Sunday, May 3, 2009

Memorable Sights in Bali

Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck) Restaurant in Ubud The well-known crsipy deep-dried duck from Bali.
Sunset over Tanah Lot
Silhouette of people watching the disappearing sun at sun down. Tanah Lot is renown for its magnificent sunset.

Sanur Beach
Sanur offers 6 kilometres of pristine sandy beaches

Kuta Beach revellers
People sit & relax along Kuta Beach at sun down. "Life is sweet" seems to be harboured in their minds.

Home-stay cottages at Ubud
Just behind Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck) Restaurant are two long row of home-stay cottages

A place to rejuvenate & re-charge our energies.

Hard Rock Cafe at Pantai Kuta

One of the most prominent landmark along Kuta beach

Bali Land of Shrines, Temples & Places of Worship

Newly built temple along Jalan Raya Seminyak, Kuta in front of the well-known Balinese restaurant Warung Mades
A Balinese Shrine Within Compound of A House

An Image of Chinese Goddess of Mercy at Matahari Bungalows, Kuta

Image of Chinese Goddess of Mercy with Hindu Goddess of Mercy at Matahari Bungalows

Tanah Lot Temple (Land in the Middle of Sea Temple)

Pura Tirta Empul (Temple of Holy Water)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Melasti A Balinese Ritual To Cast Away Impurities & Miseries

Women Carrying Offerings of Fruits, Sweet Cakes & Flowers
Men Carrying Jempana or Sedan Chairs & Effigies & Hallowed Representations Like Barong (Good Spirit) & Rangda (Monster)

Men Dressed In White Walking Towards The Sea

Villagers Dressed In Their Finery Carrying Long-poled Umbrellas Walking In Line
The Melasti Ritual occurs three to four days before Nyepi the Balinese Day of Silence, Bali's Lunar New Year which fell on March 26 2009 this year. Nyepi is reserved for self-reflection.
Hence anything which might interfere with that purpose is restricted. Hence there should be not lighting, no working, no entertainment, no pleasure, no travelling, and for some no talking or eating during daylight. The radios & TVs are switched off & the streets are empty. The airport at Denpasar was closed for the day.
On the other hand Melasti is a boisterous affair. It is the time of the year when villagers all over Bali gather together & dressed in their finery & in white to signify purity. They walk in unison towards the sea or a water source such as a spring to cleanse their deities & for them to cast away their miseries. Near the water source the men will rush their sacred objects into the water to symbolically wash them & thus purify the deities.
On the day of Melasti one will find offerings of meat at cross-roads the haven of evil spirits. The offerings are to placate the evil spirits. In the evening much noise & din are created in order to awaken the evil spirits and demons to feast on the offerings.

Bali On The Go

Barong Dance
The Barong Dance represents an eternal fight between the good spirit and evil spirit. Barong, a mythologival animal represents a good spirit and Ragda,a mythological monster, represents an evil one.
The masks of Barong and Ragda are considered sacred items and before they are brought out
a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy waters taken from Mount Agung, Bali.
Music is presented by a repertoire of musicians playing with traditional Balinese musical instruments.
Most modern Barong dances included skits incorporating jokes and humour as well as risque acts which are at times not tastefully demonstrated.

Pasar Badung, Denpasar
This local produce market is the largest market for all types of local Balinese products. It is situated in the heart of Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali. It consists of a multi-storey building as well as the surrounding open-air market for food, fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers & poultry. Connected to the building via a bridge over a river is another multi-storey building known as Pasar Kumbasari which offers a wide range of souvenir products.

Rice Terraces at Tegalalang
Many paddy terraces are found near the village of Tegalalang. However they compared poorly with the mountainous Banaue Rice Terraces located in Northern Luzon and built by the Ifugaos two thousand years ago. They also cannot compare with the majestic and scenic paddy terraces found in Longsheng, Guangxi Province, China

Dirty Duck (Bebek Bengil) Restaurant
The best crispy deep-fried duck I have eaten was at the Dirty Duck Restaurant or Bebek Bengil in Balinese language.
The restaurant faces a paddy field with newly constructed home-stay buildings lined on both sides of the restaurant. Indeed the rustic setting provides a tranquilising relief for "battle-wearied" tourists, fighting to keep their eyes open due to lack of sleep.

