Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sensing...facing… death… changes your perspective on life??

Well it is funny how in the course of my humble life, when I did feel death (actually not really funny) near me, either by losing friends, family or lately in this plane taking me back from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi (could barely breathe and my body temperature got really high in a spark, could not even call for help…) everything takes a new perspective.
I finally managed to extract myself from my seat after taking an aspirin and boosting myself with Vitamin C (all they had on that plane), made my way to Kochi Intl airport security check. Did I get overwhelmed again by the amount of people, the chaos, the red tapes, this look I now so clearly identify of the officer at custom office who had no clue on how to deal with my re-entry student visa and could not say NO… made me wait for 15 minutes, standing in front of her desk…. 
...well the big guy, ex-rugby-prop…fainted…like a ballerina! and like never before in my life!

So all of a sudden I have 10000 people around me, with the best intentions but buzzing around me, not helping much…until a doctor comes. After 100 requests for my passport from officials,  tension and temperature checks (110F) they (Amrita Doctors of Kochi Airport medical unit) decide to send me to AIMS hospital in Kochi. Seeing Amma’s picture in all this (at the airport medical unit) seemed like a joke: ‘so you wanted to surf coral reefs…here ya go: prophylactic chock,  serious infection, blue toe…but felt securing too.
2 days in AIMS Hospital. 1 completely sleeping.

View from my hospital room, not bad, did not feel too much like those old european one's, cold, sordid...but still... a hospital!

Nobody really cared, or even knew. Could have died there on my own! 
Then when I finally manage to extract myself from my room where I had to park my surf bag, and the rest of my stuff (could not arrive in A&E like this…) doctors slowly start to take my case seriously. The waiting had made it worse. The black toe had now spread to a part of my left foot. Scary!
But I must say that then…. they took real action: surgery, toping off the wound, releasing the infection first, then springs of antibiotics, Tetanus, cell culture to define the bacteria, blood tests…
Black turned back to red, and now almost to skin color… and almost no more pain!
Thank God, no gangrene yet!
So reflecting on this disastrous coming back from such a dream of Indonesian journey: health and faith come first…and ...after sunshine comes rain... after dreams...comes reality...impermanence!

When I am sick I am like a child...a big chubby, grumpy, needy, angry, unloving one!
I hated every indian at the airport for asking for my passport 100 times when I could barely move, for putting me on a wheel chair which could not move either!
For taking 15 minutes to realize they did not know how to deal with my case at customs.

Gonna get hammered by my indian friend U. again...for being overwhelmed...and expressing it...but...I imagine she gets her Medicare from one of the private hospitals in Princeton... while I queue in a 'quasi public' one in Kochi!

But when I looked around my little belly in this hospital, I saw real pain, especially the panic in family members eyes, the true suffering of patients when eyes cannot even cry anymore... the dignity... the care of family members... the love....and I shut up.
I felt myself so much love as well in the way nurses and doctors here handled my case with professionalism but as well so much compassion (probably more than in that private hospital in Princeton, or even in Bayonne, my home). And those smiles that I only see in India: full, honest, innocents.
For that love, care, compassion... I love every indians I met that day...
when I finally started to get out of the red zone.

Pain, fear of death…the cold arms of that death black lady with her sickle brought me back from cloud 9 to... humility…once again!
... and as a final joke I had to cross the 'mortary' section of the hospital a few times to get some billings done... hearing the prayers, the cries, the devotional songs... in dignity

... feeling small.

Well, in a few weeks I have to face some gallbladder cancer checks and I will pray to have the same dignity and faith…in God, in myself…alone.

And all this really makes me stronger and in a wierd way, more loving, compassionate, with myself and others too! more ready to love, to accept love ... even from most unexpected places and people, to be open, trust...

When my Mum gave me..…I guess she gave me death too… and that was a gift... just as well.

Then the magic of a surfing trip...

