Our Barge, Odysseus

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ubud Again

Back in Ubud we had the opportunity to attend several dances, Legong, Barong and Kecak. I didn't get any pictures of the kecak but I got plenty of the other two.
I'm not going to try to explain the different dances and their techniques and stories. The links above will help you with that. I'll just post some of the pictures we were able to take.

The first set is from the Barong and Kris Dance presented by Paiketan Sekeha Baron Raja Peni at the Pura (temple)Dalem.

During our second time in Ubud we stayed at the Honeymoon Guesthouse. This is what you see after leaving the registration desk and heading for your room. Pool on the left.

This is the entry to the room.

This is the ceiling over the bed.

This is the view off the balcony.

The hotel was undergoing some expansion; a large pavilion behing the check-in desk. We could see some of the activity from our balcony. Watching these guys work we could really appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship of the Balinese carvers, both wood and stone.

Our next dance excursion was to the neighboring village of Peliatan to see the Tirtasari troupe. This was the stage before the action began.

First is an instrumental introduction and them the Puspa Mekar (or Pendet), a welcoming dance.

Next is the Legong Lasem (or Legong Keraton)

The next dance was one of the highlights--The Kebyar Terompong popularized in the 1920's by Mario.

Next it was the Legong Jobog.

And then the Barong Dance with its cast of, well not thousands, but there's plenty of action.

We had a wonderful time on our visit, but Bali had one more gift for us. As the plane lifted off from Ngurah Rai International Airport, we flew past one last beautiful scene.

We had a wonderful time, saw some beautiful scenery and, most important, met many wonderful people. The Balinese have suffered a great deal from the bombings of the last couple of years and the tourist industry may never again be what it once was, but I highly recommend it as a great place to visit.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Munduk, Yeh Gangga and back to Ubud

Arriving in the village of Munduk, we checked into the Puri Lumbung Cottages . Lumbung are Balinese rice storehouses and the bungalows at this hotel are modeled on these buildings. The views were spectacular.

Cathy Jo is on our balcony and these are views down the valley.

This was the view out one of the windows at a neighboring cottage. Below are the views from our usual seat it the hotel restaurant.

It was the very beginning of the monsoon season. We saw quite a bit of rain and some beautiful cloud formations.

Maybe it was just wedding season in Bali but we came upon another wedding celebration during one of our walks in Munduk. The blushing bride allowed me to take her picture.

Besides the great food at the hotel restaurant, several other activities were offered. As you know, hikes are high on our list. Our guide Dharma took us on the Three Waterfalls Hike. The leaches really weren't that bad.

This is a small portion of the hotel temple. More great stone carving.

Mr. Gekko held still long enough to get his picture taken.

Next it was over the hill and down south to the village of Yeh Gangga. Along the way we passed by Lakes Tamblingan, Buyan and Beratan. This small temple was on the other side of Lake Tamblingan from the road. The camera zoom worked pretty well, even in the mist.

We stopped for a brief walk through a spectacular temple complex, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan on the shore of Lake Beratan.

We made a quick stop at the market in Candikuning. The elevation lets them grow great vegetables. There's a huge strawberry operation there. Felt just like home! And of course it wouldn't be Bali without beautiful flowers.

And birds.

Arriving in Yeh Gangga we checked into the Bali Wisata Bungalows. This was the view out the front of our room; The Honeymoon Suite. We told the owner, a German/Canadian retired after working for years in Indonesia, that we were about 20 years beyond the honeymoon stage but I don't think it mattered.

The fishing boats landed through the surf.

One of the reasons we stayed at the Bali Wisata was to walk down the beach to one of the most famous temples in Bali, Tanah Lot. Unfortunately, the day we arrived there was a huge thunderstorm. Crossing the river between Yeh Gangga and Tanh Lot was impossible so we walked inland to the villages of Pejaten and Curah. This offshore rock is typical of the geology of the area.

This stone carving was on the outside wall of a temple on the way.

Water temples are a regular feature of the Balinese landscape. this temple was on both sides of the Sungai Empas.

Pejaten is blessed with abundant quantities of natural clay so it has become a tile and pottery center. There were several of these shops producing roof tiles by hand, one-by-one. The rough block in the right foreground is pressed in the machine, trimmed, turned on to a wooden frame and placed on the rack behind to dry.

After drying in the rack, straw is spread on the ground and the tiles are laid out for more drying, then into a wood fired kiln for the final heat treatment.

We also stopped in a workshop turning out some nice pottery.

Happy transplanting rice.

After a couple of relaxing days it was back to Ubud. On the way we stopped at the huge state temple in Mengwi, Pura Taman Ayun. It was built in 1634 and renovated in 1937.

The meru (multi-roofed shrines) are lined up to represent the height and orientation of the mountains of north Bali.

Bali is its own kind of Hindu and they are very serious about their religion. Three times a day offerings are made to the gods. They will be found in every home and outside every business. They can be as simple as some cooked rice on a piece of banana leaf or as elaborate as some seen here. Great piles will collect at important locations like major intersections, important bodies of water or large, old trees.

It was the beginning of the rainy season and we saw quite a bit but never for very long and it seemed there was always a place for a Bintang nearby.

Now that we've returned to Ubud, we'll be attending a couple of dances. That's next.