Appreciating the Little Things in Ubud, Culture of Calmness and Community


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Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud
April 17th 2018
Published: April 19th 2018
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Tana Lot TempleTana Lot TempleTana Lot Temple

The most frequently featured temple on Bali’s postcards, this temple was a definite tourist magnet. It was indeed quite spectacular, and a worthwhile effort, in spite of the crowds.
What we most appreciate about living in Ubud is best summarized in all the little things we experience daily. The early morning rooster wake up calls, followed by the daily sing song “Selamat Pagi / Good Morning“ greeting of the hotel staff as they arrive with our hot water thermos. Early morning laps in the pool. Morning yoga practice overlooking the rice paddies and coconut palm trees. Laughter over breakfast with hotel staff and guests. Jumping on the motorbike and going, well, anywhere, because the freedom of the ride is always more important than the destination. The not infrequent complete halting of traffic on a main street for five or ten minutes to allow for a ceremonial procession of Balinese fully dressed in ceremonial garb, women bearing fruit baskets on their heads, men marching along playing musical instruments. Evenings spent listening to the symphony of jungle music from the frogs, crickets, and whoever else is in the band, while waiting for the next firefly to pass by. And of course, what we love most is the always open, responsive, smiling faces of the gentle people who live here that we always encounter along the way. This, plus the exhilaration of knowing
The Royal Cremation Procession from the Palace to the CemetaryThe Royal Cremation Procession from the Palace to the CemetaryThe Royal Cremation Procession from the Palace to the Cemetary

This was a distance of two to three kilometres. The nine story tower, twenty seven metres tall, and the massive cow that would eventually hold the body of the deceased when cremated, were carried entirely on the shoulders of nine villages for the entire distance. Each village is represented by one tower.
there are literally hundreds of hidden restaurants, music venues, galleries, art shops, and endless side streets here just waiting to be discovered. Nothing is ever boring or mundane in this ”village city”. Such simple delights as these are what make every moment here special.

But of course a travel blog calls for bigger things, events, highlights, and there is no shortage of these either, for Bali is nothing if not a mecca of ceremonies and extraordinary cultural practices, all held tightly together by a strong sense of community. Along with, of course, ingeniously artistic people whose creativity and appreciation for beauty is next to none. In an attempt to avoid an excessively long blog entry, I will draw attention to a few of these events we had the opportunity to experience these past two months via photo commentaries on the Royal Cremation, the Pre-Nyepe Day Festivities, A Pre-Nyepe Village Beach Ceremony, the Tana Lot Water Temple, the Ulawatu Water Temple and accompanying Kecak Fire Dance Performances, as well as a few memorable moments with family and friends.

And so another wonderful season at our home away from home in Ubud draws to an end. We look forward to returning next year, but now turn our sights to the diving adventures that await us. We will soon head to northern Sulawesi to experience once again the magical wall diving in Bunaken Marine Park, then will venture to another relatively near marine wonderland to try out muck diving in northern Sulawesi’s world famous Lembeh Strait, thereby adding another first to our diving experience repertoire.

Thank you for your interest in our travels.


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The Royal Cremation:  “It Takes a Village” Quite LiterallyThe Royal Cremation:  “It Takes a Village” Quite Literally
The Royal Cremation: “It Takes a Village” Quite Literally

The commonly used expression “it takes a village” gets a whole new level of significance here, as the 27 metre tall tower and the cremation bull is carried literally on the shoulders of hundreds of villagers from nine alternating villages, through central Ubud, to the cremation site in the cemetary. The preparation for the royal cremation ceremony takes several months, involves over twenty thousand people, and is attended by several thousand of locals and tourists.
Ulawatu TempleUlawatu Temple
Ulawatu Temple

The second most visited temple in Bali. Spectacular as well.
Nyepe Beach Village ProcessionNyepe Beach Village Procession
Nyepe Beach Village Procession

We were invited to join this village as the members all proceeded to the beach for the annual ceremony at the water to bless its temples, which were all transported as well to the beach. Community is everything in Balinese culture.
Nyepe Beach Ceremony Villagers Seeking Shelter from the RainNyepe Beach Ceremony Villagers Seeking Shelter from the Rain
Nyepe Beach Ceremony Villagers Seeking Shelter from the Rain

It rained. Big time. Long and hard. The blessings went on anyway. Then everyone gathered up everything, jumped back in the trucks, still singing and smiling, and headed back the hour long drive, to their village.
Nyepe Characters in CostumeNyepe Characters in Costume
Nyepe Characters in Costume

These were a hoot, enjoyimg every minute of the fun and all the attention.
Nyepe Ogo Ogo Nyepe Ogo Ogo
Nyepe Ogo Ogo

One of many.


19th April 2018

Bali
Very interesting. Need to talk to you 2 when you get home as Janie and I and her brother and wife plan on going to Bali some time soon.
20th April 2018

Bali
Sounds like a plan! We will have many suggestions to assist with the Bali trip planning, and are back next month. Thanks for following us on the blog!

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