We spent the last 2 weeks of our vacation in Ubud, Bali. We chose Ubud because it is the cultural center of Bali and is famous as an arts and crafts area. To our delight, much of Ubud and nearby villages seem to consist of artist’s workshops and galleries. Some artist compounds were quite large, 25 or more people, all family, related to one another.
Massage, although not as abundant in Thailand, is offered throughout Bali. It is also very inexpensive there. The best massage I received was $5 USD for an hour by a woman named Ketut at a small spa in the heart of downtown Ubud.
Q-ull, our 28-year Balinese driver had a great command of the English language. He said he was given the nickname Q-ull which meant “lazy” because he used to sleep in when he was younger and didn’t like to get up early. I enjoyed getting to know him and learning more about Balinese culture during our road trips. Οne precious story that he shared was that he gave his son an American middle name of a good friend of his from San Diego, Ca. He said he really looked up to his friend and hoped his son would have a big heart like his friend did. Isn’t that what we all wish our children had???
The women of Bali were amazing – learning from a very young age to carry various items in a basket on their head. Two things that blew me away were watching two women carry our 45 pound suitcases atop their heads up 92 stairs to our villa, and watching women putting cement in a container that was placed on their heads and carried to a construction site.
One favorite evening in Bali was when he went to a bridging tables dinner at the upscale iconic Bridges Restaurant in Campuhan. This dinner was a prix fix meal that we shared with four complete strangers. We had some great conversation. I love meeting new people. The restaurant manager also asked us two questions. One was tell two truths and one lie, then have others guess the lie. The other question was what one person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with. Care to answer the latter question?
We saw two beautiful Balinese performances. I really enjoyed the Ramayana Ballet, which is nothing like the ballet we are used to. It is a traditional dance telling the story of Rama and Sita (Balinese version of Romeo and Juliet). The costumes the performers wore were beautiful and colorful.
On a side note, on the plane ride home from Bangkok, I watched a wonderful movie: Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom which is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name. The movie chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society.