Return to Ubud

Bali 2010

Back to Ubud. In the hope of finding a place that will give us a bright enough light so that we can actually read a book in bed (what a concept!), we opt to dump the lovely Fibra Inn for a new hotel beau. The Sri Bungalows come highly recommended by both Joel and Nirgrantha. The grounds are absolutely stunning. The owner is some kind of superhuman gardener.

The rice paddies and gardens of the Sri Bungalows make it difficult to believe we are smack in the middle of downtown Ubud.

The walkways seem to go on forever.

Birds of Paradise look and feel impossibly unnatural ...

... and unbelievably healthy and plentiful here at Sri Bungalows.

An orange-trunked palm tree?! Botanically speaking, Bali sometimes feels like an alternate universe; an unexpected trip to the Star Wars Cantina.

Women labourers are a common sight around Ubud. We see them doing construction work along side the men, carrying 4 or 5 cinder blocks on their heads and schlepping wheel barrow after wheel barrow of gravel, blocks or bricks.

From our balcony at the Sri Bungalows I am able to catch shots of these working women. The hotel is adding on new rooms because of the boom in tourism. (Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert?)

It's a good 3/4 - mile trek from the pile of blocks out by the street to where the new construction is going on out past the rice paddies.

On top of the head, a small bath towel wrapped in a spiral cushions the load.

Bro & Sis Singer pause / pose for a photo at dinner in a posh-ish Ubud Thai resto. It is our last night in Bali.

You gotta stop and smell the coffee. Literally. We stopped at the side of the road to check out some local coffee plants.

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN .. our last day in Bali. I decide to get up early and check out Ubud's most famous attraction: the Sacred Monkey Forest. When I arrive, the monkeys are still asleep. Honest. The only things moving are some sculptors working just inside the gates. Here's a short clip of their work:

As I walk further into this park / attraction / forest, I hear men's voices. Lots of them. Then I see this:

There are at least a hundred and fifty men - it's 7:00 a.m. for buddha's sake! - all working diligently; whittling, honing, hand-sawing, electric-sawing, nailing and splitting wood for the temple which resides inside the walls of the Sacred Monkey Forest.

There is a major ceremony coming up on August 9th. The community has been preparing for it since May. According to the Monkey Forest website (http://www.monkeyforestubud.com/) "The significance of this special ceremony is to harmonize the three worlds of Balinese Hindu belief. These worlds are:

1. Bhur – Level of the lower beings 2. Bwah – Level of the humans 3. Swah – Level of the Gods"

The ceremony happens about once per generation, according to the site, and involves at least a couple of local temples. It is a BIG DEAL. Here is a short video of the temple preparations goings-on:

A little later on in the morning the monkeys (commonly called long-tailed macaques. Their scientific name is Macaca fascicuiaris) start their days. Here are some pics and another short video clip:

Contemplative and watchful..

A tree full o' primates.

The composer of "Yes, We Have No Bananas."

Long-tailed family.

On the street outside the Sacred Monkey Forest, I ask this man if I can take his picture. He agrees. (Obviously! I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of the Tourist Police!!) You can see how thrilled he is to have his picture taken. Probably a first for the guy.

Closed? It's good to know they've left the gate open a smidge so Sharon & I can come back to this beauty of an island any time we want.

Next: Heading home via Taipei.
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