Barry and I got to ride to the Kecak performance with Made
Performances in Bali can be quite different from those in other places. One we saw was a Kecak, a unique Balinese dance because it is not accompanied by a gamelan orchestra but by about 100 chanting men. Made (“Mah de”), the owner of Vera Accommodation where we stay is one of the chanters.
Johnny came with Ayu, Made’s wife, and daughter
The main performance presents the story of Rama, Sita, and the Golden Deer from the Indian epic Ramayana. The story involves Prince Rama’s exile, a demon king who lusts after Rama’s beautiful wife Sita and turns himself into a golden deer in order to kidnap Sita. Of course, Rama must rescue Sita. The chanting men tell the story.
What did we see?
The stage is lit by candles–photo by JK
The theater pulsates from the chants
The performers act out the story
The Demon King
Happily, Prince Rama wins the battle and is able to take Sita home again.
Next come the trance dances
The “Sanghyang” trance dances are performed to “drive evil spirits away and stop them infesting the community in the form of sickness or death.” In the first such dance, two girls, considered angels, are put into a trance.
Swaying girls in a trance
The girls are brought out of the trance by the “pemangku” who prays in front of the girls and blesses them with holy water
The second “Sanghyang” was more dramatic since it involves walking on fire. A young man who is in a trance dances. Behaving like a horse, he circles a huge bonfire made of coconut husks. Sitting in the front row, we kept backing away from the sizzling coals.
The fire got even bigger – photo by JK
The young man and his “horse”–photo by JK
The chanting got more intense and the fire got bigger as the horse rider circled the flames
A fire marshal would not approve
The fire was reallllly hot and the guy was walking on it!
Do not try this at home!
The end of the trance dances: the light circles look like orbs
When it was over, the horseman sat in a daze
All the performers volunteer as service for their community temple.
Religious events happen often. While I was there, a cremation ceremony was held for three influential Balinese who had died.
Each “bull” contains a body that will be cremated; the ashes are then taken to the sea
A daytime religious procession
Religious ceremonies are held during the day and at night
So who did we meet?
Friendly Gusti, his son, and nephew at Vera Accommodation
Gusti with us
At Vera’s, Made and Ayu’s little girl and her dyed chick
Ari and Jerry a week before they had their healthy baby boy 🙂
Barry, Penny, and I on a rice paddy walk–toward lunch!– photo by Renato
Barry and a rice field – photo by Renato
Renato, Barry, and I at Sari Organic Restaurant– photo by Penny
A Sari Organic dish–nasi campur–photo by Renato
We met Penny and Renato at Nick’s pool. She is from Australia; he originally from Italy, but they met in Switzerland, married and lived for many years in Sydney and then Darwin, and now more recently in India as Sai Baba devotees. We became walking and eating partners in Ubud.
Another interesting couple we met at Nick’s pool was Louise, French Canadian, and Salem, originally from Pakistan.
On Louise and Salem’s last night in Ubud, we ate at Kafe, another great spot–photo by Renato
With Penny at the entrance to Clear, one of our favorite restaurants–photo by Renato
In Clear where the setting is beautiful, the lighting great, and the food outstanding. My favorite choices are wasabi mashed potatoes and coconut crusted tofu, but there are many more choces.
In a padang, you can get a selection of fried food and rice for about a $1
What we saw from our deck
What Johnny saw – photo by JK
Hand-painted batik sheets
What about birds?
This bird was often in the Vera’s pond eating its breakfast as we ate ours
Ducks are everywhere
What about Bali pools and the beach?
Rama getting bubble blowing lessons from Johnny at Nick’s pool
No longer are pools just for swimming and lounging with a book. Almost everyone now brings a laptop (we’re included). Some people never get wet in Nick’s beautiful pool.
What is this couple doing?
Each is on an iPad!
What are people reading at the pool?
“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
We are so spoiled by Maui and its beaches, we went to a Bali beach only one afternoon. This one is at Sanur; the day was cloudy and the tide out, but we enjoyed our walk along the waterfront.
A hotel pool facing the beach
Colorful boats on the beach
There’s another book. What is it? “Eat, Pray, Love” –in German
Besides Westerners and Balinese, Chinese come to vacation here too
It seems as though Johnny has already set up shop here
Rama got the ball he wanted
People in the water
On my last night in Bali before I returned to China to start the spring term at ZAFU, we went to Clear.
Dinner at Clear with Dewa, Ayu, and Rama
It’s 6am at the Denpasar Airport. I’m smiling, but I’m not happy. It was hard to leave my boys.
I had a glorious–and warm–five weeks in Ubud, Bali. It’s a great place to visit. Aloha, Renee