Ever since I read the book Eat, Pray, Love I developed an infatuation with the story. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, it goes like this: The main character, Liz Gilbert, gets a nasty divorce, feels void inside, and cures herself with a yearlong trip. She starts with a trip to Italy to eat, then visits India to mediate, and ends in Bali, where she finds love.
While in Bali, Liz meets a palm reader named Ketut Liyer. Ketut tells Liz she will lose all of her money, but not to worry, she will get it back. She remakes herself with the book she wrote during her travels. The story ends with Liz meeting the love of her life in Bali on the last leg of her trip. Her story is summarized as Eat, Pray, Love.
I remember thinking about her story when I started traveling and I always wanted to go to Bali but I never dreamed I’d get engaged there too! On our last day in Bali, I happened to ask our taxi driver if there was a palm reader in town and he said,”Like the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love?’ Yes, your hotel is around the corner from Ketut Liyer’s house, the famous palm reader and medicine man.”
I immediately got excited because this was such a cool way to end the trip! On the other hand, I was nervous because I’m new to palm reading and I was afraid of what might be hiding in the lines of my hands. Nevertheless, I committed to visiting Ketut.
I found out that Ketut, the medicine man, actually passed away a few years ago, but his son, Nyoman, has taken over the business. I decided to try it out anyway.
We walked half a mile from our hotel to a hidden oasis with a big sign over the door, ‘Home of Ketut Liyer, the Medicine Man’. It’s tucked away on a side street in Ubud, but it was obviously very popular because there was a small line of people waiting for him. You pay Nyoman either 300 rupiah or 600 rupiah ($21-$42 USD) for a palm reading and healing. I chose just the palm reading because frankly, I was running out of Bali money.
I listened to him speak with another gentleman and I was able to pick up on a few things he told him like, “You are intelligent, but lazy. You will have two marriages, one okay and one bad. You shouldn’t have divorced the first one.”
I just got engaged. The last thing I want to hear right now is multiple marriages are in my future and that I’m half-assing life.
I was next up anyway, and the first thing he asks is where I am from. He tells me his last client was from Texas but he didn’t know where that was. He was very sweet and giggly, which made me feel better about him… and also made me feel like I shouldn’t take him TOO seriously. I decided to roll with it.
His first questions were about my hair. “Not real hair color? Black hair good color for Bali, could be Balinese, but maybe little Indian. Maybe Hairdresser.”
DING, DING, DING.
He goes on to say. “I can tell you are very creative. You have sweet smile and charisma. You are intelligent, but you work too much, like my father did. Work, work, work all day, too many clients. You Americans work too hard. You need assistant.”
“…You need assistant so that you can take more holidays and come back to Bali. Next holiday you come to Bali for healing.”
While I don’t know when I will be back to Bali, I felt like he was correct in a sense. I do have the viral American workaholism, and I could probably use an assistant. Nevertheless, I was more intrigued now that he struck a rightful nerve.
He then grabs my hand and says, “You are very lucky. You have long life line, but you must stay happy. Don’t get sad or too stressed out, not good for your lifeline. My father lived to be 102. I think you can live to be 102, too.”
He says, “You have one marriage line. This is very good.” I looked over to Daniel and shouted, “Daniel, we’re good.” On the way, we both sweated what the medicine man might say about our future. We promised not to believe everything he said, but now we could relax.
He tells me that I might have two children, one boy and and girl, he hopes. He asks me if I wanted more and I said “Yes, an army.” He laughs and says, “No, two good. More than two wah, wah, wah, too much work. Two kids good for you, no more.”
He then tells me that I will have two careers, one long, one short. I’m not sure if I’m in the short one or the long one, but I wish he could tell me what exactly is next! He ends the palm reading by giving me a blessing and wishes me safe traveling back to the US, and he hopes to see me again.
My palm reading was a little generic and short but it was a fun experience. I went home and Googled the lines to just to make sure he was right. The lines all matched up, so I’m not quite as skeptical of it as I was before.
The crazy ending to the day came after the palm reading…
While Daniel was waiting on me, he decided to check on our flights. We thought we were going to be leaving Saturday evening, but it turns out that our flight was actually scheduled for the first hour of Saturday, 00:35… not Saturday after midnight, like I interpreted. It was 6PM and we had about 6 hours to get back to the hotel and to the airport. My dreams of sleeping one last night in Bali were immediately crushed… BUT at least we were going to make our flight in time!
At this point, we only had 350 rupiah left, which is about ($30) and Daniel said, “There’s no way the taxi is going to take us all the way to our hotel, and wait for us, and then take us to the airport for that cheap.” I said, “Let’s just ask him and see.”
The taxi driver said, “350 rupiah, total.”
This was shocking and a miracle because that’s the exact amount of cash we had left.
The driver we chose was a man who stopped traffic for us so that we could safely cross the street on the way to Ketut’s house. He was so kind and didn’t ask for anything in return for helping us. The cool thing about his taxi was that it had “God Bless” written in big letters across the bottom which was a sign from God, himself letting us know we were in good hands.
Everything worked out exactly like it was supposed to. An airline canceled our flight from Lombok to Denpasar, forcing us to stay in the Gili Islands instead… If Ramadan hadn’t convinced us out of the Gili Islands, we would have been too far to make it to the airport in time. If we hadn’t stopped to see Ketut Liyer, Daniel wouldn’t have been sitting there with idle time to check our flight. Who knows what an expensive disaster that could have been.
I’m going to miss Bali and I’m almost glad my last few hours were a panicked rush to get to the airport or else I would have had to stick to my original plan of eating my emotions at my own pity party because our vacation is over!
You can actually stay at the Liyer House for about $20 a night, with breakfast included. It’s a beautiful property and the reviews are great. It’s central to Ubud, and close to the Monkey Forest. https://www.facebook.com/LiyerHouseUbud/ Here is the link to the Facebook for events!