FWS: Not Spiders, Harvestmen. A phobia turns into an interest

It’s June on the island of Kauai. I have come to my door a many times at night to find that I do not scream nor run when I see a cane spider. Two years ago I would have booked it. It’s their eyes, their walk, and more than likely that darn discovery channel I watched so often growing up. What was once a phobia has turned into an all out interest. I have stood only inches away from spider webs with my camera at the ready. I have caught a few cane spiders in a jar to release them from my room with in the past few weeks. I went towards it not away from it.

Eyeless_2x

There are some amazing endimic species here on the island. Cave spiders who have literally evolved themselves to have no eyes and no pigment, such pleomorphism is to make certain the creature’s energy will be saved and spent on necessities needed for the environment it lives in. Eyes and pigment, I am sure,have no use in constant complete and total darkness.

cane spiderCane spiders (Heteropoda Venatoria) who do not make webs and come out at night to catch their prey of insects aren’t endemic but introduced. Some people would love to have this spider in their home to help control pests.  This spider is known to prey on bats and scorpions too.

blackandyellowgardenspiderThen there is the beautiful garden spider ( Argiope Appensa) it’s been in the kitchen for weeks and no one has touched it. I actually prepare and eat my food below it since it’s web is on the ceiling above the juicer. The spider has golden spots and isn’t poisonous. It works daily on it’s nest especially in the dark or the early early morning when I turn on the light it’s on another part of it’s web reweaving. Before leaving California I sent an email  to Shehan Derkarabetian, a graduate student of professor Marshal Hedin in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University to find out more about harvestmen.

We know daddy long legs as spiders but in truth they aren’t they are harvestmen. Harvestmen, unlike spiders, are known to not be poisonous to humans nor animals (except some invertebrates whom they eat) and only have one pair of eyes. Also harvestmen have sex organs and have intercourse to produce their offspring. They are such a mystery with so many species yet to be known.  Shehan Derkarabetian was kind to answer in detail. Pictures are from Marshal Hedin. Enjoy!

Tell me what is a harvestmen and how do they differ from spiders? 

The scientific name for harvestmen is Opiliones, but they are also commonly called or harvestmen or daddy-longlegs. Harvestmen are an order of arachnids. The most familiar arachnids are are spiders, mites and scorpions. However, there are quite a few less well-known groups, including harvestmen. Like all arachnids, harvestmen have eight pairs of legs. Many people will mistakenly refer to harvestmen as spiders, but these two groups are completely different. While spiders have up to eight eyes, two separate body parts, fangs that can inject venom, and glands capable of producing silk, harvestmen only have two eyes, fused body parts, do not possess fangs or venom, and cannot produce silk. The common name of harvestmen may have come from early observations that certain species would become really abundant during the harvest season.

The most commonly encountered harvestmen are the long-legged harvestmen. Here, a Leiobunum harvestmen has captured a fly as prey.

op1
The most commonly encountered harvestmen are the long-legged harvestmen. Here, a Leiobunum harvestmen has captured a fly as prey.

How many species of harvestmen are known in the world as of 2015? 

There are currently over 6,500 species of harvestmen described, with new species being described every year. In 2014, myself and other researchers in our laboratory at San Diego State University described a total of 11 new species from the western United States, including California. You don’t have to travel to remote rainforest jungles to find new species; they are waiting to be discovered in our own backyard!

Spiders are said to have a few pairs of eyes, harvestmen have one, can they form visual pictures? 

Based on the few species that have been studied so far, it is unlikely that they can form visual pictures, but most can see changes from light to dark. Experiments have suggested that visual signal is of little importance to harvestmen when waiting for food, suggesting that they use their other senses to detect prey and sense their environment.

What do harvestmen eat? 

Looking at the group as a whole, harvestmen are omnivorous and can eat almost anything, from rotting debris to living insects. The majority of harvestmen are predators of living invertebrates like slugs, worms, springtails, beetles, flies, spiders, mites, and even other harvestmen. However, some have been known to scavenge dead insects and plants, and even eat larger things like wasps and small frogs. Most harvestmen are sit-and-wait predators, sitting motionless and waiting for potential prey to come near. There are several species that are to known to eat fungus and fruit. Interestingly, there are some species that are gastropod (snails and slugs) specialists. Their feeding appendages have evolved to be much longer and stronger so that they can tear open the shells of snails and pull them out to eat. Following their meal, the females will lay their eggs in the empty shells. There are some interesting methods that harvestmen have used to capture prey too. For example, some groups have modified pedipalps (second pair of appendages, in front of the legs) that secrete sticky fluids that cling to the tips of hairs. With these fluids the harvestmen can easily capture their prey with “glue”. Another group have their pedipalps modified to include many

spines that can be used to capture prey. In some species the spines are so well developed that it resembles a cage.