Gunung Batur and Danau Batur at Kintamani
Kintamani is a popular tourist destination due to the scenic beauty of its active volcano, Gunung Batur and the surrounding Lake Batur. There are six ancient villages at the foothills.
Gunung Batur is still an active volcano. It has erupted 24 times since the year 1800. The black lava can been visibly seen from the road built along the ridge of the next hill.
From the viewing gallery of the restaurants as well as from some spots along the road-side one can enjoy a panoramic view of Gunung Batur, Lake Batur and the tiny houses dotting the villages of the surrounding countryside.

Glimpses of Kuta, Bali

Sunset over Kuta Beach
This was what I was waiting for at about 6.20pm on Friday March 20 2009. Many people local Balinese and foreigners made a bee-line each evening towards sun down to watch the sun set.
Well Elton John, You can't say "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".
We rather prefer you to say & sing "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?".

Matahari Bungalows

A garden resort within the heart of the town of Kuta. Many of the guest rooms faced a myriad of fruit trees, ranging from mangoes, avacadoes, star fruits, passion fruits, coconuts, as well as tropical flowers. The deluxe multi-storey rooms face an exquisite Balinese gardens as well as a landscaped swimming pool with sunken bar.
Matahari Bungalows' Balinese Garden

One can find & enjoy quite solitude & tranquility in the woody & shady Balinese garden.

Share quite moments with the birds, bees, butterflies, crickets and other creatures of Mother Nature.

Kuta Beach at Sunset

A group of westerners presumably Australians relaxing & chatting while waiting for sunset over Kuta Beach.

Poppies Lane 2

This is the place for shopping all kinds of equipment for sea sports, surf boards, scuba equipment, snorkels, swim gear as well as for food, clothing & souvenirs.

The entire Poppies Lane 1 & 2 are lined with little shops selling all kinds of stuff.

The two Poppies Lane connect Jalan Legian to Kuta Beach.

Kuta Beach
Bali's Happening place, the 8-kilometre long Pantai Kuta or Kuta Beach.

Every kind of beach-related activity can be found in Kuta Beach. At sundown throngs of people gathered along the beach to relax & re-charge themselves whilst waiting & watching for the sun to set.

The Night Peace Was Shattered in Bali: October 12 2002

Close-up of Bali Memorial
The names of the 202 people who were killed in the two fatal bombings detonated by suicide
bombers are displayed in the plaque. One hundred & sixty four were foreign nationals of whom Australians comprised the majority, that is, 88. Thirty eight were Indonesian citizens.
Another 209 were injured.
The Bali Bombings Memorial
The Memorial is sited in the middle of Legian Street next to the Sari Club where most of the deaths took place. Along the same street close by in the 4 O' Clock direction from this photo is the site of the former Paddy's Bar. The first of the three bombs were triggered off by a backpacked suicide bomber inside the Bar.

The Site of Sari Club
This rather dreary & ghastly weed-filled site was once-upon-a-time a very boisterous bar-cum-pub known as Sari Club. Most of the Bali bombings fatalities comprised patrons of the Club as well as by-standers outside along Jalan Legian. The second but deadiest bomb exploded about 15 seconds after the first smaller bomb placed inside a back-pack inside Paddy's Bar close by.
Part of the site is now a motor cycle parking lot.

The site of former Paddy's Bar
This was the site of Paddy's Bar. It is known as Resto Tapas Lounge. This first bomb was detonated inside the bar by a sucide bomber at about 23:05 October 12 2002. The second bomb, a massive one placed inside a Mitsubishi van parked in front of Sari Club nearby was detonated 15 seconds later after patrons from Paddy's Bar spilled onto Jalan Legian. A third much smaller bomb was detonated in front of the US Consulate at Denpasar the provincial capital of Bali. There was little damage caused by the third bomb.

Ground Zero, Bali
This marked the spot where a meter-deep crater was formed by the powerful bomb placed inside a Mitsubishi van parked in front of Sari Club. It was detonated by a suicide bomber.
The van was also rigged to detonate by remote control using a cell phone in case the suicide bomber had a change of heart or mind.
The starred pavement stone lies, quite unintrusively, along the busy Jalan Legian.
Unlike the stars in Hollywood's Walk of Fame the star here symbolised infamy & shameless killings of innocent men & women. There were ordinary people who worked, struggled & suffered in vain.
"Imagine.....Nothing to kill or die for. Imagine all the people. Living life in peace" John Lennon