Bells and Whistles

Honestly, I find Balinese dance a little opaque, but I love me some gamelan music.  A gamelan is a Balinese or Javanese musical ensemble featuring metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes, and strings.  The term “gamelan” refers to the set of instruments, and each gamelan is a separate, set entity, constructed and tuned as an … Continue reading

Déjà Vubud

One of my favorite things about Bali is the way gardening, painting, dancing, dress, music, food, farming, everyday life, and even the tourist industry feed off each other.  Balinese garden and painting aesthetics have developed in tandem for years—frangipani and hibiscus trees, lily pads, and birds of paradise are frequent sightings in Ubud gardens and … Continue reading

An Asia Foodie: Ubud Edition

It’s not Bali’s fault that it’s sandwiched on my itinerary between my 2 favorite food places of all time – Hong Kong and Malaysia.  However, it’s hard to get excited by menu after menu of nasi goreng, mie goreng, random salads, pasta, and pizza.  I’ve had very good food outside of KAFE, but other restaurants … Continue reading

Canang Sari

Canang sari are offerings placed on the street and doorstops each morning by Balinese Hindus.  “Sari” means essence, and “canang” is the name for the square coconut-leaf basket the offerings are placed in.  Typically, canang sari are composed of money, young palm leaves, flowers, food (rice, cookies, and candies are typical in Ubud), and incense.  … Continue reading

A Beach Town without a Beach

A town whose busiest street is named Monkey Forest Road is going to be a lovely and unique place, which is exactly what Ubud, a land-locked town on the Indonesian island of Bali, is.  Each of my days in Bali has begun with a simple breakfast paddy- or pool-side: fresh fruit salad of pineapple, papaya, … Continue reading

Monkey Tales

A part of my novel involves the Southeast Asia great ape, the orangutan.  I came face to face with an adult male orangutan 7 years ago in Borneo, and have been fascinated with orangutans ever since. Sunday night I went to see a Balinese kecak dance.  The kecak is a Balinese interpretation of a story … Continue reading