Indonesia

An Afternoon With Eat, Pray, Love’s Ketut Liyer

Eat, Pray, Love ’s footprint is everywhere in Ubud, where the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, spent her love chapter. From the plethora of single women of all ages who pound Ubud’s streets, to the clichéd tours and Balinese people who name-drop the locals who were characters in the best-seller, the book’s influence is ever-evident. 

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An Evening Ablaze: Attending a Balinese Kecak & Fire Dance

The setting for the Balinese Kecak & Fire Dance was dramatic. First, we passed a swarm of mischievous macaques (monkeys) that spirited away visitors’ sunglasses, water bottles and sandals before our very eyes. We’d read warnings about these cheeky monkeys prior to arriving at the Uluwatu Temple, and the guidebooks advised visitors to stow away any removable accessories before entering the monkey zone. 

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Backstage at Balinese Dance Class

In Jimbaran, Bali, we had the great fortune to have been befriended by a local named Mariana. Along with his extended family, Mariana exposed us to rich aspects of Balinese culture – everything from his nephew’s 42-day ceremony, to full moon celebrations at a neighborhood temple, to Prana Shakti practice, to traditional Balinese dance. Mariana is a bit like a Balinese Renaissance man as he is a Prana Shakti practitioner, talented and expressive dancer, and family man with four daughters. 

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A Morning Walk Through Balinese Rice Paddies – Ubud

I loved how this morning unfolded. After awakening to a symphony of creatures large and small, Shawn and I set out to explore the rice paddies that surround our Ubud, Bali guest house. Even though it was just after eight o’clock, the rice fields were already twinkling and sizzling under the hot morning sun’s rays. 

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The Flora & Fauna of Jimbaran, Bali

Bali delights not only because of her splendid architecture and charming people, but also through her amazing flora & fauna. From the roosters with no qualms about waking us at 5 o’clock in the morning, to record-size wasps and rats, we’re feeling very in touch with nature on this paradisiacal island. This posting is dedicated to the beautiful flora and the creatures large and small with which we have crossed paths in Jimbaran, Bali. 

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A Lesson in Making Balinese Canang Sari

On a quiet morning, I was invited to the rice-paddy encircled home of Nyoman and family. I was eager to learn the art of making the beautiful Balinese canang sari that adorn village and family temples, intersections, home entrances and any spot that the Balinese hold to be sacred (special tree, statue, etc.) 

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Lessons from a Balinese Classroom: Our Visit to an English Class in Jimbaran

As I go through life, and especially when I travel, I am reminded of a lesson from Mark Twain: “We are all alike, on the inside.” Regardless of where I have voyaged around the world, I have drawn the same general conclusion: people around the world might be culturally different, but they have similar desires. Individuals wish to lead happy, healthy lives. Parents want their children to get a quality education. People of all ages yearn to feel connected with their community in some way.

Since I am passionate about education, I was utterly thrilled to have been invited to visit an elementary school not far from our Jimbaran, Bali guest house last week. 

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An Offering Basket Procession in Ubud, Bali

As we were walking to dinner tonight, we were delighted to cross paths with a procession of women of all ages as they gracefully carried offering baskets to a nearby Ubud, Bali temple. Younger girls utilized a ‘training wheels’ technique – practicing carrying the hand-woven baskets by using both hands, whereas their mothers and grandmothers carried one basket or even double-decker versions on their heads – often without the balancing assistance of even a fingertip! 

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Our Heart for You: A Beautiful Coincidence in Bali

We can not do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love. -Mother Theresa

The man sat hunched over, with sunken cheeks, and spindly legs. As we walked along one of Ubud’s main streets, his empty stare, meek mumbling and outstretched hand caught our gaze. Our hearts sank. 

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Patience & Passion United: A Visit to a Balinese Art School

“Patience is passion tamed.” -Lyman Abbott

The Wayan Gama Painter Group sits on a dusty road connecting agricultural villages not far from Ubud, Bali. At the end of a day trip that took us to a Kopi Luwak plantation, the Elephant Cave and Rock Cave, our driver, Mowgli, suggested that we visit the quiet art studio directed by his friend, Wayan. Mowgli explained that much of the art that lines the walls of Ubud’s shops is mass-produced, whereas at Wayan’s art school, one can mingle with the artists and see them painting, exhibiting extreme patience and a penchant for painstaking detail. 

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Serendipitous Moments in Spiritual Bali

The past days have been serendipitous in mystic Bali with moments that seemed as though the perpetually-honored spirits were communing to make our stay incredibly special. Two days ago, I started the shrimp-colored morning with a walk through unexplored territory to the east of our Jimbaran hotel, Villa Puri Royan, while Shawn went jogging on the beach. 

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Statuesque Bali

Bali’s statues and reliefs are extraordinary. Drawing spiritual inspiration from a blend of Buddhism and Balinese Hinduism, the figures wear coats of moss, and crowns of hibiscus and marigold flowers. They are statuesque indeed.

 

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The Straight Scoop on Indonesian Kopi Luwak ‘Poop Coffee’

On a Balinese coffee plantation, during a downpour of torrential proportions, I swilled a cup of the world’s priciest and rarest coffee – Kopi Luwak. In gourmet establishments across the globe, this cup of Indonesian java would cost upwards of $50 a cup. This coffee might sound familiar since it has been featured in countless foodie publications, on Oprah, as well as in the film, The Bucket List

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A Stroll Through Balinese Markets

Balinese markets are a feast for the eyes. In Ubud’s bazaar and food and produce markets, there are stacks of colorful rattan offering boxes, wooden masks with intimidating gazes, small cases comprised of beads in swirling patterns, delicate batik silk scarves, walls of oil-adorned canvases, and overflowing mounds of tropical fruits. The markets are a shopper’s paradise, a photographer’s dream… 

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Threshing Rice in Bali

Images only.

 

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