling partner. We chatted through morning coffee, explored the areas of Ubud and Seminyak with our good friend Ray who sadly died in a drowning accident two weeks after I left Bali. Eyal was experimenting with fasting and the raw food diet. I'm so sad my hard drive crashed and I can't show you the video of Eyal waxing on about the taste of a tomato after weeks of deprivation. (I'm sure Eyal's not quite so unhappy about it!)
Eyal and I, and Ray and Eyal.
Anyway, Eyal is really one of the coolest people I know, and sometimes cool people inspire me. I love Eyal for many reasons, but these are the things I truly admire about him:
1) He's always happy, even when he isn't. (He's still happy!)
2) Eyal tries everything.
3) Eyal gets inspired and passionate about things and shares his ideas with me. And when I get inspired and passionate about something, he's there listening and I feel he's right there with me.
4) I never know what Eyal is going to do next.
5) sometimes I think Eyal is more like me than anyone I know on this planet that I am not actually related to.
6) He makes me laugh. A lot.
Sketching and chatting.
Since Eyal lives in New York, we often spend long hours chatting on Skype, wandering around the house doing our thing. (Eyal once watched me cook dinner. I once watched a bald eagle that landed on his balcony in the middle of New York.) One night while chatting I did a crazy little sketch of Eyal, and decided to paint it for him.
Waxing poetic about the banana!
The story behind this is that when Eyal was on his raw food experiment, we once went hunting for the special Indonesian banana that still contains seeds that you can plant and grow a tree from. (Our regular bananas are so genetically modified you can't grow a banana from the seeds anymore, the banana tree has to be grafted, as far as I understand it.) They aren't very tasty bananas, and I imagine they are more like a plantain. In Bali they use this banana in ceremonies and it's not a very common thing to grow. We went hunting for it anyway, people telling us to talk to this person and that person, go this way and that way, and at the end of the day, we found the best source of information, Bananaman, as I liked to call him, who told us that finally, our journey had come to an end.
It wasn't the season for this type of banana!
In honour of Eyal, who loves adventure (the banana), music (the headphones), and travel (the skates) I painted this little painting this week for fun. Eyal is also wearing warm clothes because he lives in New York and just like me, HATES to be cold!
So now when I look back at that afternoon spent sweltering in my Shanghai apartment and I had the option to stay or go, I am so so so glad I went!