Speaking of monkeys, what’s a trip to a tropical island without a little run-in with some wildlife? And given how aggressive the monkeys (long-tailed macaques, actually) of the Sacred Monkey Forest are, snatching away anything they fancy, wild is an apt description.
While we’re on lessons learned, nuggets of wisdom are never far behind in Ubud’s gift shops. This one really struck a chord one bright sunny morning. Possibly the most artistic store I’ve been to in a long time. Run by the Kupu Kupu Foundation, it houses a broad variety of handicrafts reasonably priced and imaginatively created by the physically challenged using local materials, with the proceeds going towards improving the lives of the latter. The artist’s profile and photo are displayed next to each piece.
For details visit http://www.kupukupufoundation.org/. In a concept that most of us city-bred souls would do well to imbibe, the Balinese allot a special day for silence every year, when even their airports pull their shutters down. Called Nyepi and celebrated with much gusto on the preceding evening, its larger-than-life preparations make for quite the imposing sight. As this little boy just found out.
A short quad-bike ride through the rice fields led me to this. Green grass, blue skies and black coffee. Under a post-rain drizzle. Some afternoons have perfection written all over them. And now for some Bali Spirit Festival, the bait that hooked me in the first place to this island and its many charms. Music concerts every night at the five-day festival, because there’s no such thing as too much music. Here’s a Balinese ‘offering’ that you will see more times than you can keep count of in a day here, not just in temples but almost everywhere. While I’m not wild about organized religion, the kind of reverence the Balinese have for artistic beauty and the amount of care and effort they put into creating beauty in their daily rituals is something I could get behind. From homes that could well be ancient temples, to sculptures that seem as intricately worked as nature, the orchestra of frogs and crickets every night outside my room, beauty was simply in the air. I’m sure I’ll be back for more, and with even less of a plan than a lost notebook the next time.