Monday, March 10, 2008

Back From Bali

Well we made it back from our trip to Bali and I can tell you that it was amazing. I will have several days of posting to share about the trip, but I know that my words and pictures will not be able to do the island justice. Bali is a beautiful island rich with tradition, amazing food, and fascinating people. It was unlike any place I have ever been, you are on sensory overload when you are there. The colors are deep and vibrant. You hear music and sounds that you are unaccustomed to and the smell of incense and delicious food is every where. We arrived in Bali and took a car to Ubud a small town in the central part of the island.

On our way there we ran into several different processions. Unknowingly I planned our trip to Bali during Balinese New Year. Several days of rituals and offerings surround this holiday. On Tuesday we found members of a village parading down the street toward the sea. They take all the holy items out of there temples and take them to the sea for a ritual cleansing. Each village in Bali has no less than three temples, so you can imagine it is quite a task to clean the temples. We passed four different parades on he road and one was in trucks. Our driver explained that the village must be far from the sea so they drive instead of walk. The Procession includes people carrying flags, umbrellas, offerings and the holy items. It is led by a group of men playing gongs. This was a wonderful way to be welcomed to the island.

Our drive to Ubud took about an hour and half. Bali is a small island that is covered with two lane roads that wind through rice paddies and villages. As we neared our hotel the roads got smaller and the views got more incredible. The road got so small in fact that we actually ran an man off the road. Our driver is the man in the back trying to figure out how we could help get the car back under way.

Here is the view from the car as we neared the hotel. We were truly in the Balinese country side surrounded by rice paddies. The green was so deep and vibrant and the air smelled sweet and clean.

Our first two nights were spent at Klub Kokos. We stayed in one of seven villas. Now don't get excited it was a little more rustic than I expected. There was a beautiful pool surrounded by tranquil gardens full of palms and orchids and the biggest elephant ear plants I have ever seen. We had a two room villa with a garden bathroom and if you are like me you do not know what that means.

Basically you go outside to use the bathroom, you have your own garden planted against a wall which gives you privacy, but you can see the sky and the stars and yes nature can come in and visit. So we had birds, and other critters in our bathroom at night that would scurry away when you turned on the lights. We had no air conditioning and that made the nights sticky, but the ceiling fans worked well. The sheets were musty so I felt as though we were at camp. But the food was delicious and the staff was so kind.

After dinner we went into Ubud to see a Balinese Dance. Our host a Klub Kokos suggested we go to the Water Palace which is a temple and see The Ladies Gamelan Orchestra and dance troupe. We were not disappointed. The setting itself was breathtaking. This temple is set in the middle of a huge pond full of Lotus plants and water lilies. The stage was just in front of the doors to the temple. You must be Hindu to go inside the temple but you can visit the courtyards on the outside. The gamelan orchestra is made up of the the Gamelan which is similar to a xylophone, gongs, drums and cymbals. Below is some video of the opening number.

We were entertained by several different groups of dancers all dressed in traditional costumes including some very small dancers that were 6-8 years old. Carley loved the dancing and got up several times to try and imitate what was being done on stage. She had a very good time entertaining the crowd in between dances. We had a beautiful day and this was perfect end.

Stay tuned tomorrow to hear about the Monkey Forest and Oooga Oooga.

It is off to bed for me. Love to all.

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P Mixter said...

sounds like an incredible land! The road looks so narrow that most would have trouble staying in line. I think the outdoor bathroom is a lot like camping, tropical style. I've had things scurry from the outhouse too, but never seen the stars. Wow.

K Mayne said...

OOO, how very lucky you all are to be there! Are you staying through summer 2009? we are still trying to get there to visit before you come home.
I will see Grandad and granny Claire this weekend and show them your blog. They will love to see it all, but I am not sure they will find it again.