A Travellerspoint blog

Beautiful Bali

sunny

What a great first impression! Within minutes of landing at the airport we were fascinated by this new place which felt so different but was so welcoming it was like visiting a long lost friend.

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We had decided that we wanted to head straight to Ubud in central Bali as we had had plenty of beach time recently. Ines who we had met in Borneo had recommended a homestay in Ubud and we were met at the airport by the owner Wena who had come to pick us up. He was all beaming smiles and was wearing the traditional headdress and sarong as were most of the Balinese men we saw. Denpasar airport was really busy as most of the flights seemed to arrive at the same time, fortunately as we had our visa organised already we got through immigration quickly. We trotted after Wena who weaved in an out of the crowds with the ease of a slalom skier. Finding the car was a bit more tricky as they all looked the same, turns out ours had been parked in by another car, and the driver had kindly left the handbrake off so Wena could push it out of the way so we could get out of the parking spot. It was interesting to see that most of the cars had bamboo offerings tied to the front or hanging from the wing mirrors. They are also on the dashboard to help appease spirits for a safe journey.

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It took us about an hour and half to get to Ubud we passed through areas famous for stone carving, wood work and art which was interesting to see.

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Unbeknownst to us we had arrived in Bali at the climax of the Galungan celebrations. As we drove into ubud there were several times when we had to drive very slowly as the streets were full of children performing Barong Ngelawang which I believe is unique to Ubud area. This is where children go from house to house performing Barong dances in the street, collecting donations.

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The children use a Barong-barongan (toy Barong) whereas men will use the sacred Barong from the temple. This is similar to the Chinese dragon dancers we have seen with two people making up the front and the back, although not as energetic.

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Local businesses will invite Barong Ngelawang to perform outside their premises in the hope that this ritual will bring more customers in the future.

During this time every household puts up a really tall decorated bamboo pole called a Penjor outside their home. This is a symbol of victory against the evil spirit. The Penjor is decorated with food such as rice and vegtables as an offering and the top section is curved as if bowing to show respect.

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This is Goutama street where we would end up living for the next 2 weeks! Love walking down this road so much character.

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We were really pleased with our room at Wenas and the area around it was beautiful.

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And to top it off it came with one of these... Noki!

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Settled in we headed out to find Radiantly Alive, the yoga studio Ines had recommended. It was only 10 mins down the road and we took them up on their introductory offer of unlimited classes for a week for about £25! Bargain!

With that sorted we found a Warung (small restaurant) by the river and shared our first Balinese meal, Nasi Campur, which was delicious!

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Tomorrow we would find out how bendy we are!

Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 02:26 Archived in Indonesia

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