Monday, May 31
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
I climbed onto the back of a motorbike and returned to the Agung Rai Museum of Art, this time to see art instead of music. A new museum that opened in 1998, it features two main buildings--one for traditional Balinese art and one for modern--as well as an open stage, where I saw last night's show, plus a resort and two restaurants. The traditional Balinese art is way more complex, while the modern stuff tends to be simpler, yet both styles are a treat for the eyes, and paint a compelling picture of this unique island.
For dinner, I went back to Bumbu Bali, where I ordered a yummy veggie pesto pizza and some fried eggplant chips. Just like the last time I was here, and without warning, another religious procession ambled by in front of the restaurant and down the street to Pura Marajan Agung for a temple ceremony. I stood out front and snapped a few pics. A while later, before I got my bill, the procession exited the temple and returned down the street. By the time I got out of Bumbu Bali, I had to power walk down the street to catch up with the festiviites and snap a few more photos.
Showtime came next. Since there are so many performances around Ubud every night of the week, it was hard to choose. I decided to return to the Ubud Palace. The Monday night program by Sadha Budaya started out with a short gamelan intro called Kebyar Ding Instrumental that showed off the impressive dynamics of this energetic music, which is festive yet haunting at the same time. Then six beautiful women sashayed across the stage during the Gabor, or Welcome Dance, which serves to welcome the Gods to temple festivals. This dance is quite slow and very sensual. If it doesnâ€™t move you, you must be dead. Near the end, the girls gently toss flowers to the audience as a welcome and a blessing.
Next up came the Baris and Legong Kraton dances, which I described in previous entries, followed by another gamelan piece called Kindama Instrumental that is used to entertain the King as he rests. The Taruna Jaya, which was also in yesterday's entry, came next, followed by the Oleg Tambulilingan or Bumble Bee Dance, a really lovely dance based on a traditional Balinese love story in which a boy bee and girl bee fall in love in a flower garden. The show closed in humorous fashion with the Topeng Tua, or Mask Dance, in which the cranky personality and creaky movements of an old codger are put on display.