Sunday, 19 July 2009

Bali

Bali - the good, the bad and the ugly; believe me, there is some of each in this amazing place.

This is me chilling out by the pool at the first hotel.

Our little group travelled first to Kuta/Legian where we stayed in one of noisiest hotels I've ever come across. The hotel is directly opposite a night club. The 'music' starts around 10pm and continues until the wee small hours. Earplugs are useless, the noise is earthshaking. The hotel is in a gang only a couple of hundred metres from the site of the Bali bombing.

Among the first Bahasa Indonesian words learned are, "jalaan, jalaan" which means 'walking'; "tadik gula" - no sugar! Bali kopi is the best coffee I've ever tasted, short, black and potent. "Lihat lihat saja" is important, it means 'just looking'. So many hawkers, some of whom could only have been 4 or 5 years old. I found this distressing but on the bright side, there are not many beggars - the people want to sell you something and bargaining is de rigueur. Toward the end of the stay I was looking for fixed price shops and stalls as haggling is not my favourite thing to do - especially when you realise you are haggling over 20c or something!

The giant head of Wishnu at GWK Cultural Park. I particularly liked his mo, very lounge lizard ...















you can get some idea of the size of this sculpture by looking at the humans at the top of the cliff, well, you can hardly see them really! The completed sculpture
includes Garuda ...















Garuda, who looks a lot like the baddies in The Dark Crystal, so I wonder who copied who?





















This is the wicked ogre so I bravely stuck my hand in his mouth. He didn't bite so that was a relief. This room contained any number of costumes and musical instruments used by the performers in festivals and plays. The dragon like Barongs are integral to the festivities. There is much banging of drums and cymbals as the carnival procession proceeds down the street.

Traffic stops for weddings, funerals and any religious procession. Traffic is another story in Bali ...
Hati Hati means 'caution' and you better believe it. Hati translates as 'heart' and sometimes it can be heart stopping as you drive down the road! There must be road rules and the Balinese know them - for me the rules (such as they are) remain a mystery.


Herb Walk from Ubud.

We started out through a building site and within minutes were in the paddy fields.

Cleaning the rice paddy is part of the agricultural ritual. In Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, there is an interesting and informative essay on the rice growing culture. Our guide, Made Westi, on the Herb Walk, was erudite and we were given many insights into the farming community and the underlying cultural mores. I bought the book that Made Westi and his wife Lilian have written about the medicinal properties of the Balinese flora; however, the Australian Quarantine ripped the cover off because there were some pressed flowers. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Tanalot was another experience, many hawkers and many street dogs as we walked up toward the temples.
























Yoga at Gandhi Ashram, Candidasa
On the water's edge - this was truly wonderful.









Of course there was lots more and once I've sorted it out in my mind and written up my 'proper' journal, I'll post some more on this blog. I'd like to talk about the dogs and cats and have an idea for an essay simmering away at the back of my mind.