Bali - Our First Experience with SE Asian Culture
Jun 9, 2000   Indonesia
BLOG: Un-related thoughts and activites of the day . . . .

We rode by this on our motorbike. So colorful with all the fruit on their heads.
We rode by this on our motorbike. So colorful with all the fruit on their heads.
Rice paddies, monkeys, caves. This is an entirely new culture for us and we love it!
Old posts from my very first travel website and my first backpacking trip (a year in 2000-2001)!

Jun 9 - Getting Lost in the Rice Paddies

After 2 days in Kuta, we got a ride to Ubud with Wayan and his brother, Madeh. We saw a Balinese dance, "Barong Kris dance" incorporating Hindu themes of good & evil, child sacrifice, immortality, and animal morphing. We also visited a batik (hot wax art on cloth) shop, wood cutting shop, stone carving shop, and an authentic traditional village (chickens running around, many stone buildings, thatched roofs, and temples.
We did a few touristy things on our way up to Ubud.
We did a few touristy things on our way up to Ubud.
There are little offerings with flowers, food, and incense, (sometimes even money or candy) all over the place. In Bali, Hindu people give 2 offerings per day at home or where they work.
Daily offerings. This one is what they placed on the railing of our hotel room.
Daily offerings. This one is what they placed on the railing of our hotel room.
We're staying at the beautiful Juwita Inn in Ubud. 8 nights cost less than US$100, including morning and afternoon tea and free breakfast served to your room!

It is so great here in Bali, and cheap! We are so spoiled with dinner in restaurants, our hotel (that has a private bath), and a fully body massage for four dollars! We hardly feel like backpackers. They say you can get by on $5 per day in Indonesia, and totally spoil yourself for a few bucks more.
Our hotel was so amazing.
Our hotel was so amazing.
I am about to go on a shopping frenzy with all the cool statues and things to buy.

We took a walk along the streets. After a few turns we found ourselves in a small village with pigs, roosters, cows, and some artisan areas. Beautiful rice fields, but we got a bit lost and it was getting dark. A very cheerful man, Nyoman, met us (he had just caught 4 snakes to eat). He kept chatting even though he knew no English and we knew no Balinese. He helped us find our way out of the rice paddies though, which is a good thing seeing how dark it was getting.

Jun 10 - Monkey Forest and More

We went to the sacred monkey forest today. The locals really respect this place and there are huge temples and many stone monuments inside. This is different: they will bury a loved one in the sacred grounds, just as a temporary resting spot util they can save up enough money for a proper cremation. We saw a grave that was only three days old.

The monkeys are all over the place, playing in the trees or in the temples. They will take a banana right from your hand. Sometimes they get greedy and want the whole bunch - I had to tell one a stern "No!" but he hissed at me and showed his 2 inch teeth. Scared and shocked, I dropped the rest of the bananas. One cute baby monkey couldn’t get up the temple wall, so mom put him on her belly and climbed him up.
Monkeys everywhere in the Ubud Monkey Forest!
Monkeys everywhere in the Ubud Monkey Forest!
The monkey forest is so lush.
The monkey forest is so lush.
We saw the Balinese fire/trance dance; rhythymic chanting and dancing that depicts a traditional story. At the end, they pour some flammable liquid over a bunch of coconut husks to make a bonfire. After it burns for a while, a guy walks through the fire and continues to kick and walk on the coals for quite a while.

Common Balinese names for children 1 thru 4: Wayan, Madeh, Nyoman, Ketut. We’ve met all but a Ketut so far.

Jun 11

We had a long walk through rice paddies and among little villages. A young man named Ketut asked if he could join us in our walk to practice his English. Sure. He said all banyan trees are sacred - there is a temple next to every banyan tree on Bali.

He told us a nice river/cave walk to go on. We saw the Ubud final soccer game that ended in penalty kicks but we couldn’t see them because the entire crowd gathered around the 18yd box. The people in trees had a good view, and some people tried to jump at the exact moment of the kick to see.
Just cruisin' through the rice paddies.
Just cruisin' through the rice paddies.

Jun 13

We rented moped and saw the Goa Gajah Cave that has 900 year old carvings! An earthquake in the early 1900s broke most of it though. We saw a fruit blessing ceremony and got a flat tire.
One of the places we went when we rented our moped.
One of the places we went when we rented our moped.

Jun 14

We took the moped back out to the cave walk area. A local cop stopped us. He was nice but told us to turn around because of some "project". We went by a beautiful river (people rafting) and took a rice paddie walk to the cave temple. We never would have found it but a nice local showed us where it was.

After he left, another nice local showed us the bridge walk, some great views, and a cremation ceremony area. He took us to his house, climbed a tree, and got down a coconut for us to drink. He’s an engineer at the local hotel. We got soaked in the rain and rushed home for hot showers and tea. We are also taking a meditation class in Ubud.

Shopping in Ubud has been great. We got a barong woodcarving (mythical beast representing cleansing forces in the universe), a cloth painting, and an carved ebony box all for insanely cheap prices direct from the artisans. We then bought 2 more oil candles (3 men and bird), 6 barongs, and droopy old lady statue for our friend Jesse. We mailed all the stuff home. I hope it makes it.

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