BootsnAll Travel Network

eat, pray, love

if you’ve read elizabeth gilbert’s eat, pray, love, then you will understand my excitement at what we did this morning! =)

his personal copy of the book

in the book (which is fabulous, and you should run out and buy it right now if you haven’t read it yet), gilbert travels to ubud, bali – the “love” part of the title – and meets a balinese medicine man named ketut liyer. she returns two years later to study meditation with him, and he becomes both a friend and teacher to her as she spends time in bali.

this morning our friend sunny took us to visit ketut at his home in ubud. we pulled up and outside i saw the sign:

off to see the medicine man!

we entered the courtyard and ketut came to greet us. he told us to wait a moment while he freshened up – he’d been up til 1am last night with a group of 10 who’d come to learn to meditate with him! he left us with his copy of eat, pray, love while he went to get dressed. i fingered the slightly worn cover of the book and opened to the first page. there was an inscription from the author herself!

sooo cool!

i imagined elizabeth gilbert sitting right where i was sitting, chatting with ketut years ago as she lived the life that she’d later spin into this beautiful book. i thought about the writing classes i’ll be doing in paris in july and i tried to channel some of her energy thinking, “i want to be a writer too.” the first time i’d actually turned that thought into intention, a silent wish, but in this place, it felt as if it might actually radiate out somewhere… no harm in trying, right? =)

ketut came out, dressed in his traditional balinese headwrap and sarong (over a fake armani exchange t-shirt, haha!) and made small talk with us. he said, “i’m sorry, my english isn’t very good, and i’m eighty seventy five years old.” jess and i looked at each other… 80-75? what does that mean? but when i had him repeat it in bahasa indonesia “delapan puluh delapan” we figured out that ketut is 88 years old. he has so much life for his age and his kind eyes radiate a happiness, shaded under graying eyebrows so long that they looked like tiny wings!


when it was time for our palm readings, he started with looking into my ears, my eyes, chin, nose, and forehead (all very good, thank you very much). he told me i have “merry eyes” and that my forehead shows a moon, which is a good sign for balinese. he took my hand onto his lap and began pouring over the lines and creases – health line, marriage line, luck line (i have two!), money line, etc. he told me that when i’m 30 or 31 i will be lucky with money and that i will have all the money that i need. my art line shows strong too, so he said if i want to be a writer that i will be successful, but that i need to study and work hard.

i also apparently have two marriage lines, which possibly means that i will be married twice – he told me that if i get married and my husband isn’t faithful, not to cry, but that i’ll marry again. otherwise, two strong marriage lines may mean that i’ll get married, but that i’ll also have a lover! haha. with all these lovers, i’ll end up with two kids as well, and i will live a long life – he said both jess and i will live to be 100.

ketut liyer's house (eat, pray, love)

i also asked him to take a look at the eczema i have on my right hand (it’s been over 15 years now and nothing i’ve tried has helped much.) he told me that i must avoid eating pork, eggs, and sea fish until it clears up, which is horrible because being on a restricted diet of any kind is profoundly sad for me! i decided that today i’m going to go try a balinese specialty called babi guling (roast suckling pig), and i’ll start my no pork-eggs-fish diet tomorrow. =) he also recommended that jess drink the juice of yellow coconuts to help with her stomach problems, so sunny (being part monkey) stopped the car on the way from ketut’s and climbed up to get her 3 young yellow coconuts so she could start right away.

it was a really great experience to be able to meet ketut in person. he’d come alive as a character while i was reading the book, and i find that gilbert was definitely true to life in her descriptions of him. when we parted, he told us “see you later alligator, we must keep in touch.” what an appropriate ending to our little chat. now i’m off to eat, pray, and (hopefully) to find love someday. =)

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9 responses to “eat, pray, love”

  1. Wisa says:

    OMG I was just finishing up the Bali section of Eat Pray Love and I think it’s soooooo cool that you actually got to meet him. In the book SHE can’t even figure out his age (between 12 and 100 years old or something like that). I wish he would’ve said “nice to meet you” like he did to her. I’m so happy you got to see him!

  2. malia says:

    hey wisa! actually, he did say “nice to meet you” and “i’m so happy to meet you” and many other variations on the same. he sorta likes to repeat things. =) he’s a super sweet little old man though! he looks, talks, and acts exactly as she wrote of him…

  3. christy says:

    so so sooooooo cool. you have no idea how stoked for you/extremely jealous of you i am right now. =)

  4. kim says:

    wow!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! i’m definitely putting ketut on my agenda! hehe…2 marriage lines…funny. i wonder how many i have?? =)

    and don’t worry, my crystal ball sees lots of love in the future for you…

    p.s. sorry about the pork, egg and fish-free diet…=(

  5. Brianne says:

    that was such a great story. =) I want my palm read……wonder what he’ll see…..

  6. jasmine says:

    oh, i’m reading eat pray love now and i’m just finishing up Liz’s experience at the ashram…

  7. Annie says:

    Hi. What a great story! I read “Eat Pray Love” about 18 months ago and as I’ve lived, taught English and bummed around in Italy(including trying to find myself and eating way too much-like Elisabeth) and have travelled to Bali quite a bit you can understand that I really related to her book-just haven’t done India yet although I’m learning meditation and Yoga and I think it’s only a matter of time!! Can you please tell me how to contact Ketut Liyar as I had heard that he still exists and have been close to finding him on a trip to Bali but not quite. I’ll be travelling to Bali in 3 weeks and one of my wishes is to meet him. THANKS XXXX great share!

  8. Sara says:

    Ohh my god u wont beleive this … I was finishing the section of bali in the book and im not a native speaker so sometimes i need to google some words …I got this part about her infection from too much sex making then did not know whats a bladder so i googled that on google image … when i was just about to go back to the book i did not want those awful images to still display on my computer so i put bali in google image and I find myself in this page … You guys r sooo lucky …im in morocco far way from bali but i wish i will someday make it there …. 🙂

  9. mire says:

    You guys might enjoy doing a little EAT, PRAY, LOVE themed shopping to fundraise for
    VH1 Save The Music Foundation:

    Enjoy 🙂

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