Sunday, 18 October 2009

there's a hole in my...tree? there is at bunut bolong!

Sunday 18th October 2009

so i heard about this tree, that's supposed to have a hole right through the middle of it where cars can pass through. hmmm, really? this was something worth checking out. the fact that aforementioned tree is in Negara district didn't bother me at all. an hour and 45 minutes later on my humble little moped i was beginning to wonder whether it was worth it, when at the turn of the bend...the tree came into sight...bunut bolong. bunut is a kind of fig tree and bolong means hole in bahasa bali - so the name means hole in the fig tree. and it was rather a spectacular vision. the tree itself was huge, with its gnarled roots creating a beautiful tunnel that in my childhood would have been the perfect place to create secret worlds and fantastical hideouts. from there it stetched its branches way up into the sky and it was very quiet, very peaceful...a calmness around it that felt quite comforting, this tree that embraces the road with a temple on either side of it. and sure enough, just about everything was passing through, motorbikes, people, dogs...and the best bus loads of tourists piling out of their giant coaches...snapping their photos and then bussing off to the next location on the list of 'must-see's'. it was just me...and a tree...and oh, what a tree!

Bunut Bolong,
Manggisari, Negara

Friday, 16 October 2009

pura tirta empul...temple of the holy water

Friday 16th October 2009
in Tampaksiring, there's a temple named Tirta Empul. tirta empul means water that comes from the earth naturally. And until this day Balinese still believe in the miraculous healing powers of the water. i have wanted to visit this temple for a long time because i have heard so much about it and it totally lived up to expectations...apart from the inevitable troupes of tourists, i found this temple a haven of peace and calm, with the sound of the running water into the baths a great soothing for the soul. the gardens are lovely surrounding the temple and you are not bothered by people selling sarongs, trying to be your guide but instead left to wander at your own pace and take in the beautiful, calming energy of a very special temple.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

it's galungan again...

Wednesday 14th October 2009
on the road for galungan and every village is a beautiful display of colour and decoration as each home puts up their penjor to celebrate this special time.

The penjor is a tall, curved bamboo pole decorated with coconut leaves with an offering at the base. This is one of the media used by Hindus in Bali as part of almost every important ceremony, especially for the anniversary temple celebrations.
The Sri Jaya Kasunu manuscript states that the penjor symbolizes the mountain and the mountain itself is the symbol of the universe. Therefore, for the Balinese the penjor is synonymous with Mount Agung, the highest and holiest mountain in Bali.
The aim of erecting penjor at Galungan is to show devotion to God in His manifestation as Hyang Giri Pati (the God of the mountain). Mountains with deep forests hold a lot of water, which flows into rivers. This then fulfils water needs for irrigation and drinking water.
During Galungan celebrations, each family erects a penjor outside their gate, which makes the whole neighborhood look splendid.
The basic material of a penjor is a curved bamboo pole. The pole is then decorated with yellow coconut leaves, pala bungkah (roots - sweet potato or cassava), pala gantung (fruit - cucumbers, oranges, bananas), pala wija (cereal - rice, corn), plawa (leaves), traditional cakes, 11 Chinese coins, and a small shrine with some offerings.
All materials for a penjor constitute peoples' basic needs, signifying that we should take care of those things.
Selamat Hari Raya Galungan dan Kuningan bagi teman-teman yang merayakannya...yang jauh dan yang dekat!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

kintamani...there and back

Tuesday 13th October 2009

Saturday, 10 October 2009

absolut explosive...

Saturday 10th October 2009
ok so when you're out late and you feel yourself fading and like you need a bit of extra juice to help you go the extra mile and last the know that this stuff is gonna do the trick and give you that injection of power you need. not yet available on the general market but available at all good roadsides in Bali...

the red sign translates as 'your love is not as pure as my petrol'! absolut explosive...not for the weak-hearted! get yourself some NOW!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

twin sons of different mothers...

Wednesday 7th October 2009
so, last night i was up in ubud for the opening of an art exhibition at gaya gallery. the exhibition called 'twin sons of different mothers' was by two artists - one balinese and one irish who have come together to share with us this amazing stimulation of the senses through both 2D and 3D installations, sound, scent and music. i was awed by the richness of the colours that greeted me with every blink of the eye and particularly felt so proud to be a woman as the many paintings of the female form danced, paraded, gazed, peeked, flirted and blushed at me from their places on the wall. this one below being my particular favourite...

the show runs from 6th to 30th October so if you are up in the Ubud area you should definitely drop in to take a look. if nothing else, but to feel that you are being given this rare opportunity to catch the tiniest glimpse into the great mystery of women and perhaps come away a little wiser for it and also to share in private moments like a bride dancing as if no-one is watching, someone returning home, two dancers surrounded by the energy and soul of their music...there are many beautiful moments. certainly not to be missed...