The genus Sabacon uses modified pedipalps with sticky fluids attached to the ends of hairs, which are used to catch prey.

The genus Sabacon uses modified pedipalps with sticky fluids attached to the ends of hairs, which are used to catch prey.
The genus Sabacon uses modified pedipalps with sticky fluids attached to the ends of hairs, which are used to catch prey.

What other senses does a harvestmen have to make up for its eyesight? 

Harvestmen, like other arachnids and invertebrates, use other forms of reception to sense their environment. These include mechanoreception (for example, touch, sound, or pressure) and chemoreception (taste and smell). Harvestmen legs are covered with several particular types of sensory hairs that are specifically designed to help detect physical movement, either through direct contact or possibly from a distance, or chemical stimuli left in the environment. Most notably, the second pair of legs in harvestmen are adapted to function more like antennae for sensing than as a typical leg for walking. When a harvestmen is at rest, the second pair of legs are usually held in the air waving around, and as they are waking they are used to quickly prod the area in front of them.

Are there any known harvestmen species that pose a threat to humans and animals? Can you elaborate? 

Other than perhaps tasting bad if you try to eat them, harvestmen do not pose any threat of any kind to humans or animals (other than the tiny invertebrates they eat). The common saying that daddy-longlegs are extremely poisonous but cannot bite is completely false! Harvestmen do not have venom or fangs.

What are the mating habits of harvestmen? 

All harvestmen are typically sexually reproducing, meaning both males and females are involved in reproduction. Unlike some other arachnids that transfer sperm either through a secondary sexual organ (like spiders) or by leaving sperm packets for the female to pick up (like scorpions), harvestmen mate by direct transfer of the sperm from the male to the female via reproductive organs. The females have an ovipositor, used for sperm intake and egg laying, and the male has the equivalent of a penis. For some species there can be a pre-mating interaction (like courtship), where they will repeatedly touch each other. In some species, the males will present the female with “nuptial gifts” either before or during mating. There are a few species that are thought to be parthenogenetic, where the female produces offspring without the involvement of males fertilizing the eggs.

The genus Ortholasma uses crypsis and thanatosis as a means of defense, often using dirt and debris to help camouflage.
The genus Ortholasma uses crypsis and thanatosis as a means of defense, often using dirt and debris to help camouflage.

Is it true all harvestmen lay eggs? Including males? 

All harvestmen species do lay eggs, however it is only the females that do so. Depending on the species, a female can lay anywhere from 1-200 eggs in a batch, sometimes laying multiple batches in a year. The female ovipositor, which possesses sensory hairs at the tip, is used to probe their habitat to find a suitable place with high humidity to lay the eggs. Eggs are typically laid in clumps in the soil or on some other substrate, and some species will cover the egg batches in mucus for extra protection. For most species, the female will lay the eggs and leave them to develop and hatch, which can take anywhere from 1-6 months.

How is it possible that harvestmen eggs can last up to half a year before hatching? 

During development the eggs will absorb water from the air or through the mucus layer, if present. Like the eggs of other animals, harvestmen eggs contain all the nutrients it needs for the embryo to develop. The very little research done on harvestmen eggs shows that, like other animal eggs, they also contain a vitelline membrane and sometimes a chorion that functions as protective barrier and a nutrient source. Given that harvestmen eggs are generally well hidden and is a self-contained developmental structure, it is easy to believe they can last up to 6 months before hatching. In some species, diapause has been recorded. This is a process by which the embryo will temporarily pause development for a period of time due to changes in temperature. For example, eggs of the species Mitopus morio are laid in the late summer and develop for a period of time. At a specific stage, development stops until cooler weather triggers the start of the next phase. The final phase of development only occurs when the temperature warms up again in the spring.

I once read harvestmen males are the caretaker of eggs, cleaning and guarding the brood, do the males only keep watch over their own eggs? 

