I wasn’t planning on returning to Ubud so soon after my 2017 visit, but my friends Ryan and Anthony were getting married there, and my friend Trixie was also attending the wedding, so we decided to make a trip out of it. As this was my fifth time in Ubud, I didn’t really try to see or do many new things... I just let Ubud suck me in as always. So, here are some photos - with commentary - about... Read Full Entry
I am a native of Singapore and a professional expat. Since leaving Singapore in 1994, my life journey has taken me first to Bangkok, then to Manchester UK, and then to the United States - starting with Los Angeles, then Honolulu, then Silver Spring, MD, and then back to Honolulu. I took some time off from work between July 2017 and March 2018 to travel and reflect (check out my Midlife Crisis Flashpacking series). I'm now back in the corporate world with a renewed attitude towards life and work. I plan to take another extended trip in... full info
Tirta EmpulOur second stop in Tampaksiring was Tirta Empul. Here, water from a holy spring is channeled to this pool. Worshippers cleanse themselves in the water.
Tirta EmpulWhile foreigners are welcome to participate in the bathing ritual, I never have despite this being my third visit to this site. I don’t feel as if I have internalized Balinese culture enough to make this a meaningful act. So, instead, I choose to observe from a respectful distance.
Another WeddingWeddings in Bali feature doorway decorations such as these. There seemed to be many weddings going on that week.
PetuluOur last stop of the day was the village of Petulu, where herons roost in a few trees. Unfortunately, there weren’t many herons at that time as most of them had migrated elsewhere for the season. Legend has it that the area was the site of a massacre during Indonesia’s tumultuous times in the 1960s (as depicted in The Year of Living Dangerously). The herons started appearing after that massacre.
PetuluThere were several free viewing platforms in the area. One of them was the village temple. At the temple, we discovered the aftermath of a cremation... ashes and other body parts are housed here until the next stage in the cremation process.
Cafe Lotus, UbudTrixie and I shared this meal at a dinner organized by the wedding party. This was good, and cheap by western standards, but it was still the most expensive meal I’ve ever had in my nine visits to Indonesia. As an added bonus, our table had a view of the Legong Dance performance being staged next door.
Threads of LifeThis is a shop specializing in ethically sourced textiles. While I was in Tana Toraja, I was half tempted to buy an ikat at a village I trekked to. But, I didn’t have the cash on me. Pictured here is Thread of Life’s ikat collection from Tana Toraja.
Monkey ForestThis civet cat was the star attraction at a Coffee Luwak stand. Luwak coffee is made from beans that the civil cat eats and poops out. It is crazy expensive. I refuse to buy kopi luwak because of reports of inhumane practices. Apparently, the civet cats are kept in cages and fed mostly coffee beans instead of their natural diet which is more varied.
Neka MuseumA Balinese dancer. In Balinese dance, every movement, including eye movements, signify something. Back when Jeff and I visited in 2013, the eyes movements scared him. I made sure I texted this photo to him!
Kecak DanceThe Kecak dance was the only performance I really wanted to go to. It involves a mostly male cast of "monkeys" chanting and singing acapella (no instruments). They tell the story of an epic battle from the Ramayana. There is also a fire walk done by a man in a trance. The first time I saw this in 1993, all the performers were in a trance. This time, only the firewalker seemed to be in a trance. And, there was audience participation, which I wasn't a fan of.
Tegallang Rice TerracesWe stopped by the Tegallang Rice Terraces on our way back from Trunyan. It was quite the tourist trap. I didn’t know that tourists were allowed onto the rice terraces (I thought there would only be restaurants overlooking the terraces). We joined several hundred other people traipsing through the terraces.