A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali.

The Ubud Handbook « A Line in the Sand

GILI AIR, LOMBOK. We take a morning walk along the pristine beach, past the new dive centres and manicured lawns where the dry jungle and coconut groves and lazy, grazing cows used to be. Two sun-bathing white men sit in a little home-made nest in the virgin sand. One has balanced a camera on his knees and is pointing it steadily at the edge of the shallow sea.

There's a strange thrashing on the shore – like a fat fish fighting to be landed. We're twenty meters away now, and we spot a young white couple splashing playfully in the nearby water in a tropical, in-love kind of way. Ten steps closer and we watch as the young man's naked, moon-white backside pounds into his girlfriend's barely submerged pelvis.

Ten meters away and the boy finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his butt and grimaces at the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare.

Ketut starts shaking. In Indonesia, even a public display of affection like holding hands between a married couple is seen as a disrespectful lack of self-discipline to the wider community. The Gili Islands, as you know, are strictly Muslim.

It takes her a couple of minutes before she can speak.

She stops and turns to me.

– "You know, up until now, I've never seen two fish f__k in the sea..."

If you'd like to read the full story, you'll have to wait until the 11th of November, 2020 – when The Ubud Handbook will be published in paperback, iBook and e-book.

In the meantime, there are 12 full chapters to enjoy for free over at The Ubud Handbook... »

Have fun, and keep reading.

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© 2020 John Storey.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Last Word

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High

© 2020 Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2020 John Storey. All rights reserved.


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

Chapters & Extracts

The Ubud Handbook will be published as a paperback, iBook and e-book on November 11, 2020.

Feel free to enjoy 12 of the 42 chapters. Have fun, and keep reading.


Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso


Religion Matters

An American Calonarang

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter (Excerpt)


Getting Around

It's Silly Season Again

The Other Side of the Coin

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl


Food Talk

The King of Stink


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

From Ubud With Love


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

A Line in the Sand (Excerpt)


The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell

And finally, the weather

Today's forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Check here for your 7-day weather forecast for Ubud and Bali.