Yes, in some species the males do care for and guard the eggs, but not all harvestmen species do this. In some species, it is only the female that cares for the eggs, while in others both male and females care for the eggs. However, there are many species where neither parent will guard the eggs except for hiding or covering the eggs. Most of the time the female lays the eggs either in moss, crevices, or under rocks or logs and leaves them to hatch. In the case of paternal care, there are quite a few species, particularly in South America, where the male alone guards and cares for the eggs. For example, the males of the species Zygopachylus albomarginis are well known for making open mud nests. Females of this species wander looking for males, who each have a mud nest. When a suitable male is found they will mate inside the nests, then the female will lay her eggs and leave. It is then up to male to care for the eggs, sometimes from multiple females, by cleaning them, cleaning the nest, and protecting them from predators.

What are some defense mechanisms of harvestmen to save itself from predation? 

Harvestmen have many lines of defense against predators. One form of defense is called crypsis, where they have evolved to look very similar to their environment. Crypsis makes it difficult for predators to see the harvestmen’s body against the background on which they are resting. Some species even secrete a substance that acts as glue that will make dirt and debris stick to their body acting as a camouflage. Another form of defense is called thanatosis, meaning if a predator finds the harvestmen, the harvestmen will play dead and hope the predator loses interest. The most impressive form of defense harvestmen have is their chemical defense. They have a pair of openings on either side of the body called ozopores, which lead to chemical producing glands. When a harvestmen is threatened, they will secrete a cocktail of chemicals from these glands that smell and taste bad to any predators. For example, some species in the genus Sclerobunus secrete a chemical cocktail mostly made of nicotine.

The genus Ortholasma uses crypsis and thanatosis as a means of defense, often using dirt and debris to help camouflage.

Many of the most endangered harvestmen are cave endemics, including the genus Speleonychia, which is only known from a few lava tubes in southern Washington and has evolved a complete loss of eyes.
Many of the most endangered harvestmen are cave endemics, including the genus Speleonychia, which is only known from a few lava tubes in southern Washington and has evolved a complete loss of eyes.

If it is true harvestmen are omnivorous, has there ever been a case of harvestmen becoming an infestation? 

As a whole group, harvestmen are omnivorous, although the vast majority primarily feed on smaller invertebrates. To my knowledge there has never been a report of a harvestmen infestation in the sense that some insects, like locusts, become an infestation. There are many species that are known to aggregate in massive clumps, sometimes reaching thousands of individuals (there are some pretty cool videos online). It’s possible they do this for defensive reasons (like increased amounts of chemical defense substances or an easier way of communicating alarm messages) or as a way to improve chances of finding the opposite sex for mating. Whatever the reason for the aggregations, they pose no threat to humans.

What is the autotomy practice of harvestmen? 

This is another form of defense that harvestmen use where, if a predator has captured them and are holding onto a leg, the harvestman can separate that leg from their body. The leg will even continue to twitch for some time as a distraction while the harvestmen escapes. This is similar to what lizards and geckos do with their tail when caught by predators. However, in harvestmen, once they lose the leg, it does not regenerate.

In South America harvestmen are said to be endangered due to human activity, are you aware of any measures to protect the species? 

Most harvestmen have limited dispersal abilities, meaning that, over their lifespan, they do not move very far. This has led to there being many harvestmen species with very small distributions, for example, a species may be entirely limited to a single cave, a single mountaintop, or a single patch of forest. Many harvestmen species throughout the world are endangered mostly due to the destruction of their habitat. South American rainforests are one of the most biodiverse regions for all types of animals, and harvestmen are no exception. There are some measures available to protect species in South America, for example there are several species of troglobitic (adapted to and found only in caves) harvestmen that are on the “Red List of Threatened Species” in Brazil. The vast majority of troglobitic harvestmen in South America, and throughout the world, can be considered threatened due to their very limited distribution, sometimes only a single cave, and their smaller population sizes. However, very few of these cave species are actually legally protected.

Are you aware of any action around the world to protect spider/harvestmen populations?

In the United States we have the Endangered Species Act, which allows for the protection and recovery of species that are threatened by extinction. As of now, only three harvestmen species are federally listed as endangered. These three species are all found in the genus Texella. All of these species are troglobitic, restricted only to single caves found in Texas, and are severely threatened due to habitat destruction and human development. There are quite a few harvestmen species that deserve to be legally listed as threatened, but are not. For example, some species in the genus Microcina can only be found under serpentine rocks in certain grassland or woodland habitats in central California. These species are often only known from one or two places and are severely threatened by development, so much so that some populations no longer exist. One species, Microcina edgewoodensis (commonly called the Edgewood micro-blind harvestmen), received much attention when the planned development of a golf course threatened to destroy the only known habitat of this species in Edgewood Park near Redwood City, California. Luckily, and as a result of the danger to this species, the golf course was not built due to the threat it posed. However, this species is still at a very high risk of extinction due to its extremely limited range. Although a significant amount of attention has been paid to these species, revealing that they are only known from a few places and have small populations sizes, they do not have any official conservation status. Another example, in the genus I work on, Sclerobunus, there are several cave-adapted species that are only known from very few specimens and are presumed to be rare. The species Sclerobunus klomax is only known from three female specimens and so far has only been found within a rock-pile about 300 square feet in size.

