Monday, October 13, 2014

More Fun in Ubud

The writers and Readers Festival may have been over but the fun continued in Ubud. We moved over to the lovely Kabun Indah and stayed initially in the Teahouse Room. Lovely and with a truely amazing bathroom.

This is the view from the veranda.

On the day of the major ceremony we bought sarongs from a lovely young woman in a shop on Jalan Monkey Forest. She had decorated the water feature out the front. She also showed us how to tie the sarong and sash properly.

It was really unclear what time things were happening for the Ceremony. The major Ubud ceremony associated with Ganung Labah proceeded up the Main Street to the market and then back again and was very spectacular. As luck would have it we arrived at the market at precisely the moment everyone had to sit and the prayers began.

Shortly after the procession went back up the Main Street to the temple.

That night there was a complete eclipse of a full moon. This is called a blood moon as the moon looks red. You can't really see it in my poor picture below! 
This was the reason for the ceremony and 80% of the more than 4000 temples on Bali had a ceremony on the 9th of October.

Because of the significance of this event most of the villages were highly decorated.

The Balinese philosophy as discribed to us by our drivers Astra and Ronnie, as well as many others ( it seems that all Balinese are up for a philosophical/ spiritual discussion as soon as they know you are interested) involves daily rituals and giving thanks for life, the earth and all good things. There are obligations and rituals involving family, the village and the wider community in Bali, very much the idea of the Middle path, and a great capacity to not get emotionally caught up in everyday problems. When one becomes an adult in Balinese society at the age of 17, the tooth filing ceremony is held. This shows that you are a person and not an animal and that you will show self control against "the six enemies" I am not clear what they all are but it sounds much like the seven deadly sins and includes excessive lust, greed, gluttony and overwork.

The day after the ceremony we took a drive through the beautiful Sideman valley with Ronnie.

Great views of Agung from the Warung where we had lunch.

We went through a village that smelled fantastic. This is all cloves drying by the side of the road.

We visited a hand loomed fabric shop and did make quite a few purchases. The fabric is beautiful.

It was hard to say goodbye to Bali but I need to get back to my family and I know I will be back one day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2014

We have had a wonderful time attending sessions and special events at the festival. There is so much happening in addition to the writers talks, music, art exhibitions, book launches, poetry slams, traditional craft workshops, film evenings it just goes on and on and is quite overwhelming. I'm pretty tired by the evenings.

There were a number of very interesting panel discussions, this one above about "Wide Awake Language" with Sjon, Bunyamin Fasya, Eleanor Limprecht and Eimear McBride was probably my favourite, although the final session I attended with Michael Cathcart interviewing Amitav Ghosh was also wonderful. I was really looking forward to the sibling panel discussion yesterday but sadly there wasn't much discussion of sibling relationships. Still a thrill to hear Eimear McBride, Akhil Sharma and Cyrus Mistry read from their books. Akhil Sharma "We are spiritual beings having a human experience". He also talked about not knowing how much we love the ones around us until they are gone.

We went to a special event lunch with Robyn Davidson, she has had a full and challenging life.

Also to the Travellers Lunch with Tim Cope, Tim Flannery and Colin Thubron. Great stories from them all.

Panel discussion on Motherhood but the discussion that the four of us had over lunch was more interesting I think.

There has been enough time for relaxing

Looking at the views


Wandering about

and shopping

Today is the last full day at the wonderful Alam Jiwa

What a wonderful treat.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Now we are four; More adventures in Bali

With the arrival of the last member of our group yesterday evening we are now complete.
Yesterday we had a lovely lunch at Indus and picked up our tickets for the writers festival. 

As it is such a week of ceremony in Ubud we watched several processions go down the Main Street to Agung Labah.

We are luxuriating in the beautiful Alam Jiwa, the great views and the gardens, statues and offerings.

The view from our balcony is spectacular. These three photos show the view in all directions.

This is a small selection of the ducks that wake us up in the mornings.

The Ganesha on our balcony at sunset

 The reclining Ganesha I bought today!

Sunset today

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bali and the Ubud Writers Festival

Well here I am again in Nyuh Kuning Bali staying at the very beautiful Alam Jiwa and having my first holiday without Fisherman and the children for 21 years. I am feeling very privileged to be in such a lovely place and to sharing it with 3 wonderful women who I have known for more than 30 years.

We arrived here after dark and were escorted to a palatial villa on 3 levels, with beautiful 4 poster beds and day beds crammed with cushions. At dawn the ducks arrived in the paddy fields outside our windows and woke us up with their cheerful cacophony. In the daylight we could see the full glory of where we had landed. Yoga, a swim and breakfast and we were beginning to relax into our holiday.

 So far we have enjoyed a traditional massage at Nur's ( great, and my upper back is moving better than it has for months, but 3 days later and it is still very tender thanks to the heavy use of an elbow up and down my back and around my shoulder blades).

We have visited the Agung Labah temple while there was a ceremony occurring. The Gamelan was playing and everyone was dressed up to the nines. It was very intense and we mostly observed from outside. This is a week of great ceremony every day and tomorrow there will be a procession from one temple to another which we will try to observe.

As I am with several champion shoppers some shopping has occurred, mostly at the fabulous Threads of Life. There are many new shops in Ubud, and in Nyuh Kuning there has been a lot of development in the 14 months since my last visit.

As always in Bali we have had excellent food, and I have a new favourite, Warung Laba Laba on Jalan Hanoman, I can highly recommend it.

The writers festival starts the day after tomorrow and we are all really looking forward to it.