Masks in the Market

Our second day in Bali began with a trip to the market. You can shop until you drop in Ubud and then shop some more. They sell everything from paintings to wooden carvings to giant wooden phalluses with beer openers at the end (why?). I love things like the masks …


… the batik sarongs …


… the puppets …


… and the famous shadow puppets with characters from the Ramayana.


In and around the market you’ll see people (mostly women) carrying baskets on their heads. It’s pretty impressive.


Nelson stopped to admire items like slingshots and krises (Indonesian daggers) while he shopped for gifts.


Near the market, at what we were told was the king’s palace (there’s not much signage to tell you what things are here), we found dance classes in process:IMG_9060.jpg

As you can see, the guys’ dance is quite different from the girls’ (as is the size of their classes):

The dance classes were all held in the shadow of a tremendous temple complex:



… with wonderful carvings and statuary all around:


The area with the dance classes also had two enormous open-air buildings with gamelan sets. A gamelan is an Indonesian ensemble filled with percussions instruments, most of which are made of bronze. Here in front is a reyong


… and here is an ugal:


The carvings on this particular gamelan set were wonderful:


Later in the morning, Nina, Nelson and I had “spectacular” (in quotes because it’s Nelson’s word) massages at Tamarind Spa. While there, we sat by the small koi pond, which is the sort of thing that makes the backyards of Ubud so peaceful the world  just a few meters from streets crowded with cars and scooters.


Nelson posed with some of the garden’s many carvings:



While we wandered around the garden, we watched a woman with a basket of offerings …


… place them in strategic locations all around:

There really are offerings everywhere here. You’ll find them in religious settings, of course, but you can also find them lying in the street…


… on what passes for a sidewalk (here, with a still-smoldering coconut husk)…


… and placed atop carvings that may or may not have any religious significance (I really can’t tell):


For lunch we went to Cafe Lotus, which was filled with tourists who come for the tremendous view. This is what we looked out on …


… as we sat and had mediocre Balinese food (my first nasi goreng in Indonesia) on the floor. We all liked the signs warning us against our better instincts…


… and I, of course, could not help admiring more lotus blossoms:



Right behind the restaurant is an enormous temple area:IMG_9150.jpg

Sadly, the temple itself was closed — but it has beautiful doors to keep you out:


And Nelson engaged with some of the guardians:


One of the few things I remember from my first trip to Bali in 1992 were signs in the temples asking women not to enter when they are menstruating — and that has not changed.


There really are temples everywhere here — big ones hither and yon, and small ones in people’s yards or even on their roofs. And they are always well guarded by stone figures.



Ganesh is also a common sight:


We spent our afternoon lazing by the pool and then doing more serious shopping (translation: Nina and I went out and left Nelson at home). After watching sunset from our front porch …


… we walked out and had an excellent dinner in the rice paddies at a warung called Sweet Orange. I loved my gado gado (an Indonesian salad with a peanut sauce).


Eating in the rice paddies is really peaceful, but it was also the first place we’d encountered mosquitos in good numbers. Bali hosts an awful lot of small wildlife. A huge orb spider greets us by the front gate every time we come home, there are stunning butterflies all over the place, and we found several of these lizards sunning themselves by the pool yesterday:


When it rains there are snails everywhere …

IMG_9170… and when we were sitting on our couches last night, we saw this tree frog outside on the window!


There’s also a tree frog that’s been climbing the wall of my shower. I’m not sure I feel great about having a frog there, but I’m not sure I want to try to catch him, either.

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