Many of the most endangered harvestmen are cave endemics, including the genus Speleonychia, which is only known from a few lava tubes in southern Washington and has evolved a complete loss of eyes.

Can you please share the historical information of harvestmen such as, where are they most reported originating from and any possible evolutions documented? 

Little is known about the early evolution of harvestmen. As a group, harvestmen have been around for quite a long time. There are numerous fossil harvestmen known, the oldest of which is around 400 million years old. Interestingly many of these fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old look remarkably similar to harvestmen that are alive today. Harvestmen are known from all continents, except Antarctica, and are the most abundant in the tropical regions of the world, like South America and Southeast Asia. There is much to be learned about the biology of harvestmen. Compared to most other groups of animals, there is little known and little research currently being conducted. Most importantly, there are many species of harvestmen that are unknown to science and still waiting to be discovered!

For more information, resources, and (of course) pictures of harvestmen, here are a few links to get started. There are also plenty of awesome harvestmen pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube.

http://www.arachnology.org/Arachnology/Pages/Opilio_QandA.html

http://bugguide.net/node/view/2405

https://books.google.com/books/about/Harvestmen.html?id=pbdpSKHkKDIC

All photos by Marshal Hedin – Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/23660854@N07/

For more information visit: http://marshalhedinlab.com/

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Internal Familiar Systems

Forgiveness, tolerance, and all out watching and being vigilant without being in survival mode. Taking it easier. I wrote this poem about the inner parts that speak under the roof of one house. Ease to us all. Tolerance!

Internal Familiar Systems:

Kissing your light side

watching your dark

our dark parts want to make amends

I don’t want them two as friends

cause this is my girl

and he says this is my mens

mens denoting more than one within one

parts/scattered/ with all that inner chatter

what do I mean?

like he wants to be sweet

and he wants to be an ass

this one is OCD neat

and this one’s just an ass

so when we meet

my interpersonal connections and communications are on levels

can’t skirt it

the mammalian and reptilian say

This one’s alright and this is an aching civilian

the internal familiar system is watchin’

and I’m telling you, you will get tired of boxin’

thinking, maybe we just don’t get along

it’s much deeper than that

cause you got parts that are cool

and though you may hide it

another that just a brat

could live alone and be totally fine

then all of a sudden,

here comes your inner feline

and you know what cats do

don’t want to listen

but will need some food

(and a cuddle)

oh yeah that’s just about it

the internal familiar system

on the surface and much deeper than that

a whole inner kingdom and queendom speaking out of one mouth

under the roof of one house

is it any surprise one part says she’s so skinny

another says she so fat

one says I’m sure, and another missed that

so in our dealings…

If you can get past this

If we had enough tolerance

and knew this exist

the possibilities are endless

 

Orator: Figures

It’s been a while since I stepped on stage for spoken word or orations. Yet last night I was sitting and spewing a few words. This piece is called Figures.

You had me dressed for church but didn’t dress me for life

where I needed that real advice

the stirring noise/the loud lessons

tapping at the door

calling my shit out/ to clean house

cant hide forever behind laundry lists and smiles

where the lips move and the eyes stare off into miles

eventually itchin’ to live in the light

stand in my power, speak my truth, and fight the good fight

Chivalry:

a boy and a girl/sex scratching to escape

a pin of broaches, emotional violence, and utter lies

mean while, I’m making copies of dicks

adding vibrational technologies

in worship of clits/ asking us to free a concept

and make it ever more legit

in other words the templates not right

Family:

you came in this world by copulation

a child wake wha! in the center of a fucked nation

shook by its convorting with social dignity lies

closed off by secrets

run child to the edges and outer skits of the patriarchs thighs

dress to live on the fringe

where the crabs do not grab to pull you back in

Friends:

