Friday, November 7, 2008

Beautiful Bali!

2008-11-03 bali 3508 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 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:

2008-11-02 bali 3475 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.

2008-11-03 bali 3492 2008-11-03 bali 3496 Our hotel was Le Merdien, one of the about 20 five star hotels in Bali. Their gold course was ranked first in all of Indonesia. We loved the little cone-hatted caddies and the gorgeous scenery!


2008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 3643

2008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 3650

2008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 3663  Rice fields right in the middle of the golf course!

2008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 36462008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 3696 A five minute walk from the hotel, Tanah Lot is one of the eight most sacred temples on the Island.  At high tide it becomes an Island!

2008-11-05 meriden hotel in bali 3694 

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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.

2008-11-03 Ubud 3601 2008-11-03 Ubud 3600 A scary guardian to keep the evil spirits out!


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2008-11-04 Ubud 3620 Dad loved spending the afternoon exploring on a motorbike!

2008-11-04 Ubud 3622

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!

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We also bought this wild thing that has five symbolic animals carved in it for the patio.  WILD! 

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3729 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!


2008-11-04 Ubud 3629

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! 

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3736 They were just playing their hearts out!  It is music that is unbelievably complex and unlike anything in the world.  It was absolutely fabulous to have a chance to see it! 

Here are the three of the four who just had their teeth filed that morning in a ceremony celebrating moving from childhood to adulthood. 

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3773 I sat by the young man on the left who is thirty one and unmarried.  They rent these costumes for $50 each especially for this occasion.

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3780 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).

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3776 Here is the symbolic cremation place (the gold area in the back), although it had already occurred:

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3742 Here are the offerings for the gods;

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3771 The umbrellas signify that the gods are there!

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3792 BEAUTFIUL costumes..  Beautiful people!  Amazing ceremony!

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3803 The wise man and his friend about to enter the scene with his mask!

2008-11-06 bali shopping 3779 plates ready for the feast after the ceremony.

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!

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2008-11-06 bali shopping 3809 Here's a guy taking home chickens!

2008-11-05 bali shopping 3697 Cute Dana with his deceased father's car.  They called these the "Yes we can" hats, since we were there on election day for Barak Obama!

2008-11-05 bali shopping 3700Dad had fun diving while I snorkeled. Not the great diving and snorkeling we've had but not bad and how often do you get to dive in the Indian Ocean?

2008-11-05 bali shopping 3707  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 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!

2008-11-05 bali shopping 3717 I'll close with the goddess of learning because we are learning SOOO much.  What a fascinating 4 days!


Jonah and Aja said...

great post. you have learned some great stuff and it is so good to see the photos. elsie is getting totally potty trained.

Ayumi Galuh said...

Nice post and picture

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