Volcanoes and wood carvers

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
Trip End Feb 07, 2007

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

(John) Had a lazy day yesterday so nothing interesting to report there. You know, hanging by the pool, drinking beer, lazing in the sun. I'm sure it sounds terribly dull to you guys back in the UK!!!

So after pancakes we were met by Roy and a new driver. We had a very busy schedule which would take us until 4pm to complete.

Our first stop was a Batik workshop. the Batik process is long and requires a lot of Skill to apply the hot wax to the fabric. They create elaborate patterns and then dye the material - sometimes many times depending on the desired finish. THEse atterns were then turned into anything form a postcard to a dress and sold in the workshop. Being at the erm, bargain end of the market, Tamsin brought a postcard.

Next we went to a Gold and Silver jewellary makers. There weren't many people making stuff there, but Roy gave us an idea of the process and showed us the showroom.There was tons of stuff to buy, but again, being skanky we didn't buy anything!

We hopped back in the familiar white van and were taken to a traditional Balinese home. Roy showed us around , explaining the Balinese family dynamic and how families don't have a name like Foster or Burton. Names are made up of a first name which is given depending on the order of birth, and a nickname so i waould have been Manni Cool, ha ha ha! The homes themselves are made up of a number of buildings , the layout of whch are influenced by the Hindu religion. For example, bedrooms are placed so that peoples heads face North or East as they sleep, as these directons are holy. The buildings are small and only on one level. Most of them only had one wall (apart from the kitchen and the Elders room. The room were surrounded by pretty lawns and flowers. There was also a temple . Apparently, every Balinese house has a temple imaginatively named the family temple. This is where the family can give thanks on a daily basisand leave offering to the various manifestations of God. The more wealthy the family is or becomes, the more elaborately the the houses were decorated with carvings and Gold paint.

Family homes in Bali reamin in the family and even if the younger members move away , the temple must be vivited at least once a week. The temple cannot become the propert of another family, so the homes are stayed in and passed down through the generations. Having a lot to think about we moved on to our next stop: a traditional Balinese dance.

The Balinese dance was all in Balinese and lasted about an hour. We had a summary sheet explaining the story, but i still found it quite hard going. Tamsin understood it all though. The costumes were hugely colourful and the movements very intricate. I was very impressed though must confess that it got a little bit boring toward the end. This is only my view though.

(Tamsin) After the dance we went to see a community temple. Roy showed us around whilst explaining some of the Hindu principles like karma, nirvana (not the band!) and reincarnation, which are all believed in by the Balinese Hindus. Hinduism came to Bali from India and was embraced by the Balinese because some of the principles and stories fitted in quite well with the already existing Balinese folklore. Consequently, the religion is Hinduism but with a Balinese twist and not a replica of the Hinduism you may come across in India! The temple was very cool. Not as old as the one inhabited by monkeys, but there were more cool statues and colourful bits of art depicting some of the Hindu Gods. It's a very colourful religion but there are so many different Gods and stories I don't think we could ever really learn about them all.

When we left the temple we had one more stop before we got to the volcano - a woodcarving place. Here we got to see people hand carving the most amazing and intricate pieces of woodwork I have ever seen. The guy who showed us around was really nice and we were so impressed by the things we saw that we bought one thing each - John got a Barong mask made from hibiscus and I got a pretty lady's face thingy with a cool decorative head dress made from crocodile wood. I could have bought a lot more and John had to drag me away from the very expensive sandlewood carvings before I blew my whole travelling budget.

We continued our long and climbing drive to the volcano, during which we were able to see lots of the Balinese countryside which was very lush and green. We were wondering if the volcano really existed because even though we had been told it was 5 minutes away, we still could not see it. Eventually we stopped climbing and the ground levelled out. We looked over to our right and we seemed to be on the edge of a basin and in the centre of this huge basin was volcano Kintamani surrounded by charred earth and a beautiful lake. It is still active and last erupted in 1994. You can still see where the lava poured down the sides of the volcano after the last eruption. It was very cool but a bit scary at the same time. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the volcano and then headed off again. There were loads of hawkers outside the restaurant, the most persistant of which was a little girl who can't have been more than 6 years old. It was hard looking into those big brown eyes and saying no, but I was strong even though she stayed with me until I got in the van and nearly got run over in the process.

We headed towards the town of Ubud which is well known for its arts and crafts, stopping on the way to look at some extremely cool rice fields. They were in a fairly deep valley and lined the edges in strange wavy patterns. I took lots of pictures. It was good. Yes, it was.

Ubud is another popular place to stay for visitors to Bali and is a much nicer place than Kuta. We stopped at an artist studio and saw some people painting some very cool pictures but were quite tired by this point so only half-heartedly looked around the gallery. The guy that was showing us around was also a bit of an arse so we didn't fancy buying anything off him anyway!!!

After that we headed off back to the hotel, our little heads crammed to bursting point with Balinese culture. It was a really good day though and would recommend that anyone going on holiday to Bali do some sort of excursion like that. We spent the evening sitting on our balcony sipping Bintang (the local beer) and contemplated our last day in Bali and the flight to Melbourne tomorrow.
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johnandtamsin on

Don't get naggy Ginge!
Have a little patience , oh ginger one! Some of us are busy doing cool travelling things! We'll get around to it soon enough! Love Tam. kiss kiss

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