Saturday, January 19, 2013

Why Bali? Part One

Okay, so you might say this is really corny but after reading the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and seeing the movie, yes I wanted to go to Bali. Just the name “Bali” had lured me even before that. Being on this side of the planet, so close, when was I ever going to get another chance?
Right after getting off the plane the first thing I thought was “thank God I am in the Peace Corps and in the Philippines” because the culture shock was intense but SO much less because of experiencing PC and especially the Philippines. I arranged an airport pick up to my hotel, they drive on the right side of the road and he drove like the crazy guys in Manila drive…weaving through hundreds of motorbikes…past architecture that was in many ways similar to Philippines but different. 
My private bungalow

On the ride from the airport

My hotel was this charming place in the town of Sanur that I learned meant “Quiet Plentiful Water”….my bathroom was in the back of my own private bungalow, open air….
Breakfast served every morning…
The first night I walked to “town” and randomly ate at an Italian restaurant (the absolutely best Italian food I have had in years) and later in the week realized that what a coincidence – the author of “Eat, Pray, Love” went to Italy first!
The first morning I took a long walk towards the beach. Along the way here are some things I saw….

Statues everywhere

Lady selling morning offerings to the Gods

Fancy cock  houses in Bali

Sanur beach

So that was Christmas Eve day and since I was REALLY stressed out from worrying if our school got the grant we applied for and plus, trying not to miss my family so much over the holidays, I did something I have never ever done…I went to a Spa for the entire day!!!! And so my Bali peace began…I was massaged and scrubbed and rubbed and fed and pampered from 10am-6pm….I sort of slithered out of there so relaxed, like jello or something. OMG it was wonderful…a bathtub full of rose petals for me???
The Spa

Morning offering 

For Christmas Day I hired a driver to take me sight seeing, first so I could visit some places on the island I really wanted to see and second, so I would be busy all day and not succumb to the “I am alone on Christmas and not with any family…” pity party.
What a day! It began at the Orchid garden, I am not sure what I enjoyed most, the tour guide or the flowers! This young man was SO funny, took crazy photos and made jokes about the names of the flowers, it was so much fun!

Hanging Birds of Paradise

Spider orchid

Then off to the morning session of a Balinese dance performance, The Barong and Kris Dance – my first introduction to the Balinese “good and evil” phenomena.

The good one

The evil one

The musicians

Bali and Indonesia are famous for their batik fabrics and my driver took me to a place where the women were actually drawing on the fabric with wax. I went a little crazy in the store, but how many times are you in Bali???
Batik process using wax

Gorgeous things, original batik art

Next stop, silver and goldsmiths, another thing Bali is know for.…..the place was a little touristy, they demo the silver making and then of course, have a lot to sell. Went to two places and bought a gorgeous pair of earrings.
Little ity bitty silver dots

Our journey was ultimately heading towards a Hindu temple I wanted to visit outside the town of Ubud but along the way we spotted some kind of celebration at another temple. This was my first intro to Bali temples, everyone must wear a sarong and sash to enter (they rent them..) my guide was great and explained what we saw.
My driver/guide

Those poles are handmade woven palms

Temple entrance

You see this everywhere, the umbrella is to remind us that God covers all and protects us, the black and white patterns are symbols for good and evil, together they are harmony

This is the town alarm, a large bamboo piece that is rung

Me and my sarong

More temple gods

Umbrellas for ceremonies

Entrances usually have two little statues to scare away evil spirits

Along the road we saw this woman carrying her family temple offering on her head, something I DON”T see in the Philippines, then we made it to our destination – Tirta Empul, the Holy Springs. 
Elaborate offering

1 comment:

  1. Amy,
    I read "Eat, Pray, Love" 3 times. I am glad that you have had the opportunity to visit Bali and see that beautiful country.