Nusa Lembogan...Lombok and back for one night at the mighty Tugu!

Nusa Lembogan felt like a short pilgrimage, since I was there 12 years ago with my buddy Eric and brother. But all has changed so much, so touristy, americanized.

The wave of shipwreck is still as beautiful though, and the sunsets there, still mind blasting (as Russell Peters would say!).

But the new part was a honey moon!:
amazing island, very wild, beautiful beaches, coast line, strong feel of change of culture, ethnies and religion with Bali. A lot harsher in many ways. Wilder and more raw too! 
To me....more beautiful!

And one of the most amazing left I got to surf: Desert Point
A hut for 3 days, a long beach, deserted... we took it for granted!
Very simple, basic feelings...maybe the best way to connect to the sea ... life... another...

And then the Tugu for a splash of tenderness, class, culture and... magic...

a romantic cove... the best way to end such an amazing indonesian dream...

before heading back to... reality!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


One week work, 2 weeks holidays...why have I not thought about such a ryhtm earlier.

Actually my buddy Alo is getting close to that :-)

Which gives him all the time in the world to teach his beautiful daughter India to dance Hula Hup!

After a few adaptation days in Canggu everything went by in a spark:

one session of surf after the other:

Kuta Reef, Airport left, Serengan, Turtle Island, Echo Beach, in front of the Tugu...

And after a ceremony of offerings to Balineese Gods in a wonderful temple in front of the sea with Nenga, things seem to settle down with the surf accidents!

 Even a memorable session at Uluwatu before sailing of to Jakarta.

So beautiful to be back here after the bad experience 12 years ago (we almost got into a fight with Uluwatu locals who screwed us up on a repair of a board.

Jakarta, another buzzing indonesian/asian capital... people everywhere, late arrival of the plane, very tired the next day...

I miss conference site visits which annoys me as I was really looking forward to some real experiences of the field here.

Then 2 days of great conference, very inspiring...lots of interactions...

INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Conference "Social Economy 4.0: Innovation, Sustainability, and Responsibility"on 16 May in Jakarta. with  Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and BINUS Business School

will examine the challenges of the transformation to a new generation of a social economy, one that reflects the increasing efficiency and impact orientation of social ventures, especially social entrepreneurs, as well as increasing attention of the business community to social and environmental impact beyond simple financial performance. The terminology is taken from Anatole Kaletsky'sCapitalism 4.0 and subsequent discussions at the World Economic Forum on "Economics 4.0". Four issues will serve as lenses to examine these transformation in a more focused manner: the environment, women, technological change, and values, ethics and transparency. 

Jakarta old center: bar/restaurant the Batavia, memorable... with a short tchuk tchuk visit of the harbor!

In the square kids come running to take picture of our 'giant' Aaron who is 6'3 and a real attraction here.

The harbor is as well a beautiful part, especially at sunset time, an invitation to wander around, enjoy the downloading of materials.

 So much nicer than that humongous mall which they proudly showed us a lunch time which we rapidly escaped from.
The back to Bali and lots of brainstorming with the Insead social entrepreneurs buddies!

Really very stimultating to be with such bright and open people... and get to share, present, get exposed so much.

Yesterday one of the most amazing days: scooter to Nusa Dua from Sanur... already nice.

The snorkling investigation...followed by trip to Uluwatu... sweet swimm in front of the spot in a hiddent part of the beach... Svenji loves it!

Then a surf session with some ISEP friends in Legian beach: too short.... but nice to share my world with them...

And finishing with a massage in Tugu Hotel, simply amazing.

Now waiting for the boat to Nusa Lembogan on our way to Lombok!!!
Life is good :-)

Om shanti shanti... making offerings to the Gods to avoid te Balinees gohsts!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bali... now even if I wanted to... I could not have made that up...

when I arrived in DPS Intl airport, Bali... Ketut, the driver from my friend's wife hotel was waiting for me!
Ketut (same as Julia's I thought)...but with teeth!
I told him I did not want any palm reading and he did not insist :-)

Actually that Ketut, driver of the Tugu hotel (founded by Lulu's father, wife of Alo...please take notes, I wont repeat!) was so nice to wait for me while I was filing my report on a broken board, very professional, very kind...better when you see the size of this ex-boxer!

