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    Tropical Storm Tour: Bali Part 7

    Monday, August 31, 2015
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    A gamelan plays during a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A gamelan plays during a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Women exit a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Women exit a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    I got an early start today, as I had to go out and pound the pavement to find a new room with no construction noise next door, no bugs in the room that bite me and leave itchy welts on my arms and legs, and hopefully better wi-fi. Oh, yeah–and no more towel incidents. Just to avoid the latter, I’ll never again leave any of my clothing outside at any guesthouse. Schlepping south on Jalon Sugiwa, I checked out Teba House, which seemed really nice, but they didn’t have any cheap rooms open until next weekend. Just down the street, Tunjung Bungalows had a room open for 180,000 rupiah, but it was too big and I did not get a good vibe off of the lady who showed it to me.

    A gamelan plays at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A gamelan plays at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Next, I walked over to Jalon Goutama in the center of Ubud to check out Wena Homestay. I couldn’t find it at first until a nice lady pointed it out to me. For some reason, I just didn’t notice the sign amidst all of the other visual clutter. When I waltzed in there, another super nice lady informed me that all of their rooms were booked up until December! Whoa! I read that the place was was well-liked, but I didn’t know it was more popular than Jesus! I was supposed to stop at Sania’s House on the next lane over, Jalon Karna, but I completely spaced it. So, I ended up over at Arjuna House 3, where a cheerful lady named Ketut showed me to a clean room with not one but two beds for only 150,000 rupiah ($10.84)!

    Women sing at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Women sing at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    As the family compound and room seemed beautiful, clean and quite quiet, I told Ketut I’d like to check in by noon, so she let me take the key with me. Back at the Suartha Pension, I said hello to Suartha and paid him for last night. He asked if I wanted breakfast, but I declined and went to pack up my stuff to move. On my way out, Suartha’s wife also asked me if I wanted breakfast and asked where I was going. I managed to dodge the question and said goodbye. Somehow, the towel incident did not come up. After I arrived at the Arjuna 3 Guesthouse, I checked in, paid Ketut for a couple of days and promptly took a nap as my head sunk deep into the super soft pillows.

    A gamelan plays at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A gamelan plays at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    After eating lunch in the form of a miniature serving–is there any other kind in Ubud?–of vegetable curry and rice at a cheap place called Arimas Warung on Arjuna Lane, I walked a couple of blocks over to Pura Desa to see what was going on at the temple ceremony. During a lull in the proceedings, things were a little bit quieter than last night. Around 6:00 pm,  I noticed some guys setting up two big gamelans at the huge pavilion next door, so I sat in a plastic chair down in the front row. An hour went by with no performance, which prompted me to get up to shoot some photos and video of ladies walking by, bearing tall offerings full of fruit and / or other food on their heads for the temple ceremony at Pura Desa.

    A dancer performs the Kebyar Duduk at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A dancer performs the Kebyar Duduk at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    By that point, I had to take off my boots to leave them in front of my chair to save my spot, as a bunch of people had already started filling up the seats. The last time I was walking back to my chair after taking a photo, I noticed an old French couple pushing a plastic seat in place right next to mine in which a super old lady friend of theirs sat down. As I reclaimed my chair, she was totally pressed up against me, which was pretty annoying. I couldn’t move to the left at all, because I would have blocked the center aisle. I didn’t feel like hassling with asking them to scoot over to the right because there were too many people in the row. So, I just had to grimace and bear it.

    Two dancers perform the Kebyar Duduk at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Two dancers perform the Kebyar Duduk at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    At 8:00 pm, the show finally got underway as a woman announced each performer in the program. First up was the gamelan on the right side of the stage, who played an amazing, long piece that shifted back and forth between sprightly eloquence and somber dissonance on a 500 rupiah coin. When they were finished, the gamelan on the left side of the stage followed suit with more of the astonishing same. Next came a series of extended dance pieces, the first of which was the Kebyar Duduk, which is mostly performed in a sitting position. Another version of that dance on offer tonight was unusual in that it featured two dancers instead of the usual one.

    Dancers perform the Barong at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Dancers perform the Barong at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A unique version of the Barong came next with the leader of a large group of king-like figures worshipping a bare wood Barong mask on stage, eventually placing it on the body of the Barong, magically transforming it into full-blown painted color version in the process. The finale arrived with the Taruna Jaya, which featured a purple-garbed lady acting out the many moods of Balinese youth with her intricate eye, face and body movements. The best part was when she got all flirtatious with the drummers. Around 10:30 pm, the show finally drew to a close. Back in my room, I fell asleep quickly after such a long and exhausting day.

    A dancer performs the Teruna Jaya at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A dancer performs the Teruna Jaya at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Mie Goreng at Koki at Mumbul in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Mie Goreng at Koki at Mumbul in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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