Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mengwi to Ubud

Deni, Loretta, Mardel & Michele all arrived safely on the 1st of November and joined me at Puri Taman Sari....they loved the villa and the private pool! After a quick dinner, it was off to bed for them because I had a big day planned for the 2nd! I strongly feel that anyone visiting a new country should at least absorb a bit of the culture and at 8:30 the next morning and we were off!

First stop was a silver gallery where we watched silver jewelry being must have very good eyesight to be able to work on the tiny pieces of silver they were etching and carving out in the workshop. After a quick stop in the shopping area, off we went again! Next stop was a batik factory and we got to watch the ladies hand applying the wax to the fabrics in preparation for dyeing. There was also a lady working a foot loom weaving gorgeous fabric that could be made into tablecloths, napkins, placemats, etc. Some serious shopping was accomplished here! Third stop of the morning was the woodcarvers studio. There was a lovely elephant carving that was about 5' tall and maybe 2' wide...wonderful detail. They told me that it would take one man 4-5 months to carve such a beautiful piece.

We also visited the family temple of the Resort Owner, Pura Taman Sari, which is the only temple on Bali surrounded by two outside the main walls and another one just inside the temple walls. We couldn't visit inside the temple walls of this one, just walked around the walkway and were able to look in to see the beautiful temple buildings and carvings.

After a FAST lunch back at the Resort, we were off to Uluwatu Temple, which is another of Bali's nine main temples surrounding the island. Uluwatu is situated up on a very high cliff overlooking the beautiful ocean. The temple is "guarded" by some very naughty, aggressive monkeys! Everyone is advised to remove their glasses and hang onto their bags/backpacks. We spotted several monkeys grabbing sandals and shoes off of folks and jumping up onto the rooftops! They are bribed by bananas to throw the stolen objects back to the owners!

We then proceeded from the temple area into an arena area where the traditional Kecak Dance was performed, accompanied by a chorus of 70 men chanting throughout the performance. Long story short, the guy gets in the girl in the end, but the costumes and dancing are a fabulous introduction into the culture.

Today brought us to a coffee plantation where we sampled Bali cocoa, Bali coffee, ginseng coffee, lemongrass tea, white ginger and red ginger tea. We were able to also sample the Luawk coffee which is the "poop" coffee...the animal eats the red coffee beans and once they are digested, the beans are harvested off the ground, cleaned & dried & roasted and honestly, I was amazed at how delicious the coffee tasted! Deni and Loretta bought a couple of bags to bring home! Indonesian coffee is traditionally very, very strong coffee....

Enjoy the images...we're shopping the markets of Ubud tomorrow and getting massages in the afternoon. Alam Indah is a 10-room property just outside of Monkey Forest and it's our beautiful home for the next two nights....sweet dreams!

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