America and the western industrial civil lies world

where romantic fantacism and dreams, oh what a whirl

competition

you know you try to be better

better yourself for yourself

no, negro please better than your brother

cause this is competition

show me a man who can hold the hand of his fellow man

without saying

(um…dude that’shos gay)

then I will show you an ally

show me a girlfriend who will make you tea when you staying up all night full of a dream

and you both got talent you willing to stoke, and prod, and light and feed in each other

to draw it out and better our world,

call that girl a friend

anything other is a social dignity lie

convorting and shit

lets free this concept and make it legit

so…

you had me dressed for church but didn’t dress me for life

where I needed that real advice

the stirring noise/the loud lessons

tapping at the door

calling my shit out/ to clean house

cant hide forever behind laundry lists and smiles

where the lips move and the eyes stare off into miles

eventually itchin’ to live in the light

stand in my power, speak my truth, and fight the good fight

well…damn, some of us had to figure it out.

Doula lets it go: musings on service, women, and gates

Doula, is an ancient greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. She serves women mostly, as the word also meant hand maiden. She serves those who are bringing life into the world, she serves the mother as she is reborn through the rite of passage of giving birth, and she serves the woman during the postpartum passage as well.

A Doula also serves those who are on their death bed. She helps by holding space for the dying and their families. She helps to arrange the memorial, she brings the family food, she listens and doesn’t need to talk too much.

My teacher recently gave me homework, to find three people to serve on their death bed. She is a funny woman who tells it like it is. Shes sweet and hilarious with a funny accent. I find myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes in a class where we are talking about death and dying.

My god I love women. They are brilliant, hilarious, deep, mysterious, and can teach you so many things. Going through the death doula course has really helped me tremendously and apparently its rubbing off. My lover is far more open with me as I am more open with myself. I feel more here with my feet on the earth and I love air. Maybe it is all of the talk of not having things unrequited. Maybe its having your teacher tell you to make a bucket list and then making you revise it based on immortality. Maybe its being in a space with women who are unafraid to ask ourselves and answer these questions and who are willing to hold the hand of those who might not be here. I have certainly had plenty of Doulas in my life, women such as aunts and friends who have inspired me. Held my hand in general, been good examples, and really loved me that has made me see how many Doulas I have had. In this way they have served me and I have served them.

I have served them by not taking their teachings for granted. Thank you.

 

Diamonds in the Rough: Midwifery, Children, and Asia

I have a new book to read. It is all about connecting with spirit children. I am after a new movement. I would like to support women and children. One of the most vulnerable places a woman can be and is, is in the processes of birth. Prenatal, all through out the process, and post natal. Whats really wild on my journey as a doula is that I would really like to adopt a child. One who is already here, one who could really use so much love and attention. So much work to be done so I can feel like the child receives so much love for me yes but my attention that doesn’t wonder to how I will feed it but wonders more about education, nutrition, and how in the world I will be a good mum to anyone at all.

I am grounding in the fact that I do not care to nor want to compete with women. I think it is by time women joined together. Together to support one another. The talk is of equality of pay, who in the world has whipped out their breast to feed their baby on public transportation, and how women are being treated in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. My word if there is anything i care about so much in my activism besides making damn sure to treat people with love and respect so that there is more love and respect in this world it would be my observation as to how women are being treated and how we women are treating each other. So midwifery is right there for me to embrace. Because in order to truly represent the kind of woman I want my children to know my grandchildren to know I must become a better selfless servant to those most in need of love and care and that would be pregnant women and newborns.

I am excited, I am sitting with my girlfriends and we are sharing what we know of the processes. What the legislation is. We talk about the healthcare system and the sad fact that in such a country as developed United States women’s health during pregnancy is sometimes at risk because of utter neglect and abuse. Which it in its self is so hidden but new reports show that if a midwife could be apart of the process then the mortality rate would greatly decline. I admire midwives in developing countries because in some instances they have their shit in order. I cringe at what has been happening in Australia, that women have been turning on their own sisters having them sent to jail for offering up services during illegal home births. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE. The numbers, the lives, the need speaks for its self.

So I have my books to read, retaking classes, and sitting at the feet of women who are midwives with a stance a grounded affirmation. I will not compete against my sister.

By the way this country, Singapore is sooo clean. I went to China town, it was the cleanest China town I have ever seen. It was like I had flown into Ba Sing Se from Avatar the Last Air Bender. The library is in the mall. The past time is shopping and eating. Yet, I hadn’t seen an obese person. Statistics speak that Singapore is one of the happiest countries on earth. Wow. The food is amazing. There are diamonds in the rough here. The people are sweat. They helped me to get on the bus today to go to China town from another part of town. Here I am thinking and bracing myself for Mama China. I know it is a while off in the distance but I am thinking oh my word. I love Mama China and I am so ready to see her again. More beautiful diamonds in the rough please.

