On September 14, my dear friend Christina arrived in Jakarta all the way from Oakland, CA!! Before she knew about my travel plans after India, she had already booked a trip to Bali and when she realized where I’d be she asked me to join her. The trip was also to celebrate her birthday, and after our time there, I can honestly say it is the BEST birthday celebration I’ve ever been a part of!
We left for Bali on Sunday, September 16, and our first few days we spent in Seminyak, which is one of the many beach towns along South Bali. We stayed at a small homestay called Teka Teki which means “puzzle” in Bahasa. Sort of ironic, since we were very puzzled when we showed up and there was no one to greet us or show us to our room. It was quite nerve-racking since we had quite a difficult time finding the place on our taxi ride from the airport. One challenging feature of a lot of the roads is that they are too narrow for cars to drive down – only motorbikes can get through. After a stressful arrival, we made it here:
And then we went to dinner at a local restaurant and had some delicious Balinese food!
The next 2 days were filled with time at the beach and shopping at the various boutiques around town. On Tuesday night, we went to a very popular restaurant called Ku De Ta. The thing to do is have drinks on the beach to watch the sunset and then have dinner. We did it all and it was amazing!
On Wednesday, we moved to another town in Bali called Ubud. This town is known for its rich Balinese culture and various activities. Around Ubud are temples, ancient sites and villages producing handicrafts. There are also a surrounding countryside with lush rice paddies and towering coconut trees. We spent our first few days in Ubud at this homestay:
On Thursday, we woke up early for a Balinese cooking class at Warung Enak with our awesome cooking teacher Rai Sri.
The class started with a visit to the local market. It was quite busy when we got there at 7:15am. These photos are merely an attempt to capture some of what we saw:
We then went back to the restaurant and started to make a 7-course meal. Here was the menu:
*Grated Cassava Filled with Palm Sugar
*West Javanese Spicy Fruit Salad, with guava, mango, pineapple & cucumber
*Manduranese Chicken Broth with shredded cabbage, bean sprout & boiled egg
*Poached Trevally in Spiced Herb Broth of lemongrass, ginger, chilli, pandan, & lime kaffir leaf
*Duck Satay Lilit
*Fermentation Rice & Cassava on Passion fruit caulis & shredded young coconut
*Boiled Flour with Palm Sugar inside, tossed with grated coconut
Needless to say we were STUFFED beyond belief by the end of the class!! We decided to walk back towards the hotel, and along the way we stumbled across a funky art museum belonging to the artist known simply as Symon. We got to chat with him for a few minutes and he was quite the interesting fellow. Here is a brief description that has been written about the artist:
“Symon has lived in Bali since 1978 and is best known for his bold portraits of Balinese people, done in vivid tropical colours and often to an exaggerated scale, as in his series of Big Heads. His energetic and sometimes whimsical take on Balinese life and landscapes makes a refreshing change from the more sedate traditional views so popular with many other Ubud artists.”
Here are some snapshots of the space and some of my favorite paintings. For more info, you can check out his website at: www.symonstudios.com.
Here are some other things we saw along our walk:
And that wraps up the first half of our time in Bali. Next post will be about week 2!!