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    Tropical Storm Tour: Bali Part 8

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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

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

    I was stoked I found another cheap place to eat lunch at called Pulu Sari Warung on Arjuna Lane, where I got a big, heaping plate of nasi goreng for only 15,000 rupiah ($1.08)! I didn’t know there were any cheap warungs left in central Ubud! Around 5:00 pm, I headed back over to Pura Desa to see what kind of activity was going on at the temple ceremony. I captured some footage of a young boys’ gamelan pinging out a sprightly tune, plus the usual ladies walking in and out of the temple with tall, colorful offerings of fruit and other food balanced on their heads.

    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.

    In between all of the photography, I kept checking the chairs in front of the stage at the big pavilion next door to see if anyone had claimed the front center. When I saw that all was clear, I walked a block over to Ubud Market to buy some fruit. I paid 20,000 rupiah ($1.44) for a bundle of small bananas and four small oranges. The nice lady even threw in a few more bananas for free. Maybe she felt guilty for overcharging me, or maybe she was just kind.

    The earlier crowd, which consisted of mostly foreigners, at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    The earlier crowd, which consisted of mostly foreigners, at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    The show at the pavilion next to Pura Desa tonight seemed less formal than the night before, as the plastic chairs were all a cluttered mess and there was no announcer to introduce each performer. An hour before starting time, one gamelan played a series of long instrumental pieces that ranged from somber to outright explosive. Finally, as 8:00 pm rolled around, it was showtime. A different group of players sat down in front of the instruments and offered up over an hour’s worth of the same–highlighted by segments of hand clapping and chest pounding that I had never witnessed in Balinese gamelan before. It was not totally surprising, though, as the Balinese enjoy writing and performing new pieces as much as they like maintaining traditional ones.

    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.

    Around 10:00 pm, a set of additional bright lights were ignited as the first dancer appeared, a slightly chubby older lady who soon enough stopped the music and launched into a comedy routine. I had completely forgotten that the feature of tonight’s show was Bondres (comedians). A little while later, a short, much heavier woman appeared in the doorway at the center of the stage and slowly made her way down the stairs. She wasted no time as she started firing off jokes with the first woman. Up to this point, the show had consisted of gamelan music only with no dance for a good couple of hours, thus almost all of the foreigners had exited the venue, replaced almost entirely by Balinese people.

    Two women perform a Bondres act at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Two women perform a Bondres act at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Since I was one of only a tiny handful of foreigners left, and only one of two sitting in the front row, I knew that those ladies were going to call me out and try to coax me up onto stage. Sure enough, after saying hello to me from the stage and cracking a joke or two about me, one of them climbed down onto the floor, walked over, stopped right in front of me and attempted to do just that. I vigorously shook my head no and pointed to a foreigner sitting next to me. He jumped right up on stage, no problem, with the fat lady close behind. As she struggled to climb up on the stage, the audience howled with laughter. After dancing, flirting and joking around for a few minutes with the man, who was–big surprise–from France, the ladies’ schtick drew to a close.

    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 up, three guys in a Balinese version of clown makeup came out and started their comedy routine. At that point, I grabbed my stuff and bolted. I was tired and was not in the mood to become the butt of more jokes, get invited up on stage again, or to listen to a bunch of dialog I didn’t understand. So, I walked around to the back of the pavilion, snapped a couple of way zoomed-in photos of the clowns, headed out to eat dinner at Koki at Mumbil, and then called it a night.

    Three men perform a Bondres act at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Three men perform a Bondres act at a Hindu temple ceremony at the bale banjar next door to Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Men gamble during a board game at a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Men gamble during a board game at a Hindu temple ceremony at Pura Desa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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