Thompson Travelers

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

Category: Bali (Page 2 of 3)

Legong Dancing in Ubud

We shifted north by about 45 minutes and have settled in Ubud, the arts and handicraft center of Bali.  There is such amazing talent here in all aspects of art…painting, batik, wood carving, stone carving, and so many things that are made by hand. It is also the center for many kinds of dance.In the middle of town, we could hear the haunting sounds of a gamelan orchestra playing from a covered platform that was open on all sides.  The music was pouring into the streets as the 25 or so musicians were all jamming away on their instruments.  It went on for over an hour.  Chuck says it’s just a bunch of guys drinking and pounding away on drums and percussion instruments, and guys really like banging around on stuff.  To my absolute delight, we went over to see what all the noise was and found the platform filled with a huge classroom of about 75 adorable, little girls all learning Legong, the local Balinese dance. Watching them  bend and twist their arms and tilt their heads side to side with the music registered very high on the cute meter.

The little one’s practicing for the future.

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Offerings and Pura Tanah Lot

If you’re into shopping, Bali is a great place for that.  There are several blocks of stores in Seminyak, where we are staying, along with lots of restaurants and night clubs with live music for dancing.  They certainly cater to a young crowd ready to party the night away.

Shopping for Bali carvings

We went to Kuta today, another beachfront town about 20 minutes by taxi ($5) which is a little more bustling and busy.  Shopping goes for blocks and blocks in severa l directions and seems endless.  Girls could keep very busy here!  The majority of it is inexpensive beach trinkets, similar to what you might find in Lahaina, Hawaii.  There are also familiar mall stores like Ralph Lauren and Billabong, along with a lot of good restaurants.  If you like a little more action in your surroundings, Kuta would be a good place to stay.  This is a major destination for the Australians who come here to surf all day, and late night party.

Easy to think that this house was a temple, yes?)

Its pretty easy to see how one (me) could mistake a house for a temple.  Everyone has to have a least 3 temples in their yard, one each for the gods of fire, water, and flowers, the three gods they believe rule the world and keep it in balance.  The bigger your family, the more temples you have to have.  Balinese families could have as many as 10 children, but after 1985, the government limited families to two children.  When the do the twice daily offerings, there are always flowers, lit incense (fire), topped with a sprinkling of holy water.

A typical yard must have at least 3 of these altar temples.  (This time I stayed outside the fence – lol!

Offerings of fire, flowers, and water.

Giving offerings to the Gods.

This afternoon, a driver took us to Tanah Lot, a rock formation off the coast and home to the Tanah Lot Temple, which means “land in the sea.”  It was built at the request of a priest in the 15th century who felt that this was the place to worship the Balinese sea  gods.  Poisonous sea snakes at the base protect the temple from evil spirits.  There are a total of seven sea temples in Bali.  It was high tide so we could not walk to it…maybe next time.We went just before sunset, and it was beautiful to watch the colors change over this picturesque site. Chuck mostly watched the surfers…this is also a great surf spot with beautiful clear water.

Temples

They say Bali is the land of 1000 temples, and it is so true.    There’s one every few blocks.  Our driver, who is Balinese Hindu, tells us that there is no day of worship like Saturday or Sunday as there is in the Christian or Jewish faith.  Instead worship is a daily event at altars that are built in everyone’s home, on every few blocks, or in public squares.  There’s even an altar in our rental villa.  Twice daily, offerings are laid at the foot of statues and in front of stores containing rice, flowers, and sometimes money, once in the morning, again at lunchtime. They have large, public ceremonies twice a year in these temples, which are uniquely Balinese. The rest of Indonesia doesn’t have them because they are Muslim.

Entrance gate to Pura Puse Temple

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