Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

You can contact us at werkingwells (at) gmail . com

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"See You Later, Alligator"

Ketut Liyer, the 9th generation medicine man featured in Elizabeth Gilbert's runaway hit Eat Pray Love, is grasping my hand tightly and peering closely at my brows. His voice is a sing song patois of English accompanied with clicking noises and some Balinese thrown in for good measure. I think he just quoted a song lyric "Let your conscience be your guide," as well as wishing someone goodbye saying,"See you Later Alligator!" Yes, he did say that and now he's telling me I have really good karma while he proceeds to read my palm.

If you've read the book you already know Ketut's story and how he played a role in Gilbert's Indonesian adventures. Ketut was originally planning to be an artist, but his life took a different turn and he ended up taking the path of a medicine man. Thanks to the book he's become very popular for wayward travelers like ourselves, and having a rich history of visiting a few psychics/fortune tellers/astrologers in my days, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet with Ketut.

"You are very smart," he says, "your weapon is your brains. But you're impatient. This is your first marriage, and you'll only have one. You've had four lifetimes, and you love to travel," which did seem a given since I was sitting on his front porch 8000 miles from my home. It seemed he said things that were common knowledge to those who know me, perhaps a feat for someone who just met me? But I was there less for the veracity of his reading than for the experience of sitting with this revered octogenarian in a world so remote from my own.

He read Dylan's and Andy's palms and gave them some pretty good news, except that he did seem to pause when he read Andy's marriage line. "You've been married once" he said, "Maybe one wife," looking at me he nodded, "yes one wife, long life." He was the third psychic I've visited who insisted that I was going to have, or already had, another child--a boy. Given that I'm beyond thrilled that my baby days are long over, I think it's time to teach Ketut another American phrase, "No way, Jose."

Ketut posing with us and a picture he painted, our favorite memento from this trip.


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