Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Adventures to Tirta Empul... and America!

Last night I left a banana out on the patio table of our hotel so I could get a good look at one of the many monkeys who frequent our hotel in the morning!  It worked, although I didn't have my camera settings right before I snapped away, so this is the only decent photo I have.

Anyone out there a fan of Anthony Bourdain's TV show NO RESERVATIONS, where he visits places all around the world and samples various foods?  Well, he visited Bali a while back and went to THIS exact place where we had lunch today!

Turns out, after watching the episode a couple minutes before writing this blog, I realized that not only did A and I sit at the exact same table he did when he filmed the show, but we ordered the SAME thing!  ... and  no we didn't get sick after eating this - only by the grace of God and the fact that Korea has made our stomach's strong as steel with all the spices they use there!

Here's part of the episode if you wanna check it out.

After lunch, we jumped on the scooter and headed 18 kilometers north east, through palm tree covered 1 lane roads...

...that wound through tiny rural villages decorated for Galungan...

and more stunning rice fields...

 to check out Pura Tirtha Empul, built in 926 AD and famous for it's natural hot springs and it's holy water, which Balinese people come to purify themselves in. 

Don't forget your free sarong!

These are the two bathing areas.  There were some Balinese people, along with some foreigners, bathing in the larger pool, and then a woman and her daughter doing some sort of ritual including flowers, bottling of the water, prayers and bathing in this more private pool tucked behind the larger one.

The hot springs were pretty cool. There was a temple worker scooping up all of the green film on the top of the water and throwing it over the wall here, nearly hitting people every time he slung it over!  I could have sat there and watched, all day, as people unassumingly walked by and got slimed with this nasty green goo being hurled over the wall!  lol 

The pools were stunning in themselves, but the Balinese people bathing in the water, who believe to actually be bathing in holy water, was a really special thing to watch. 

We ended our temple adventure with a walk through the market back to the scooter. 

We had such a great drive back to Ubud and stopped along the way to see how the smaller villages were decorated for the big festival!

We even saw these guys running down the street with their 200 pound pig, which will soon become their main dish for the galungan festival.... ouch!

Just in case you wanted another look.... sad

We decided to drive west to see the sunset over the ayung river...

... which you have to hike 400 steps down too.  We got about 1/2 way and realized there wasn't going to be much of a sunset since it was an overcast and cloudy day and turned around and hiked back up.  You can't tell, but we're about 20 stories above those rice terraces down below at this point.

On our way back up the steps we ran into this guy who had deflated a whitewater raft (from a whitewater rafting trip) and was carrying it up all 400 stairs to take it back to his office... and he does this TWICE a day!  We also spotted this foreign couple riding on a scooter with no helmets while the woman breastfed her baby!  LOL Only in Ubud!

We left Ubud the next morning (sad!!!) and headed to Seminyak Beach, which is UBER touristy, but the Galungan Festival (Bali's biggest festival of the year) begins in 2 days and it's also the day we need to get to the airport and we were worried we wouldn't be able to get a taxi to the airport from Ubud, since most Hindu's are at home all day with their family.  So, with our feet dragging behind us, we'll sadly headed to Seminyak.... Luckily, we found a FANTASTIC deal on and got 60% off a room at Arana Suite!

We LOVED this place and barely left, except to attempt to do a little shopping.

The next day we caught a flight from Denpasar to Hong Kong and had a 6 hour layover, which we spent in the airport.  Then we went from Hong Kong to Korea and spent 24 hours back in Busan, eating Dolsut Bi Bim Bap, picking up our luggage from my school and bidding farewell to the only place we've called home for 4 years, then, we took a flight from Busan to Shanghai and spent 24 hours in Shanghai.  We had great intentions of checking out Qibao, but I was really sick, so we stayed in the hotel the whole 24 hours... sad.  Then, the next morning we flew straight from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

That's 5 countries and 5 flights in 5 days! 
 ... and alas, after 4 years, we're home in America for good!  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Becoming a Silversmith!

We're back home in America, but I'm behind on my blogging, so this is gonna be backdated a little...

So, the day before we left Ubud, Aaron and I headed to Wayan's house, the owner of Chez Monique, a local jewelry store in the heart of Ubud for a little silver jewelry making class! :)

The silver making classes are actually held at his family compound where he shares land with his parents, uncle, brothers and sisters.

Here he is, Wayan, the man himself (on the left)!  He is an incredibly talented silversmith and his silver making classes are the top attraction in Ubud according to  The guy on the right is  Wayan's uncle, who's home / traditional kitchen are right across from Wayan's front patio, where the class takes place.

Aaron decided he wanted to make a silver pendant, as a surprise, for a very special lady in his family.  She loves the outdoors, so when Aaron saw a necklace design with a tree and some mountains he thought it would be perfect for her. The next step was to draw it out, exactly how he wanted it to look. So, he and I sat down and drew different designs, over and over again until we found one we loved. :) 

I can't show you the final product because she'll be reading this and we don't wanna ruin the surprise completely now do we, but you can get a little sneak peak of it on the right!  Aaron didn't stop at the pendant!  He also made me a hammered silver ring (left) that I can wear whenever we're traveling and wanna keep my engagement ring at home in the safe! 

It was so fun to see him getting so crafty!  I helped a little, by holding the silver down while he hammered it.

Oh, and I cut the silver for the design on the pendant. :)  After everything was ready, we handed it over to Wayan's assistant silversmith, who soldered everything together.  

But before we handed it over, Aaron stamped the pendant with a little <3 a="" amp="" i="" j=""> and a <3 a="" i=""> on the inside of my new ring!

Here's my ring, getting all circled up and soldered together!

We had such a fun day becoming silversmiths and getting some one of a kind handmade silver jewelry to take home with us!  If you're ever in Ubud, make sure to look Wayan up and take his class!  It's definitely worth your while!

Ubud Water Palace Dance!

We were on our way home from Sari Organik when we rode past the Ubud Water Palace and I snuck a peak through a tiny passageway between Starbucks and Cafe Lotus and noticed that it was all lit up! 10 seconds later we were parked and heading for a vanilla latte at Starbucks and a view of the Palace at night. Can you believe this place?!

As it would turn out, the Palace was closed for a traditional Legong dance performance, but the side door from Starbucks led right into the Palace courtyard and nobody seemed to mind that we were heading out of it... so, we got to enjoy a traditional dance in the Palace courtyard for FREE with our Starbucks in hand!  Ready for photo overload?!  I was a bit snap happy.  It was mesmerizing, magical, sooo professional, colorful, deeply historical and cultural and different than anything I'd ever seen before. The way they moved their fingers, feet and eyes were pretty incredible... and the live music!  WOW!  Just WOW!

I did a SUPER crop so you could see how their fingers are all funky looking.  These girls start training when they're 5 years old to be this type of dancer, and I'm pretty sure their fingers are broken in order for them to look like this for the dance.  OUCH!

Guess who got to go up on stage and take their picture with them?!  Oh yea!

Tomorrow I'll continue on with some other adventures in Ubud, but between whitewater rafting, Sari Organik, and this, that's enough of a picture overload for today!