Thursday, July 1, 2010
Images from the "real" Bali
The very first taksi cab driver we had (who claimed to LOVE Americans) said the REAL Bali is not on the beaches but in the city of Ubud (pronounced oo-boo-D). After being here for two days, I have to agree.
Aside from being probably the happiest, most smiley people I've ever seen, the Balinese people are very spiritual and present offerings several times a day. This usually consists of a small basket made of coconut leaves with a mixture of flowers, fruits, actively burning incense and occasionally some candy in them. I have seen alters that the offerings are placed in front of, but they are also placed outside in many places - on the steps, in their cars, pretty much everywhere, and chances are, you will probably step on one. This is what makes this place smell so completely incredible! Between the fresh flowers growing everywhere, incense burning (which I actually didn't think I liked that much, but I'm opening up to it here), fresh fruit growing, and being put outside 3 - 4 times a day in offerings, this places smells very fragrant and sweet. It is truly mezmorizing.
Their rich culture includes a variety of dances that consist of several ornately dressed actors performing a story of their beliefs. This often includes women dancing, puppets, and occasionally a group of 50 men chanting. I am really blown away at the detail in every movement, like the specific placement of their fingers or their eye movements. But I think what I will always refer to most is the rich detail in everything here. Garments (used for their dances, not what they actually wear or sell) have incredibly detail, paintings, even all their doorways (even for bathrooms!) are all hand-carved. I was in the taksi on the way to Ubud and passed through an area where craftsman were actually carving on the side of the road. It looked kinda like getting a traditional Japanese tattoo, with a long stick and a mallet.
Definitely my favorite things in Bali were the little details that mean so much. Also - they all LOVE tattoos. I don't think they have ever seen tattoos with as much color as mine, so every time Dave and I walk, we hear "Oh yeah. Nice tAttOO! Nice color!" But the highlight of my day yesterday was when a group of older Japanese tourists asked to take their picture with me. I'm assuming it is because of their tattoos, but their was really only smiling and nodding happening, so I can't say for sure.