Thompson Travelers

Travel is a way to be lost…and found…all at the same time

Category: Bali (Page 1 of 3)

Singapore on the way Home

As we leave Bali, we have one day and a half in Singapore to rest up before the long flight home. Chuck has been here for business many times and loves this city for the diversity of food.

It’s quite the drastic contrast of seeing the women at the farmers market, in the mud roads this morning dressed in a simple sarong, to the concrete jungle of high rises, fancy cars, shopping malls of high end designer labels, and people who care about who and what labels they are wearing this afternoon.
Chuck wanted to splurge and stay in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the newest hotel they’ve added to the Singapore skyline in the last three years.  I saw it under construction the last time I was here.  He thought it would be nice to relax for a day and a half before we head on that long flight home.  Holy mackerel…what a hotel…that’s it, on the left, with the three towers, and the concrete sculptural lotus flower out in front.  The long segment across the top is a rooftop, 57th floor swimming pool with an infinity edge, looking out over the city.  Who thinks of these things?!

Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Night panorama from the pool

Infinity Pool 57 floors up

The infinity pool at night

Moonlight swim

We started with pool pictures, and I guess we are ending with pool pictures too.

Our trip is over and we’ll be on a 5am flight home tomorrow morning.   We leave on Dec 17th, fly for 20+ hours and when we get home, it will still be Dec 17th am.  Funny how that works.  This has been like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and ending in a strange and unknown Wonderland.  I hope all of you have enjoyed reading my emails and being part of the adventure with us.
We always love hearing hearing from you and your comments.
Sampai jumpa lagi (See you again in Balinese)

Grocery Shopping

I hadn’t really seen any grocery stores in Bali and wondered how people shop for food.  On our way back to the airport at 5am, we stopped at the Ubud Market to answer my question.  Each village has their own farmer’s market, and at 4am, the are hundreds of farmers, open for business.  The streets are completely jammed with parked scooters as everyone is there buying their groceries at 5am!!  You can hardly get a car by.  The women have rush home, cook breakfast for their families, make the offerings for the morning, dress the kids in uniforms, and have everyone out the door by school time.  I was amazed how many people are out and about that early in the morning.  By 10am, they all vanish, as they pack their goods away, and this same space becomes filled completely with tourist trinkets.   You would never know any of them were ever here.

The market…opens at 4am.

 

Celebration

Every village has many temples, and once in every 15 years, the members of that village have a celebration to cleanse the biggest, most important temple, and make offers to God, and today was the day!

This is done by every separate village all over Bali, but it is up to the village to determine the timing.  I was trying to tie it to a date on the calendar, as in “is this celebration on an anniversary, or is it New Years?”, but that made it even more confusing when they told me that Bali has an entirely different calendar than the rest of the world, that there are only 10 months in a year, so scratch that.

The entire village dresses in white (for celebrations), and they take all the sacred artifacts from the temple out for a cleansing and to make offerings to God.  It involves something to do with walking to the beach, a symbolic cleaning, a walk back to the temple, then a long celebration at the temple.  Every storefront decorates with a huge bamboo pole intricately sculpted with a food offering of rice and fruits to God to give thanks, and these beautifully line both sides of the street.In America, when there is a parade, people often sleep overnight on the sidewalk to make sure they get a good viewing spot.  It was a little different here…if you were a tourist, you’d be on the curb, if you’re a village resident, you’re IN the parade, so getting a good viewing spot wasn’t too difficult.  LOL!We couldn’t tell what time this was all going to happen. Nobody really knew.  Apparently timing has something to do man’s relationship to God, nature, and the animals…The Balinese certainly run on a different clock than Americans.

We waited for two hours, but we were in the right place at the right time when it finally happened.  It only lasted for about 15 minutes, but it was worth the wait.  It was like a scene out of a Cecil B. DeMille Bible movie where Charlton Heston was about to show up from climbing down from the mountain after talking to God.  What’s amazing is when you realize this is not some show put on for tourists, it is authentic, Bali life.

You won’t be able to get photos like these unless you go to another village, catch them on the right day, or wait another 15 years.  On the other hand, our driver told us, Balinese people are always celebrating something.  Keep your white outfits handy.

We leave tomorrow for Singapore,  so we must bid farewell for now to this colorful, enchanting corner of the world.  It does seem like a page out of some bygone era, and I hope this place does not lose its charm as time marches on.

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