Monday, 5 October 2009

long, lazy boulevards...

Monday 5th October 2009

on my recent trip to Singaraja, a few weeks ago, one of the things i particularly enjoyed about the small city were the many long boulevards throughout the city. they gave such a feel of an old european city. add to this some very old dutch architecture, due to the fact that back in the day it was the Dutch colonial administrative centre, and you have a little city that is steeped in history, tradition, a melting pot of cultures and a quiet sleepy atmosphere that makes you feel like you wanna cruise along those lazy boulevards forever...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

variety is the spice of life...

Sunday 4th October 2009
there's nothing i love to see more when i'm walking around a local market than a big basket of ripe red chillies. and of course there's no condiment i love more than a nice big squirt of chilli sauce on anything and just about everything. i am addicted to the stuff and if the truth be told it has probably forever ruined my taste buds as since becoming highly addicted to the delightful chilli i find it hard to eat anything that is not super-flavourful unless it has a big blob of chilli sauce on or somewhere near by. chilli truly makes the taste buds explode with such intensity that you either love it or hate it. i fall into the former category and life without chilli is a life without excitement, adventure and mischief! so i wanted to find out a little more about this huge presence in my gourmet habits...

chilli ; One of the wonders that Christopher Columbus brought back from the New World was a member of the Capsicum genus, the chile. Now this pungent pod plays an important role in the cuisines of many countries including Africa, China (Szechuan region), India, Mexico, South America, Spain and Thailand. There are more than 200 varieties of chiles, over 100 of which are indigenous to Mexico. They vary in length from a huge 12 inches to a 1⁄4-inch peewee. Some are long, narrow and no thicker than a pencil while others are plump and globular. Their heat quotient varies from mildly warm to mouth-blistering hot. A chile's color can be anywhere from yellow to green to red to black. Dried chiles are available year-round. The availability of fresh chiles varies according to the variety and season. Choose those with deep, vivid colors; avoid chiles with any sign of shriveling or soft spots. Fresh chiles can be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. As a general rule, the larger the chile the milder it is. Small chiles are much hotter because, proportionally, they contain more seeds and veins than larger specimens. Those seeds and membranes can contain up to 80 percent of a chile's capsaicin, the potent compound that gives chiles their fiery nature. Since neither cooking nor freezing diminishes capsaicin's intensity, removing a chile's seeds and veins is the only way to reduce its heat. After working with chiles, it's extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly; failure to do so can result in painful burning of the eyes or skin (wearing rubber gloves will remedy this problem). Chiles are used to make a plethora of by-products including chili paste, tabasco sauce, cayenne and the dried red pepper flakes commonly found in pizzerias. Chiles are cholesterol free and low in calories and sodium. They're a rich source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium and vitamin E.

i think under benefits, it might have been important to add one more - general all-round natural body cleanser...after a night of hard-core spicy chilli eating, you sure ain't gonna need to go for no colon cleansing!!

the bearers of baggage...

Saturday 3rd October 2009
ok, so a couple of weeks ago i had a rather strange encounter with someone who thought they could read the very details of your life from a glance at your palms. and who am i to say they couldn't? but he said some things that bothered me for days after. i mean, one thing (of the many spoutations and declarations) he told me was that i am carrying baggage! baggage? BAGGAGE! i mean come on...please someone find me a single soul on this planet who is NOT carrying baggage. i think you would be hard pushed to find such a person because from the minute we are born, no, conceived in the womb, we are already carrying baggage. we are carrying the baggage of all those who have gone before us, our parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents and so on down the bloodline back to the very beginnings of who we are. whether we realise it or not we are carrying that baggage. we are all constantly making up for the sins of our forefathers in some way or other. it sounds absolutely suffocating when you look at it like that...but let's face it, it's the truth. no one is born free from who they are and where they have come from. no matter how hard we try to run away from it. at some point it will always catch up with when you meet a stranger and he proceeds to tell you (as he tries to read your palm) that you're carrying 'baggage'...think about it...