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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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Jet Lag Reflections
Posted: February 14, 2011 By: Leah Jaffee

My sister and brother in law spared me a 10 hour layover in Vancouver and picked me up there last night. Dropping me home in Seattle, my sister then drove back north an hour to her home. Thank you, thank you! I was able to unpack and rustle around until about 2:00 am. However, I was unable to get up until after 2:00 pm today, my body resisting the notion that a person can travel 1/2 the world in a day. Now I'm up late, my piles of work organized for the week ahead. I'm putting Bali behind me as events, Purim, Passover and further development of this site loom.

Bali - driving to temple

I'm thinking of my favorite tour to the rice paddies. Before the rice paddies, we drive to a temple honoring the goddess of the waters that soak the rice fields. The picture above is taken from the bus at the oncoming cars. This is what the road is like for about 3 hours of driving. Narrow, the road progresses higher into the hills and winds dangerously around curves close to the edge of jungle ravines and sculpted rice paddies. At one point, the bus couldn't get enough power and against our screaming protests, backed up about 1/4 mile to get a running start at the incline! Twenty English speaking back seat drivers begging to get out and walk the remaining stretch to the temple. It was only funny after touching ground with my sandals. 

Bali - shrine to mountain

Most entrances in Bali have the split stone pillars on either side, something about the opposing forces of good and evil. Behind the clouds is the top of the volcano. As we were leaving, a large party of festively dressed Balinese were coming for a celebration. These ancient looking temples are still used for rituals.

Bali - mountain from bus

We continue our climb through even narrower roads, often having to wait while a car in front backs up and edges close to the dropoff so we can pass. The seats of the bus are designed for the small Indonesian body. Those of us on the aisle focus on retaining our seats using half of our rear ends, laughing or screaming as the situation requires. Karen, on the window side is afraid of heights and I stare down the edge on the right. The view on the left side of the bus is similar. I try to visualize on exactly what we are winding our way up the mountain. We alternate between terror of the road and awe of the surrounding fields.

Bali - rice fields 1 

We climb further to a rest area, clamoring to get off as the bus backs close to the cliff of the viewpoint. There is a buffet waiting for the group at the nearby open walled restuarant. I sip Coke and stare out at the fields and mountains as a storm brews. Loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightening and a torrential rain illuminate and drench the paddies. Pellets of rain beat against the thatched roof and run off in heavy drops. As quickly as it started, the rain stops and we head back to the bus. I'm truly moved by the expanse, the endless miles cultivated over generations. I try to gather the site to my memory by pivoting to see all layers of curves and folds of the deep valley. Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath to commit the site to my heart. I'll never come this way again.

Bali - Hai


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