that's what i like about indonesia. their biscuits are so highclass.
my friend rob and i befriended an american named brad, who lived in bali 10 years ago, speaks the language and is a wealth of information as well as just a really good guy. we all went out to hear some jazz and sat down at the only remaining table that would seat three. after we settled in we discovered it had been reserved...for rob! perfect! lucky for us the 'real' rob didn't show up and challenge our rob to a fight for the table or anything.
the jazz band was half regular western instruments and half traditional balinese instruments.
this is a gamelon, a xylophone-type instrument hit with little two-sided hammers (you hit with the dull side and i guess scare people with the sharp). this one was played by two people at once.
look! an actual 'laundry list.' i think this was my first one ever. (see part 2 for the best part, though...)
think left in focket...i think that is a pretenders song, no?
we met an american guy who lived in bali during university 10 years ago and comes back every few years to visit. he invited us to a dinner the family he stays with was making in his honor. we went out to their compouund (most balinese live in family compounds, with several separate rooms for members of the family and a common kitchen, garden and temple. most of the accommodation in bali, including where i am staying, call themselves 'homestays' or 'bungalows' and they are in these compounds. here a member of the family is making offerings around the compound.
the family compound, in a small village outside of ubud
'grandma' taught me how to make the little palm-leaf baskets that they put the offerings in. i spent more than an hour learning and making.
guess which one is mine...
i was getting better and clearly excited about it!
on the left is what it will look like when it's complete--filled with flowers and possibly some food (bits of rice, small crackers, slices of banana...whatever the gods might want to snack on). i was really excited when grandma deemed mine good enough to add to the pile of the the ones they would actually use.
some girls looking on. i'm sure they can do these in their sleep.
then she taught me how to make a different one, which is just a special way of weaving a sliver of palm leaf. it was hard!
these are the end results (three of them). they told us that you put eggs inside them. i couldn't imagine eggs so small but since then i've actually eaten eggs that small and smaller.
and then it was time for dinner. it was the first time i had lawar, which is chopped up vegetables with coconut. and, if you want a red one for a celebration, like we had here, pig's blood. the food was delicious!
mmmm good. we all ate with our fingers (except for this dutch woman who was there working on her thesis about community-based tourism. she also didn't eat most of the food since she doesn't (or can't) eat spice.).
this is brad, the american i mentioned. he lives in boulder. and rob, my english friend who i spent all my time in bali with. until he left. (there's only so much nothing a perfectly-abled person can do, after all.)
I believe I have found, without question the best-named drink in the entire world, ever. (For those who need to know, it contains arak, cranberry juice and mint. And no, sorry, I didn't order one. I opted instead for the arak mojo (mojito). As it turns out, I should not have ordered any of those drinks, as several tourists have died recently of bad arak. Someone's mixing methanol into it and apparently even a sealed bottle from the store isn't even safe. Talk about arak attack... So, no more araktails for me.)
then, on brad's recommendation, rob and i went to see a kecak fire dance. the main highlight is the men doing the kecak, which is basically balinese beat-boxing, as you'll hear in the video.
wish i could tell you what the dance was all about, but no narrative whatsoever was provided. we assume it was a story from the ramayana, but that's all i can tell you.
as with the temple ceremony, the costumes were quite elaborate.
this may or may not be hanoman, the monkey god.
then came the FIRE part! here this guy is dousing it with gasoline (from a water bottle, of course).
and then came the horseman. this guy not only stepped on embers; he walked through the fire, as you'll see in the video (thanks to rob!).
imagine walking through that... check out the video, next...
and here he is at the end. didn't even drink any of the water someone gave him. later he posed for pictures with people.
my side of the table, complete with tools i used and the beginnings of the ring i made (the three rings).
these three rings. i hammered them to get that design.
me sanding the rings
one more layer to go
rob getting his necklace fired. he's pumping the gas from below (that is the 'student's' job. we didn't get to actually handle the blow torch).
i won't quote rob directly from when i insisted on taking this photo...
view of the rain from the safety of the silver shop
my finished piece and the one i was 'coyping.'
i also found a scrap of twisted silver that had been someone else's accident and fashioned it into a pendant. here are my two 'masterpieces.'
my 'bungalow' at Puri Muwa bungalows, which is in the compound style i described earlier
the view from my porch
um, i'll have one japanese please. or perhaps a japanese fax?
um, yeah, this is exactly what it appears.
peeing buddha boy, detail
the ARMA museum (just one of the many buildings. again, compound style.)
in bali, flowers behind the ears are for men. well, and gods.
Kumbakarna attacked by monkeys, date unknown. Here's the description: From the Ramayana epic. The central figure is Kumbakarna, holding Sugriwa, the monkey king. Hanoman is shown at top left, Anggada at top right. At bottom left are Umenda and Nala, at bottom right are Jembawan and Sempati. (Interestingly, my cell phone service is from a company called Sim Pati, which I thought was a play on sim card and sympathy, but maybe...)
Bedaula, c. 1970
sick and tired of receding hairline, that unsightly acne, that unwanted flab? here's a great new (well, ancient) solution! kill anyone who looks at you!
sounds fair to me.
took this for my friend jessica, who is herself not unfond of handycraf.
a parade i missed because by the time i got off the porch to get out there (gimpy leg and all) it was gone. (photo credit to rob)
you can never get enough funny english, really.
i am not sure what pocari sweat is, but i'm pretty damned sure i don't want to drink it! (the local rice wine, on the other hand, is pretty good.)
ended up house- and dogsitting in bali for friends of my cousin's husband. this is polly's i-know-i'm-not-supposed-to-be-in-the-house-but-what-if-i-just-sit-quietly-right-here-under-the-desk-huh?-prettyplease? look.
i let sleeping dogs lie. for a bit. then i kicked her out. didn't want the family to be mad at me for spoiling her while they were gone! (look at that ear up against the desk leg, though. i *love* it!)
went out in search of a restaurant (or restoran or warung, which means shop, i think, and is a small restaurant) but all i found was street food (satay and fish balls) and a small shop selling a pared-down version of nasi campur (rice with some extras) in addition to the usual packaged goods, so this was what i came back with--my makeshift lunch (and dessert for several days. the pink and green things are little pancakes. for some reason, cake here is often dyed this particular shade of green).
someone came and put an offering in our garden. nice!
polly doing one of her favorite activities, sniffing something out in the garden
frog pond by day, with dog
the porch of my housesit house (frog pond is beyond the table)
crazy graffiti scooter!
play boy! call me at...
i'm not sure these biscuits did anything for my intellect, or my ego for that matter. not sure what it is with 'milk' flavor in asia. i thought it was just what they called the white filling in oreo-style biscuits but apparently there is more to it than that...
oh my god...personal daily couch tour! *that's* what i've been doing the last two weeks. clearly i should apply for a job as a tour guide!
awesome. lets go joint us!!!
rice fields right off the main road in ubud
saw this a lot but on this one street, jalan bisma, this cement graffiti 'advertising' lines the entire street
even the clinic! i can't decide if everyone just happened upon the drying cement or if maybe everyone in town knew in advance and went out there to stake their claim on free ad space.
i also wondered if maybe they weren't actually *meant* to be ad space, until i came upon the likes of this. even tourists got into the act!
not sure why he wants us to call him...
for my friend sabine (who was here in bali possibly even in 2005, but...)
do you think kevin and/or rhonell got the irony of this?
also get your little kid into the act. why not?
cool, it's about time i got my loundry done.
just a small section of the street
saw this in the market. guess it was just a matter of time. note that michael has taken his place next to (and above!) buddha.