Friday, May 28
Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia
When I brushed my teeth this morning, something tasted kind of off. A second later, I realized I had accidentally squeezed Cortisone cream on my toothbrush. Needless to spray, I rinsed out my mouth right away and brushed my teeth with, uh, toothpaste. I usually only use a little dab anyway, so not much got absorbed into my bloodstream and, luckily, I didn't swallow any. I just had a crummy taste in my mouth for a while.
Since it was pissing down rain again today, I spent a few hours in an internet joint updating blogs. By the time I finished, the skies were dry yet overcast. I took a nice, long walk down to the village of Peliatan, which is well-known for performing the very best music and dance on Bali. This area is quite a bit more raw than Ubud. In fact, I didn't see one tourist the whole time.
I just spent a couple of hours walking down the main drag and admiring / photographing all of the ornate entrances to family compounds, temples and open air pavillions. There was such a crazy amount of motorbikes flying by in both directions that it was nearly impossible to cross the street. At one point, I was sitting and resting when a friendly local came up and conversed with me. I think he was stoked to practice his English, and it was nice that he didn't try to sell me something.
As dinner time rolled around, I took a cab back to Ubud and ate a lovely pile of vegetarian delight. Every dish of Balinese food in general is utterly saturated with so many different flavors, it's mind-boggling. Just as an example, one bite of a little slice of juicy, marinated pineapple tonight set off an explosion of pure pleasure over my taste buds. I've never been much of a foodie before, but I think I'm becoming one now.
I ended the night by attending the Kecak (Monkey Dance) and Fire Dance performed by Krama Desa Ubud Kaja at Pura Dalem Ubud. The completely captivating Monkey Dance featured a large group of men who formed a circle around a fire and performed accapella vocals in the form of complex singing and strange monkey-like sounds. Most of the time, they sat and danced with their arms and upper bodies. An additional large cast of dancers also appeared to dramatize an episode of the Ramayana epic called the Death of Kumbakarna.
The show ended with the Fire Dance (also known as Sang Hyang Djaran) in which a funky and funny-looking hobby horse repeatedly kicked a whole mess of flaming embers around the floor and toward the audience, who were seated around the perimeter. This rad-looking performance serves to protect Bali from epidemics and forces of evil.