at the DeMunut Resort overlooking a rice field which came alive with frogs and crickets at nighttime. We also had a large
balcony with a view of the pool, jungle, and the village where we heard roosters crow, doves croon, monkeys howl, and motorcycle
engines rev up along the busy nearby streets. The best feature of our room was its outdoor bathroom. This one had a tub and
a shower. Nothing like a hot bath while looking up at the starlit sky!
We visited the Monkey Forest which reminded us of scenes from the
Wizard of Oz with monkeys all over the trees and on sidewalks attempting to steal peoples’ hats, sunglasses, hand bags-anything
they could grab. One jumped on me yet only used me as a spring board. Later one landed on Jim and a nearby guard helped to
shove him off (the monkeys can get feisty). Within the Monkey Forest we saw Banyan Trees which were thousands of years old
resembling the set of an Indiana Jones movie. We walked on narrow paths through this forest with wild monkeys everywhere grooming
one another, carrying wee babes which clung to them, while others taunted one another (in one case we caught them doing the
“wild” thing). We felt so grateful for an opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat.
Ubud is an art and
cultural mecca. We visited many galleries with colorful and expressive paintings with images that almost jumped out of their
canvases. A highlight for me (Suzan) was taking a Batik Painting Class. I had a great time creating art with a technique which
reminded me of finger painting. I look forward to hanging the large Lotus Flower with Om in the middle in our home (if we
can find some wall space).
We also enjoyed a Balinese dance performance with women in illustrious costumes. We marveled at how
these talented women could bob their heads from side to side, dart their eyes back and forth, and make intricate hand and
leg movements – all in unison! A full on 50 + piece women’s orchestra supported them by playing instruments like
a wooden xylophone with hammers and also, percussions.
A special treat for us was meeting and spending time with a mutual friend
of our San Diego friend/neighbor, Diane Sern’s named Alexsandra Trevor. She also used to live in San Diego! Years ago
she vacationed in Bali and ended up moving there. We can see how this could happen – Bali has such an allure, it is
an enchanting country (filled with artistry, color, aliveness, a sense of devotion that permeates, and local people with smiling
eyes and warm hearts).
We joined Alex for lunch at Wayan Café and Bakery in the heart of town
where we sat Balinese style, on the ground. Three hours later it seemed we’d known one another for years! The next day
she invited us to a beautiful round-shaped home and yoga studio of a friend of hers with a view of a rice field (she was housesitting).
She then took us on a locals’ walk to tour other rice fields along a path through a jungle past a running stream. The
images of the backbreaking work that goes into creating rice will stay with us.
Although Ubud is a buzz of activity, through Alex we
learned about peaceful walkways with homes on cliffs and quaint restaurants in the jungle. We joined her in this area for
dinner at the Yellow Flower Restaurant, a hidden jewel!
Other highlights in Bali included learning about their culture. Family life
is so important here as the sons are expected to take care of their parents when they are older. After marriage they move
in with their parents. Thus the daughters move in with their respective husbands into their in-laws homes. In Bali we kept
hearing the same names being repeated and learned that there are only 4 names. A family will name their children (boy or girl)
these four names and if they have more than four they begin to call them Wayan 2nd, Neuman 2nd, etc. Teachers must have quite a time. We understand
nicknames are fairly popular!
We also spent time shopping for gifts including wood carvings and enjoyed the chance to “bargain”
which is like a sport here. 1 dollar = 11,500 rupia so we often had a million rupias on us (too bad not dollars). We were
able to get one hour massages for $10.00 each so we indulged! Such rejuvenation.
In spite of uneven sidewalks (when there were sidewalks),
many holes to step over, loud motorcycle noises, and crowds; we could sense a stillness in the clamor – a peaceful refuge
in this intriguing land. We thoroughly appreciated our time here and hope to return.