Wow, we are so glad to be back to beautiful Bali! How can we describe such a mystical, magical land? The people here live in a world half way between reality and spirituality. Spirits, both of deity and of nature are just real to them as the Holy Ghost is to us...maybe more so. In every village there are three temples...one for the community good, one for the deity and one for the spirits of their ancestors. In addition each family compound has the same three places assigned by a small pagoda (or temple). It is a hugely complicated society and to learn all the details of their beliefs would take years!
First, just take a look at their architecture and sense of artistry:
These gates all have flat sides that signify ripping your worldly troubles in two and leaving them behind as you enter the home or temple. In addition the rice paddies are spectacular. Even though these pictures were taken from a car going 40 miles an hour, you can see the beauty.
We had such a great time in my favorite shopping place...Ubud. It not only has great shopping but has fabulous bungalow hotels as well.
There is only one spot on earth where Dad really likes to shop! This trip he decided that we really HAD to have some outdoor carved stone sculptures that are EVERYWEHRE! Here are the "Guard Dogs" we bought to guard Baliwood: The dad has his paw on "the world", the mom has her hand on the child and is looking up at Heaven. Get ready: here they are...the newest members of our family (since we can't have a real dog!
We also bought this wild thing that has five symbolic animals carved in it for the patio. WILD!
We had such great luck with some paintings of Bali that dad found while zipping around in his "dangerous" motorbike. A sweet little couple who hadn't sold anything for 3 months were delighted when we showed up at their fine art shop and bought three paintings!
The coupld in the middle were thrilled. The guy on the right is our terrific driver Dana.
The next day when we came back with the cash (they had a visa sign in their window but no actual machine) this sweet lady was just leaving for a huge village celebration for three young people who were having a "coming of age" celebration and also a celebration honoring their already cremated uncle. It was SOOO fun to see their celebration which included a 36 woman gamalon orchestra!
Here are the three of the four who just had their teeth filed that morning in a ceremony celebrating moving from childhood to adulthood.
Here is the other young man who was in his thirties also and had a three and a half year old child. They couldn't quite explain exactly when this happens or exactly why they filed their teeth (they lay on this bed and shave just a bit of the front teeth with a big file).
They were so kind to let us join them and even take pictures. It was a once in a lifetime experience in the very exotic and spiritual culture! The lengths they go to show their constant devotion is simply incredible. At the sculpture garden were preparing the offerings for the next day. There were about 100 little baskets which they put out every day in front of every door, car, possession to ward of the evil spirits and welcome the good spirits to their homes and businesses. You have really watch your feet in order not to step on them!
This was an upgraded version of the Big Mama called the Stringray. What makes this thing unusual is that it flies! You just pull it behind the boat with two people hanging on and walla...you flying behind the boat. We tried to buy one but they said that they tried them out in CA and two people were killed (in bad weather)and they banned them. HECK!