Cultural Ubud

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, June 1, 2012

We negotiated and got a taxi to Ubud only 24 km from Kuta but took it over an hour as the traffic in South Bali is insane. We checked in to our lovely Balinese designed room with beautiful wooden carved doors and painted blinds located within tropical gardens. 

Ubud is a common place to visit as the location of lots of artists, rice paddies, several dance performances every night, the laid back vibe, yoga classes and of course mentioned in the popular bestseller and film "Eat, Pray, Love".

A popular attraction is the Monkey Forest Santuary. This is an area of forest that is home to three temples and over 600 Macaus...the very same monkeys that were at the Elephanta caves in Mumbai who stole Sophies fanta! They did not disappoint, firstly jumping on Sophies shoulder for our backpack and attacked Neill as the passport wallet looked like food! Thankfully they were not sucessful and we survived unscrathed but with a fear of monkeys!

A key element about the Balinese is their religion - a complex form of Hinduism with daily blessings and a very complex calendar of auspicious days. This is what makes Bali (over 90% Hindus) unique to the world and Indonesia (a 90% Muslim country). The religion is evident everywhere as every unit whether shop, bar, restaurant, market stall etc has a offering outside made of banana leaf as a container holding flowers, food (commonly biscuits) and sometimes money. These blessings are either placed up high (e.g. table) as a offering for the gods or on the ground (e.g. pavement or road) as a offering for the demons. So everyday walking along the street is an assualt course to miss all the offerings. Even more on our second day in Ubud which was an auspicious day namely the festival of money and prosperity so the offerings were a lot larger and more intricate.

During our time in Ubud we decided to follow a walking tour from the lonely planet (only our second of the trip) around Ubud. This was a good opportunity to walk between the beautiful rice paddies speaking to a local farmers daughter, and see the multitude of colourful kites in the air and rural Bali. It reminded us of the amazing natural beauty of Kerala in India (over a hundred days ago!)

We also decided to attend a dance performance at Ubud Palace. This was a great night of Balinese music from the 30 musicians including gamelan (Balinese xylophone) players and 15 ornately dressed Balinese dancers. They danced traditional dances of Legong and Barong and danced the story of Sunda Upasunda from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

During our three night stay, we also managed to sample much of the great local food - and demolished plenty of nasi goreng in the process! And of course plenty of Indonesia's Bintang beer!
On our last day in Ubud, we checked out and caught a taxi to take us on the next leg of the trip - to Sanur, and then on to Gili Air.   
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