My second day in Bali started with a stroll around the resort gardens and a breakfast that included lots of rambutan.
Our main goal for this second day was to go up to Ubud, a town known for its arts and artisans. Along the way to Ubud, we stopped at an Australian-owned jewlery company and factory that produces high-quality handcrafted Bali silver sold exclusively for export, except for sales to the tourist market in the on-site showroom. We toured the factory and then of course, escorted to their in-house shop. I was permitted to photograph the factory studios, but of course, not the any part of the showroom except structural fixtures.
Click on photos to enlarge. Row 1, L to R: 1. Rows of work benches; 2. Annealing a pendant frame; 3. Setting decorative elements to the bezel; Row 2: 4. Sizing a ring; 5. Polishing a bracelet; 6. Finished bezel-set turquiose rings.
Given my interest in jewelry fabrication and silversmithing, my dad jokingly suggested that I stay behind and offer to apprentice and learn from them for 2 years in exchange for my free labor. I’m not that industrious.
After the silver factory, we headed towards one of the many batik centers. Several artisans sat in a pavillion working on batik as a live demo for tourists. Some tourists were so crass that without asking, they would lean into the artisan and touch them and their work while they are actively working and applying the designs just to get a photo and a closer look! Geez! I really wanted to slap those uncouth tourists on behalf of the artisans.
The composite above shows various steps and aspects of textile art production (click to enlarge or go to my Flickr set to see larger individual images). Row 1: 1. Tools of the batik-making process; 2. Various types of natural waxes and resins used for the resist, including a pine resin; 3. Carved stamps used to stamp images; 4. the first step of a batik with the main images drawn with the resist; Row 2: 5-8. Artisans carefully drawing swirls with the tjanting (the pen-tool used to apply the resist); Row 3: 9-11. Artisans working in different stages of the batik process. 12. A partially completed batik; Row 4. 13. Washed fabric with a partial design hung to dry; 14. the wax/resin pot; 15. Artisan sewing a garment; 16. Loom; Row 5. 17. Hank of yarn hung on a loom; 18. Yarn reeler; 19 & 20. Looms on which traditional cloth is woven.
Of course being in such an environment and my love of beautiful textiles made it hard to resist wanting to buy a whole bunch of batik fabric and garments. Despite having lots at home as well, I did buy a few select pieces. These lovelies always make good presents for good crafting friends anyways. The problem comes when I can’t decide which ones to part with!
Another one of our stops on the way up to Ubud was a large Hindu temple. Prior to entering, visitors are encouraged to provide a small donation and are required to wear some sort of ceremonial wrap skirt/covering over their legs before entering. I’m not sure what the skirt’s significance is, but all the skirts were colorful and festive.
The temple complex is a very large outdoor complex surrounded by a decorative perimeter wall. Several different altars and pavillions dot the landscape inside. I assume that each pavillion is dedicated to a different diety. Every part of the temple is decorated with intricate carvings and stone work with orange bricks. While some pavillions have very simple straw-thatched ceilings, others have very elaborate fresco and gold-gilded decorations, as show in the photos below (last row).
After visiting the temple, we went to a Balinese restaurant with a lovely garden and located next to a rice paddy field, where Mr. CD ordered us some more delectable Indonesian cuisine and specialties.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Our next stop on this very eventful day was among my favorites: Monkeys! We went to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, where nearly 350 macaque monkeys live. According the the forest website, the sacred forest
“is a demonstration of the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. In Bali, sanctuaries such as the Monkey Forest are usually in sacred village areas, often surrounded by temples. These cultural sanctuaries are not only an important part of Balinese heritage, but also an important part of everyday live.” (sic)
Mr. CD bought bananas to feed the monkeys. Boy, are they cunning when when know you have bananas! They will pull on your pant leg and jump on you to beg for a banana. If you are not careful, they will steal it from your hands. And if a baby monkey has a banana as a larger more dominant monkey approaches, the baby will drop the banana and run.
My favorite part of the monkeys are their mohawks!
Starfish at Jimbaran
We walked around the main Ubud areas mainly helping my stepmom find some batik dresses. I tried a few on, but none of them fit my bodacious overgrown boobs. 😦 (Well, if they did, they were made for larger people and I ended up looking preggars.) We also bought a few other small souvenirs, trinkets and gifts for friends. Mr. CD was very helpful in price-negotiations with the vendors and shops. Bargaining and negotiation prices is a very common practice in many countries, just not common in the U.S., not even that much in flea markets and swap meets, where it’s practically the only place you can bargain in the U.S.
My dad wanted to buy a carving from one shop and no matter how many times he tried to get the shop owner to lower her price (in English), she would not budge. My dad was about to give up and was getting ready to approach the counter when I told him to wait as I ran across the street to fetch Mr. CD. Upon seeing and realizing that hubby’s Indonesian, I could tell that the shop owner was not happy. Of course having a native speaker present was very helpful with everything, especially since he managed to get the lady (begrudgingly) to lower her price after at least 3 failed attempts by my dad.
After Ubud, our trusty driver drove us down to Jimbaran, where we watched another sunset while dining beach side at the Blue Marlin Cafe & Seafood Grill. We ordered various seafoods and had them grilled to order. The food was fresh, although not superb. However, the fruit juices they served were rich, thick, sweet and super yummy.
While waiting for our food, I strolled the beach by myself and met a waiter who was releasing a live starfish that had washed ashore. He was kind enough to hold it up for a while so that I and another tourist could snap some photos, however in the process, the starfish stung him. oops!
A perfect end to a perfect day.
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