Of course one of my surfboard got broken on the plane so...hassle of insurances files...
One hour taxi ride, through Kuta and then the beautiful Balinese countryside... Fragrances of Frangipani bringing me right back to childhood, Tahiti, Guadeloupe...and here, like it remained untouched!

Then the magic of the the hotel of Lucienne's family: the Tugu. On the south west coast, Canggu beach.
and here in Bali:

One of the most beautiful place I have ever been to, facing a magnificent beach, left and right waves... and inside the hotel: the finest antiques, trees you would of course expect in Bali, but here with an extra refinement that I rarely experienced.

Everything here is refined, without being kitch or showing of...just soft, delicate...class

First surf around 5.30pm, with Aloisio. So happy to see him after ... 12 years, when we first met in Ilha Bella, Brazil with a rugby friend of mine from Toulouse! Then a few times in London but Bali... is another place to catch up!

Quite admirative of the dream life he managed to set for himself and his family here (Luciene his wife and India his daughter, almost 1 year old).

All good! amazing guest room in their house, mansion I should say, with Hotel service!

Yet...never go surfing after a massage! and heavy flights and night stand in airports...
I had no more arms, did not catch one proper wave (was 8 ft) and ended in the rocks, breaking Alo's fins!

So in one day: 2 boards broken and a few urchins pins in my skin!

2nd day:

This morning, no wind, waves a lot cleaner.

Time to test the Gods of the Tugu, and the magic of Echo beach in Canggu!
So...this time, I do surf a bit better, but on the last wave this local guy drops me (stills my wave in surfing language) and so trying to push him away while surfing, I falls in front of me... and I run him over.
Results: I have to take him to the nearest doctor in a local small hospital: 5 stitches and ... of course he tries to black mail me!
Discussing in Balinese and ... the bill ends up to be double.
Lucky enough my local friends sort me out!

An amazing fruit breakfast, and a swim with Alo and his beautiful daughter: India...

The some relaxing time at the house... good to catch up after all these years...

and finishing the day with another surf and a yoga class in a dream garden ... after a scooter ride with the 'spiritual daughter" of Ayrton Sena, good friend of Alo from Brazil, proud owner and rider of a Harley back in Brazil! perfect connection/share of passions and drives...on paper...but it felt to me that she was more masculine in her ways that many of my rugby friends... so not really my thing... as well as never really feeling good at the back of a motorbike, prefer to be in the front!

Some other time Alo!
Would be nice to have a sweet feminine, soft connection... but no rush...not like that: funny how bad feelings come in waves: he/she feeling,  she is more interested in the yoga teacher, female, and I feel like we are even chatting up the same woman at times!?!...then a harsh dinner conversation with a fashion photographer who believes that social good things have to come with beauty, have to be fashionable (to present them on TV of course) and that an american guy expropriating sumbawa tribes is doing more good than Amma hugging people around the world and raising up to 250 Mio$ per year for deprived people....building houses all around India... come on Gal, stay in your field of expertise please! ....more fashion less action... and cut the BS will ya!

Thank you ladies but... no thanks!

and to be honest I already was getting that sweet, feminine, tender feeling that I was after...from Bali itself! no need for Harley and/or Prada women!

The yoga came at the perfect time, to wash away the stress of the day and the bad surfing vibes so far, yet another masculine touch ... from that UK teacher!

Tomorrow some more surf south, Serangan, and in the afternoon some offerings in a temple near the Tugu! Time to honor the Gods to push the evil spirits away and be grateful!

That's it for now.

Sampai jumpa!