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    Tropical Storm Tour: Bali Part 19

    Saturday, September 12, 2015
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    A statue of Barong on Jalan Nyuh Bojog in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A statue of Barong on Jalan Nyuh Bojog in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A jungle river gorge on Jalan Raya Singakerta in Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A jungle river gorge on Jalan Raya Singakerta in Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A shop window on Jalan Raya Singakerta in Tebonkang, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A shop window on Jalan Raya Singakerta in Tebonkang, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Today, I rented a cheap mountain bike for 30,000 rupiah to go on a nice, long ride. My first stop was Coco Supermarket in the southeast section of Ubud, where luckily they had some Vaseline in stock to put on my toes to prevent blisters. Next, I cruised through a really narrow walkway that snuck and snaked its way around the side of the Sacred Monkey Forrest Sanctuary; almost clipping handlebars with the ever-present and menacing oncoming motorcycles. I also got held back a bit in the momentum department by a couple of kids on bikes in front of me.

    A Balinese Hindu temple split gate in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A Balinese Hindu temple split gate in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A rice field glows in the late afternoon sun in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A rice field glows in the late afternoon sun in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Upon exiting the forest, the kids disappeared, so it was smooth sailing south down Jalan Nyuh Bojog all the way to Jalon Raya Nyuh Kuning, where I hung a right to head east for a few kilometers. The highlight of this pulled leg of the journey was crossing a huge, curved bridge over a deep river gorge covered with thick jungle gleaming in the sunshine. Amazingly, I didn’t see a whole lot of trash scattered down around the river, which was great. Pedaling west a few kilometers, I passed by a bunch of shops that produce and / or sell wood carvings and sculptures, similar to the villages of Mas and Andong, except most of the stuff here was small. At a couple of shops, there were even several people carving away out in front near the road.

    Eye see you in the rice fields of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Eye see you in the rice fields of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Nasi campur at Warung Mandi in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    Nasi campur at Warung Mandi in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Turning around at Jalan Raya Tebongkang and heading back east, I hung a left at a really narrow alley that I remembered from a long hike I took during my last visit to Ubud back in 2012. A really old lady at the corner tried to tell me something, but I’m not sure what, then held out her hand. I think she gave me directions to something and wanted me to pay her. Next, after passing by a large Balinese split temple gate, I encountered another really old lady who was walking up the road singing while carrying a baby. Soon after, I entered a super narrow single track trail, which was quite a challenge to balance on while riding. After passing by rice fields and a rustic pen holding livestock, I entered another narrow paved road, where I stopped at a small shop to relax in the shade for a few minutes and buy a snack.

    A procession of men carries a body into a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A procession of men carries a body into a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    I bought a blank bag of what I thought were homemade rice chips, until the young lady there informed me they were actually made out of tempe. For some strange reason, she would not accept rupiah coins, so I had to pay with a 1000 rupiah note. Continuing north, I passed through several vast rice fields that were set ablaze by the late afternoon sun. Since it had been five hours since I ate sarapan pagi (breakfast), I stopped for makan siang (lunch) at Warung Mandi, a relaxing spot set amid the rice fields, where a young man with a huge, happy smile on his face served me an amazing-looking plate of nasi campur that was equally delicious.

    A gamelan plays at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A gamelan plays at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Back on the bike, I was surprised to see–or rather not see–a cafe I ate at in 2012 called Warung Om Namaste that was right in the same area and had since disappeared off the face of the Earth. I guess they didn’t get enough business way out there in the countryside. Heading back toward Ubud, I got stopped in my tracks by a Hindu cremation procession that was spilling out of Pura Dalem Pacekan Desa Adat Penestanan and onto the road. As it proceeded up Banjar Penestanan Kaja, I followed behind the tail end along with the pecalang (the volunteer security guards of a village). A kilometer up the hill, we hung a left onto Jalan Penestanan and walked west a little ways past a hairpin turn over a large stream in the jungle, where there was a temple called Setra Br. Pekraman Penestanan Kaja.

    An offering on the ground at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    An offering on the ground at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    People sit at a small Hindu cremation ceremony in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    A late evening back lane scene in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
    A late evening back lane scene in Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    There, the body was carried in as scores of women tended to long tables filled with offerings while other folks sat and listened to two different gamelans, who took turns ringing out sprightly tunes. After snapping a few photos and video clips, I checked the time: It was 5:30 pm. I had to return the bicycle by 6:00 pm, so I started pedaling back over to Ubud. I stopped by Arimas Warung for dinner, but a few people had already ordered food, and I didn’t feel like waiting the better part of an hour to eat, so I grabbed a veggie burger, three nuggets that were supposed to be French fries (but I wasn’t sure if they were even potatoes), and a microscopic salad at Gendong Sisi. That place is so glitzy and popular, I saw them turn away people several times just because they had the audacity to be filled to capacity.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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