Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back to Bali

After we left the Gilis (and my fiance), we headed to the "cultural center" of Bali: Ubud. The cab pulled in long after dark, and all the shops looked closed down. Although we had been told by numerous people that Ubud was "the" place to be in Bali, it looked completely dead. Having just left paradise island, driving through a scarcely populated village made me, um, a tad bit cranky. We carried our stuff up to the room, and I promptly had a hissy fit. I'm not going to go into details because it's my blog and I can make myself out to look like an always-pleasant-to-be-around ray of sunshine if I want to (even if it's horrifically untrue).

We dropped off our things and went out into the town. Pretty much everything closes in Bali when the sun goes down, so neither of us took our cameras when we went out onto the streets. That was a terrible decision because we ended up catching the end of what was one of the strangest and coolest shows I'd ever had the pleasure to witness. It was a retelling of the Hindu spiritual story of the Ramayana in the form of a ballet, and it contained costumes like this one:

We literally stared at the entire production, eyes wide and mouths hanging open, the whole time the women were dancing. I feel like such a failure that I don't have any pictures of it :(

In the morning, we toured our home stay, which turned out to also be an art gallery. Jo Ann is really artsy and loves looking at paintings and sculptures, so she walked around taking fancy pictures of artwork. I also took pictures of things I found interesting and culturally enlightening.

This is also the point of the trip where Jo taught me what "macro mode" is on my camera; therefore, I spent a good hour taking pictures of every flower I could find. I have approximately 1,983,527 pictures of Indonesian plant life, should you ever want to see it. For now, I'll just post a couple so you can ooh and ahh at my amazing photography skills.

Due to our little spat the night before, we opted to head out our separate directions for the first part of the day. Jo wanted to go shopping, and I had heard there were more monkeys to be found. She set off for the market, and I set off for the primates.

There's no other way to say it: Ubud was cool. I felt like I was on some kind of really elaborate movie set the entire time I was walking around. The shops and restaurants had so much character. I'm finding that it's really hard to describe this place, so I think I'm going to just resort to showing you pictures.

The roads to the monkey forest were so incredible that I'd have gladly wandered for miles. I wish I had better words to describe this; there's just a richness there that I've never felt before. It felt like colors were brighter, and sounds were clearer, and foods tasted fuller.

I swear I wasn't on drugs.


The monkey forest was bigger than the temple Jo and I had visited in Sanur, and there were hundreds of monkeys everywhere. Coolest. Forest. Ever.

While at the monkey forest, I made friends with a girl named Liesl. Liesl is from Oregon and is spending five months traveling around Asia. Basically, I wanted her life. I settled for having lunch with her.

She took me to a little restaurant near her hotel, and we talked about everything she had done so far on her trip and where she planned to go next. Although I had already pretty much made up my mind to go home and go to grad school, this crazy girl was very close to convincing me to quit my job and move to Thailand/Cambo/India/AnywhereButHere. She added me on facebook and we made tentative plans to hang out in Seoul before she heads back to America before parting ways. As an update, my facebook stalking skills tell me that she just arrived in India, and my envy level is at an all-time high, considering the fact that it's 3 degrees here and, you know, it's not India.

I met Jo Ann back at the home stay, and we had a van waiting to take us to the Spa Hati. There are massage places all over Indonesia, all for less than a cheeseburger and fries cost here, but this place is glamorous. I'd never had a massage before, and honestly, if I can't have another one like that, then it's totally not worth it. Oils, trickling fountains, showers with water that came out of a carved lion's head. This place was heavenly. I obviously don't have pictures of me getting massaged because I was wearing only a sarong, but here are some pictures of the spa, sans naked me.

The greatest thing about this place was that it was a non-profit. All the money they made went straight into funding an English school, so I was completely okay with paying a whopping $27 for an hour and a half massage. If you're ever in Ubud, I'd totally recommend it :)

More relaxed than I've ever been in my entire life, I returned to the home stay with Jo and we headed out to catch dinner and another show. This time, I had my camera on hand, but the costumes weren't as off-the-wall as the night before. Fortunately for you, you didn't see the ones from the night before, so you don't know what you're missing out on!

Despite having fewer words than any other post I've ever written, this has taken me almost three hours. Granted, it's mainly because I have extreme ADD and keep switching to facebook/gmail/whatever random thing I feel like googling. Nonetheless, I'm getting awfully bored staring at my computer, so this is where this installment will end. Ciao!

1 comment:

  1. OH my gosh! incredible. Was that monkey scratching his but and laying on the ground dead? cause that would be sad and funny at the same time.


    (see what I did there?)