Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

For some reason, I have been drawn to Bali for years... even before I knew much about it.  After learning about their religion and culture, I knew it was a place I HAD to experience.  There really are no words for me to explain how special that island is or the way their people live on it. 

I researched for months on what I wanted to do and see, where to stay and how to get around.  Ubud Bungalow is where we stayed, and we loved it, the service, the people and the fresh breakfast!  It's on Monkey Forest Road and right near all the restaurants and shops.  We hired an amazing driver, Wayan Lia, which I will make my next post just on him.

First, we spent 5 nights in Ubud  which is central Bali and known for it's artistic vibe. The villages in the area are known for many things such as painting, silver smithing, wood carving, dancing, and playing the traditional gamelan. We got to visit them and buy their crafts, and it was pretty neat to see the artists at work.  The gamelan and dance performances we saw were beautiful.  They were a bit touristy, but the Balinese really do play the gamelan and dance at their temple ceremonies so it was great to get to see and hear all that. 

Our driver took us all around the island.  We saw lakes between mountains, many beautiful temples, colorful markets, unique beaches, and best of all, Bali life.  Seeing the Balinese women carry offerings on their heads, dressed in colorful sarongs is quite a beautiful site.  The rice terraces and fields are so beautiful, and it was amazing to drive through the country roads and see the farmers working on their crops.  

Now, let's talk about the food.  Oh the food!  It is so fresh and full of so much flavor.  They don't have the means of the mass production so most everything is grown on the island.  Literally, everywhere you look, there is food growing.  I find that to be the best way to eat.  The fruits aren't quite as sweet because they are real fruits and not genetically tampered with.  Every single thing we ate was phenomenal!  And Wayan took us to some really amazing restaurants with fabulous views too!

All throughout the island offerings are given.  Each are handmade with dried palm leaves and include different things but mostly flowers which are grown just for offerings.  You can see a lady making them here.  The video shows how they're made as well as how they use them.  We happened to be in Bali on a holiday so the offerings were abundant as were the unique, handmade decorations.

Bali is beyond beautiful. I imagine it being similar to the Garden of Eden. But the most beautiful thing about that place is the people. I believe they are so wonderful because their hearts are full. Their entire life is centered around their religion. They don't have the money that America does, but I find that to be a great thing. Money doesn't control their lives. Love does. They live their lives by focusing on what is most important to them which is their religion, their family, their village and their culture. They are in touch with nature and have a love and respect for it. They look at you and smile when passing. They love striking up conversation to see how your day is going, and they truly care to know. Being around this loving energy is such a great feeling.

I am forever changed by Bali.

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