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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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Bali Massage
Posted: February 6, 2010 By: Leah Jaffee

Once again I'm perched on the balcony overlooking the hotel lobby so I may access the Internet. It is almost 7:00 pm, dark seeps through the window and I dare not go out. A week in Bali and I can't do it. I tried it last night, venturing over to the spa for a massage. Winding my way through the grounds to the particular building housing the spa, I marvel at both the scenery and the fact that I've been here a week and have not ventured very far. I'm too afraid. This is a clearing in the jungle.

I've heard how inexpensive the massages are here and I decide that given all the travel and sitting, a massage is a perfect release. Catering is hard work and I routinely get massage, acupuncture and chiropractic work done after events, especially the killer ones. It is a cost of doing business at my age in this body. I've discovered an inexpensive Chinatown massage/reflexology place and love going there. My favorite therapist knows that when he feels his elbow touching the table as he presses on my back, the pressure is correct.

I've had countless massages over the years. My least favorite was the Aryuvedic with their light brushing technique. I did learn from those practitioners that the music played is key. It has to complement the natural energy of the client. A wired type A "Pita-Vata" like myself needs to be calmed down with soothing music, not always easy with Indian music.

As I write, there are some Balinese musicians in the lobby playing a metal precussion type of instrument. Sounds very bell like, high-pitched. I'm getting nervous. It is the same type of music played during my massage last night. I was finding it difficult to relax.

As I went to get on the massage table, I realized that the room I was in was constructed of walls or partitions, the ceiling suspended much higher leaving the room more open-aired. It is getting dark, and I'm going to lay on a table almost exposed to the JUNGLE elements, listening to music that is making me more nervous. I try to master my fears. I try to relax but all of a sudden, there is a chorus of frogs adding to the music.

I'm being treated with 'hot stones' and it isn't working. They are too hot, I only suffered one small burn, but hey....I've had enough. I'm succumbing to my negative thoughts. Left alone to 'relax' (hey...where are you going!?), I decide that I can't do it. The music, the frogs, the hot stones, the dark....I can't. Quickly I jump up and get dressed. I'm almost done when the lovely young woman who had been doing her best returns with coffee and cookies. I'm starting to panic but I want to be nice. I don't scream that I don't drink coffee, I don't want cookies and by the way, look at the huge gecko on the wall! But, I'm as relaxed as a powder keg with a short fuse.

The manager comes over and asks if everything is okay. Yes, everything is fine but I'm mentally calculating how fast I'll be able to sprint back to the main building, through the pitch black and frog croaks. Finally, I smile and take my wide-eyed, in terror post-massaged self into the darkness. I spy a closer entrance and run under a somewhat enclosed walkway. Another gecko runs up the wall and I stiffle a scream as I nearly bowl down a hotel worker passing from the other direction. Panting, I yank open the door and run the corridor to the final door to the lobby. Safely in my room, I wonder what the heck I was thinking.

This morning, I meet a couple of the women of the group and they start talking about the snake they encountered on the boardwalk........


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