Monday, February 23, 2015

Ripples in a Cup

I place a heavy ceramic bowl into the steel sink and it makes ripples in the cup filled with water, perfect concentric circles. I am fascinated and do it again and again, enjoying the simple beauty, sensing the ripples that echo through my body every time I dance. Every footfall ripples my waters -- this is what heals me, cures me, why I dance, why so many dedicated dancers gathered on the wood floor for the Sunday Dance.

I think of Continuum Movement and Emilie Conrad’s dedication to water and motion; how well she knew this truth. We are two-thirds water, yet we rarely notice this basic element as it waves through us. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Walk from Village to Town

My walk from the village of Nyuh Kuning (New KOO-ning = Yellow Coconut) to the town of Ubud (Oou-bood) for my Indonesian language class is a delight. The small road leads to the path that skirts the Monkey Forest, crosses a river, passes a huge banyan tree and suddenly I'm in town. A few highlights . . .

My hotel - 2nd floor windows + balcony
My street

Barong  under village banyan

Daily offerings
Daily offerings

Soccer field with tourists
Village banyan tree

New restaurant
Bamboo scaffolding
Monkey Forest 2 + 4 leggeds
Monkeys eating offerings!

River under Monkey Forest banyan

Glorious banyan

Shops at the end of the path - town!
Hubud = Hub Ubud - great place to work

Friday, February 20, 2015

Family Ceremonies

The Balinese like to invite us to their ceremonies. They are proud, we are curious. I am honored each time. This time a young woman I meet at a hotel while walking one morning hears of my interest in sacred water and invites me to her family’s home. 

3 sisters at home
Kadek picks me up on her motorbike and in we go to ceremonies in progress – a cleansing of dark deities and demons for Kajon Kliwon that happens every two weeks. We begin in the family temple, then go from room to room, giving blessings and asking for protection, asking that the offerings be accepted.

From here, Kadek’s sister Made (Ma- DAY) invites me to a ceremony at the home of another Made, my hotel manager’s wife. I patiently wait two hours while they set up. It is a ceremony for their family temple that happens every 6 months.

Made and I have a good conversation about her life, her family, her in-laws feelings toward her – complex like everywhere, with caste/class differences. At least their religion is shared. When a second priest arrives, the 3 hour ceremony begins with prayers and sacred water blessings.


 A young black chick is a traditional offering. It is sacrificed with blessings while a bird sings freely in the tree above. I do not eat chicken for quite awhile after.

The ceremony closes by knocking over the demon towers triumphantly. The black and white fabric represents the balance of good and evil – both part of life. The main difference is that good can create and destroy, but evil can only destroy.

 I am moved once again by the intricacy and dedication in every ceremony here. 

Priest's assistant offers sacred water at entrance to house.

The mother of the extended household

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Full moon rising

This might be the best thing being curious and friendly has given me. In my search for a place to video the full moon rising, I end up at the brand new 5 star hotel across from my humble abode—there goes the neighborhood! Full moons are important for Balinese ceremonies, so I hope for some good images.

The hotel has a perfect view of the moonrise but by the time I get there it is late, so I am invited to return the next day at 6. It is also the first day their restaurant will be open and I have a long conversation with the Chef about cooking and combining ingredients and the joy of delicious tastes. 

Chef Ketut
Sunset from the hotel
Dusk from the other side

When I return the next night, not only do I get the sunset and moonrise for a time lapse video, but since I am the first customer at this new restaurant, I am honored with a complimentary sampler of Chef Ketut’s pick of appetizer, main course and dessert that are truly heavenly. Knowing my food enthusiast friends will enjoy it, here are photos of the mushroom ravioli, braised pork and vegetables, banana spring roll with chocolate ice cream and raspberry chocolate coulis.  

And yes, the video of the moon is perfect too. Ah, the things we do for art!

Mushroom ravioli appetizer
Braised pork + vegetable rice souffle
Fried banana, chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, ice cream

Unexpected Pleasure

Walking down the main street of Ubud, Bali -- Jalan Raya Ubud— I heard a drum beat from a tower, noticed people in ceremonial clothes and when I looked far down the street, a procession approached. Found a good nook to watch from and thanks to my iPod, here it is. Enjoy! 

"Second procession" at the end -- backed up motorcycle traffic -- parade in itself! 

In case the video takes too long to load, here are some photos.