Rediscovering Ubud

Wednesday 2 July 2008 – Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Unusual artwork of eggshells and an agarve in Ubud
Unusual artwork of eggshells and an agarve in Ubud

Feeling much better. After breakfast I walked up the path opposite the hotel, past a magnificent Banyan tree and through the edge of the Monkey Forest from Bali Spirit to Jalan Hanuman (aka Monkey Forest Road, the main drag through Ubud).

The main art museum, Puri Lukisan, was undergoing renovations, but even so, the poor lighting and lack of climate control makes it both a dreary experience and one that surely cannot survive long-term. The works appear dull and dirty and many of the frames are warped. In galleries where work was being done, paintings were simply stacked on the floor, not boding well for the standards of conservation for this significant collection.

I found my old favourite café, now called Café Kita, on Jalan Hanuman, set back from the street among the rice fields. Food not as good as I recall now, apparently more Chinese/Indonesian than Thai influenced.

Footpaths in the valley below Bali Spirit
Footpaths in the valley below Bali Spirit

Had a Mandu Rempah at Bodyworks. A lad gave a firm body massage then exfoliated my skin with a spicy rubdown containing turmeric, followed by a thorough marination in a yoghurt mixture. Finally a spice-and-flower filled bath. Wonderful.

An effigy for the forthcoming cremation ceremony in Ubud
An effigy for the forthcoming cremation ceremony in Ubud

Preparations are underway (as they always seem to be in Ubud) for a big cremation ceremony in mid-July, after my departure. Huge bamboo towers, effigies of animals and mythical creatures and other paraphernalia are being constructed all over the district.

An effigy for the forthcoming cremation ceremony in Ubud
An effigy for the forthcoming cremation ceremony in Ubud

In the evening I saw a good Legon and Borong dance performance at the Ubud Palace. The din of a 24 piece gamelan orchestra drowned out the chatter of tourists and even the traffic noise.

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