My dear friend Rex used to tell me to write everyday, just write, I find that the more revealing the writing is the better. My goodness how personal and yet so good to simply write. Keep writing people!

Point A to Point B

When I walked into the gym I was simply excited to be there. I was half of a salad in with sprouts added and thought for sure I had time to let it continually digest before class was to begin at 6pm. Tariq, the instructor, was sitting next to the front desk. When I said my name to the attendant he looked up and said oh you are Sabrina, turns out when I was emailing the gym to let them know I was coming since I was in Australia, I was emailing Tariq. I brought along a new friend from my hostel, he thought the class sounded like a lot of fun so he came along. Actually he drove us there on his rented motorbike.

 

Tariq was to instruct us and he began with the philosophy of parkour. Overcoming obstacles. Especially the mental ones so that the body responds physically performing feats we never considered doing. No time for the rest of my salad and sprouts to finish digesting. I was scaling a wall by my fingers with my feet helping me move along. I was leaping to catch a bar and swing feet to the area ahead of me. We were moving like animals. Then the one practice I wanted but I will admit was a task for me to overcome.

When I was a little kid I loved climbing trees and running around. There was one day when I decided I would back flip but I landed on my head and since that day (this was around kindergarden) I hadn’t done backflipping unless it was on a trampoline and even then it was to the side. Or I would slowly curl backwards and try to throw my feet over. No jumping and tucking for me. However It was apart of the class. So what was I going to do. Tariq was showing us how so now was the time to overcome. I turned around on the raised platform. He told me to throw myself backward and just land on my back without tucking into the styrofoam below. I didn’t like that at all, but I did it. He said it was the beginning. Then he said raise your hands in the air and leap upwards into an arch when I felt I was high enough raise my knees and my body would do the rest for me. OH MY WORD! but…I did it. granted each time he said I was getting better but it looked like my body was doing it sideways. But i did it! Then he taught us the front tuck flip. I did it! It was really great. Me and the guy from the hostel was flipping over and over again. It was so much fun! There is still so much to do because i usually don’t land on my feet but the point is that I am back flipping.

The art of Parkour is brilliant. Get from point a to point b in the most efficient way possible. If there is something in your way climb it, leap over it, and move like an animal to get over it to get to point b. Humanity has looked to our animal cousins for so long to teach us. The circular philosophy of Tai Chi, the brilliant animal moves of qi gong. My teacher told me he used the philosophies to move from being behind a desk to now teaching in a gym, the art of parkour and over coming obstacles in a gym, which by the way glows in the dark if your turn off the lights.

By the time we returned to the hostel I was drenched in sweat my tank top soggy wet.

 

Over There: A Story of Finding Folks to Hang Out With While Journeying

I am in my hotel room. Very affordable by the way because in the bed over there, I mean about less than 7 feet away is a total stranger. The hotel attendants have brought us two extra beds because also accompanying us are two women from Holland. All of this began because I wanted to bike solo to the rice paddies.

It all began…(love when a story begins this way)…when I was in a small area outside of Kuta town. I was in a hostel and reviewing the best ways to get to where I wanted to go when two women walked in. We said hi to each other and they said they were going to Ubud. The next thing I knew I said to them, want to rent bikes and journey to the rice paddies. They looked at each other and said something to the tune of, yeah we can do that. The very next day, being today, we got on a shuttle for Ubud. In the same shuttle was a British man. Once we arrived in Ubud we decided to try the same hotel that another two women were staying at. When we got to the other women hotel (which was quite a walk by the way and I had to pull out the “are we there yet”) we realized the place was too expensive. So me, the women from Holland, and the Brit decided to trek back towards where we were dropped off. A man standing outside of a Villa started yelling at us. We ignored him at first but we realized with the four of us, maybe if they could let us all be in the same room, we could pay hostel prices for a nice space. The attendants were okay with that in the end and so there is a stranger in the bed not too far away. It really actually pays to say what you feel when you feel it.

I am sitting here thinking I rarely do these things. Just felt right to me so I am going with the flow. Going with the flow also landed me at an ice cream parlor with vegan ice cream and a gluten free cone for a good price.

Flowing with it.