When I first arrived to Bali a friend messaged me saying
that I could go and visit the medicine man from Eat Pray Love….and from that
moment on I was on a mission to find him!!
During my travels I have been for many palm readings, and
although I had told myself it was excessive and I wouldn’t go for any more, I
just couldn’t resist-what a fantastic way to bring the palm reading addiction
to a close-with an Eat Pray Love finale!!
First thing in Ubud and the mission began, and it didn’t take
much really. I found out that the medicine man’s name is Ketut Leiyer (which I
should have actually remembered seen as I not long ago I actually read the
book), and paid a guy to take me to his house on the back of his moto. It wasn’t
far to the medicine man’s house and I was surprised to see that his house is
the exact house used in the film! And not only that, but I sat in the exact
same place that Julia Roberts sat in the film! It is very strange to watch
after having been there myself… it has a different meaning to me now… : )
It is however, not the same medicine man.
When I arrived there were lots of tourists, more than I had
expected. I was quickly informed by another person waiting that there was a
number system, but they had ran out of numbers. I attempted to ask the man that
appeared to work there what I should do, but with his limited English, I soon
gave up. People were arriving and being given numbers, but when I tried to ask
how do I get a number they just replied ‘just wait’. I was getting incredibly
In the end they told me I was number 26 (the numbers went up
to 25), but I didn’t get a little plastic number like everybody else, I just
had to remember. I accepted this until a young couple arrived and were given
number 8 (it was by this time around 11am and he had only got to number 6, I
was told it would be a LONG wait, so long in fact that number 23 had been told
to come back at 3pm!!). They told me that they had made a reservation the day
before and I replied, what difference does that make? OK, so perhaps that might
have come across a bit abrupt, I didn’t mean to, I was just getting really frustrated
that nobody would explain this system to me, and plus-since when have they had
reservation systems in Asia?!?!
So this couple immediately hated me, and made it quite clear
through their facial expressions and lack of eye contact for the rest of the
time I was there. I had been told I could leave and come back later (as many
people had done), but I didn’t have a number-so somebody else could arrive and
take my place and I would have to go to the back of the queue?! This number
thing was beginning to get on my nerves.
So I decided to wait. Ketut Leiyers house was in a
beautifully tranquil setting, there were flowers and little birds and
butterflies, there were paintings around the gardens and it was all very
relaxing. I decided it wouldn’t matter if I had to wait all day, because it was
such a lovely place to wait.
I don’t know whether it is my ‘psychic-ness’ or my intuition
or what, but although the medicine man and the non-English speaking employee
were speaking in Balinese, I knew they
were talking about me, I knew he requested to see me next.
It was very strange, when there was a garden full of people,
people that had made reservations, people that had been there far longer than
me, that he would call me forward. But he did.
I thought perhaps this was some kind of sign, and perhaps it
was. I have two theories; a) this was an amazing medicine man IN HIS DAY but,
perhaps partly due to huge amounts of tourists visiting and over-working him,
he is past it, well past it (I will explain), or b) he is a FAKE and is just
there to make money from the tourists. I’ll let you make your own mind up…
So the non-English speaking worker came and ushered me out
from the crowd to sit on the porch (exactly where Julia Roberts sat!!) and wait for Ketut to be ready. This was much the couples horror that had earlier decided they hated me, but quite amusingly they were just hushed when they tried to point out that they were, in fact, next in line. I sat there while Ketut counted his money in
his box, and it looked quite plentiful to me (I did not yet know what price he
would ask of me-I thought you gave a ‘donation’!).
So once he had finished fiddling with his money he came to
sit next to me. He said ‘Hello, I am very happy to meet you. What’s your name?’
I answered. He was then distracted by his worker speaking to him about
something and a couple of minutes he turned to me and said (as if he had never
spoken to me before) ‘Hello, I am very happy to meet you, What’s your name?’. I
answered, again. He then began to speak to me about school.
During the past few weeks, since I decided I would be returning
to the UK soon, I had been thinking a lot about what I would do when I get
home. And one of my big decisions is whether to stay teaching or to return to
the aviation industry. I had been giving this A LOT of my thoughts, and did
think it strange that he mentioned school straight away. However I did not want
to tell him this (I wanted to see what he would say without me giving things
away) so I just said yes, I have finished school now (they also call university
school there). He kept asking if I would go back to school, and I just answered
Here I felt like he was picking up on something, but was a
bit confused (as he appeared to be the entire time). But I wasn’t giving
He then looked around the garden, turned back to me and
said, ‘My name is Ketut, what is your name?’ I answered for a third time. I was
beginning to think this guy was crackers, and perhaps he was.
He looked closely at me and said, ‘I see your eyes… they are
very pretty. I see your nose…. Very pretty. I see your chin….. very pretty. I
see your ears…very pretty…. etc … Yep, definitely crackers!
He then went on to read my palm, corresponding with other
palm readings, he said that I would have one marriage, 2 children, be
successful in my career, have property, and live a long life with a natural
death. He then examined my arms, legs and back and gave me a small massage
(this appears to be routine) and said that I am fit and healthy. He also told
me that I would die at 102 (I later read in the Lonely Planet that he tells
everybody they will live to between 100-105, I thought this was rather
Then at the end I told him about my aviation/teaching dilemma.
He told me to teach, because if I am travelling all of the time I will not meet
a nice man soon. They have all said this to me, but then this is a bit higher
on the priority list in Asia than in Western culture, but yes, I guess in theory he does have a point there.
So there were no magical words or predictions, no sparks
flying, no nothing. I was rather disappointed to be truthful. And my disappointment grew incredibly when he said to me that he takes ‘donations’ of 250Rupiah-that’s like £40!!!!!!
That is sooooo much money in Asia-he must be absolutely raking
it in with these many tourists waiting! So I reluctantly paid and went on my
way. He even gave me his business card, I thought that was quite funny-how many
medicine men have given you their business cards???! Ha ha
I don’t regret going at all, even though it was ridiculously
expensive. It was a great experience. And very much a bonus that I didn’t have
to wait all day either (I still do think that was rather weird!). And now I can
say that I have literally ‘stepped into Eat Pray Love’!