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    Tropical Storm Tour: Bali Part 12

    Saturday, September 5, 2015
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    Pura Padang Kerta on Jalon Hanoman in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Pura Padang Kerta on Jalon Hanoman in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A sun-splashed back street in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A sun-splashed back street in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Layers of thrashed posters on Jalon Sukma in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Layers of thrashed posters on Jalon Sukma in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    This afternoon, I went on a nice, long walk south down past the Monkey Forest and east through the back lanes over to Peliatan. There, I headed north on Jalon Sukma, which is just beginning to become infested with the kind of touristy shops, warungs and guesthouses that fill Ubud to the brim. In between shooting photos of everything from scuzzy walls to beautiful family compound gates gleaming in the setting sunlight, I kept an eye out for a cross street to head further east to Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai, the main drag through Peliatan. But, I never came across one. Instead, I ended up walking north all the way to Jalon Raya Ubud, where I hung a right at Pura Dalem Puri and headed east a couple of blocks over to the huge statue of Arjuna.

    A family compound gate on Jalon Sukma in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A family compound gate on Jalon Sukma in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A giant statue of Arjuna at the intersection of Jalon Raya Ubud, Jalon Raya Andong, and Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A giant statue of Arjuna at the intersection of Jalon Raya Ubud, Jalon Raya Andong, and Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A family compound gate on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A family compound gate on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Walking back south again on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai, I scored shots of still more spectacular Hindu temple gates basking in the last rays of the old, setting sun. The amount of businesses on this street aimed at foreigners was considerably fewer than on Jalon Sukma, although it seemed like there were a lot more shops catering to the locals–especially smartphones and boutique clothing–than I noticed back in 2012. I even spied a skateboard / apparel shop tucked into a tiny storefront. Give Peliatan another 10 to 15 years and I bet it’ll be all Ubuded out. It is already technically a district of Ubud anyway, since the latter tucked several surrounding villages under its wing some years back.

    A Hindu temple gate on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A Hindu temple gate on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    A weathered sign for Legong Gunung Sari on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    A weathered sign for Legong Gunung Sari on Jalon Raya Cokorda Gede Rai in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Gunung Sari performs the Pendet at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Pendet at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    At 6:00 pm, I stepped into the courtyard of Puri Agung Peliatan, where I purchased a ticket for the night’s show by Gunung Sari, a gamelan and dance ensemble founded way back in 1926. Just five years later, in 1931, they became the first Balinese gamelan to play overseas–at an expo in Paris, France–and went on to win acclaim for numerous other international performances in subsequent decades. Immediately after I claimed my chair in the front center, a couple of Euros plopped down two seats to my right and proceeded to talk non-stop for the next 90 minutes until showtime. It was so annoying, I had to get up and walk around to get away from the sound for a while–keeping an eagle eye on my chair in the process, lest someone try to take it, or move it, or squeeze in another chair right up against it. Not long after, a Japanese couple showed up with a little kid who also screeched and shrieked the whole time.

    Finally, at 7:30 pm, showtime rolled around, featuring a lively instrumental opener called Kapiraja, followed by the Pendet dance, which welcomed the audience with showers of flowers thrown onto their heads. Third up was the Baris dance, which traced the movements of a brave Balinese warrior, followed by the Kebyar Trompong, an explosive choreography in which the dancer also plays the tromping instrument at the same time. Appropriately placed in the middle of the show was the centerpiece, the Legong Lasem dance, which told the story of a royal love triangle that ends in murder.

    Gunung Sari performs the Baris at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Baris at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Gunung Sari performs the Kebyar Trompong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Kebyar Trompong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Gunung Sari performs the Legong Lasem at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Legong Lasem at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Next came Oleg Tambulilingan, a dance invented in the 1950s that told the story of two bumblebees in love. Finishing out the set was the Barong dance, in which Bali’s holy lion and the evil witch Rangda battle it out yet ultimately maintain the balance of good and evil that the Balinese worldview is based on. The gamelan was tight as a drum and the dancers were totally on it and just brilliant. It’s funny when you see one or two of them after the show riding home on a motorbike in full makeup and costume.

    Gunung Sari performs the Oleg Tambulilingan at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Oleg Tambulilingan at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Gunung Sari performs the Barong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Barong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    Gunung Sari performs the Barong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
    Gunung Sari performs the Barong at Puri Agung Peliatan in Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.

    I was lucky to find an open seat on one of the shuttle buses heading back to the center of Ubud, or else I would have had to schlep all the way, which, after all of the walking I already did today, may have given me blisters on my feet. I ended up walking around a few more blocks in Ubud anyway, looking for bananas to supplement the tiny breakfast the Arjuna 3 Guesthouse will serve me tomorrow morning. I never did find any, as all of the fruit sellers pack up and go home pretty early in the evening. But, I did find some chips and peanuts in an odd combination music / grocery store that has a whole wall of gamelan CDs for sale for only 60,000 rupiah ($4.24) each. I plan to pick up a few before I fly back home on September 29.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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