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    Tropical Heat Tour: Bali Part 24

    Thursday, July 26, 2012
    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    The giant bull for the royal cremation ceremony at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Look! Ubud Palace got all dolled-up for the royal cremation ceremony in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    I started out the day with a little moneychangin’ and eatin’ activities, opting for another helping of veggie burger and fries at Bumbu Bali. Then I attempted to buy a udeng (traditional Balinese headband worn by men), but the seller only had one color I liked, and when I examined it closely, it looked like it had already been worn. So, I kept on a-movin’. Then something really odd happened. When I went to buy a ticket from Nur Astika, she announced she had a present for me and pulled out something wrapped up in newspaper and plastic. I quickly tore it open, filled with excitement. Guess what it was? Yep, a brand-new udeng in a color that matched the sarong I was wearing. She said the present was for me being such a faithful customer over the past few weeks. I told you she is the sweetest! That was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time. I said thank you many times and offered to pay for it, but she refused. Then she showed me how to put it on and adjust it, which requires a series of complex folds and a fancy knot or two.

    Gimme five! Decorations for the royal cremation ceremony at Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    After I bought a ticket for tonight’s performance from her, I crossed the street to the Ubud Palace pavilion and waited for the plastic chairs to be put out. A little bit later, another procession of Ubud’s royal family appeared out of nowhere. I was in a perfect spot up on the raised pavilion to capture the whole thing. Instead of a dragon, the next generation of royalty was carried by, along with a full congregation and a gamelan orchestra in tow. It looked like a scene straight out of a fairytale. When they paused outside the gate to Ubud Palace, I walked down front to capture some close-ups. That’s when I noticed a priest was blessing the entryway. Soon the procession did what it does best: proceeded on inside for a temple ceremony. When I stepped back up onto the pavilion, I was jazzed that the plastic chairs were not put out yet, so I still managed to snag one in the center front a few minutes later.

    A temple procession prepares to enter Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    It was a full house, but not overflowing like the previous night’s crowd. The show consisted of Legong Trance and Paradise Dance performed by Sekehe Gong Panca Artha. After asking a ticket taker, I was told their name literally means “gamelan group from five villages” in and around Ubud. Since this was the third time I’ve seen this troupe perform this show, I decided to not shoot any photos or videos and just completely soak in the experience. During the opening music-only piece, one of the three singers came in at the wrong time and got snickered at by one of the others. Then they proceeded to whisper to each other throughout the next several songs, which I thought was in bad form. I think a gamelan player or two may have flubbed a part, as well, because they laughed at each other a short while later. The rest of this fine show was completed without a glitch.

    The next generation of royalty prepares to enter Ubud Palace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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