Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Follow the Leader

b01So we drove our rented motorbike home to our Bali Bungalow in the dark for the first time tonight. The place we’re staying – the Alam Sari is about 10km outside of Ubud – which by Balinese terms is the boonies via unlit twisting and turning roads, hills, bridges, expanses of rice fields and choruses of chirpy things calling from the jungle that reaches toward the roadway.

Hence, even though my belly was full of a great Japanese meal suggested by and enjoyed with Larry and Rai – I approached the adventure with a bit of trepidation. The early part of the ride was no trouble through the well lit streets and with the traffic of Ubud. But, as we got further from the city the darkness became a canopy and the sporadic oncoming traffic blinded me with bouncing beams of light. Then, just as we made the turn near the temple that prefaced the most daunting portion of our ride another magical Balinese event.

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A duck whisperer leads his weed and bug eating flock through a rice paddy.

It seems there was a festival going on at this particular temple and a procession of several dozen folks on foot attired in traditional dress were headed there. In order for the folks to safely make the journey a team of sarong attired men with torches was keeping traffic at bay. So we cued up behind the parade, first one, then three then a dozen or two motorbikes all waiting until the procession turned into the temple courtyard them we were flagged on to continue our journeys. Here’s the magic part. As we took off, the string of motorbikes stretched forward like a strand of Christmas lights extending before us. I could see every twist in the road before me as if candles floating down a river. Then one after another a bike would pull off until one lone rider was before us, and he carried on as we safely arrived home.

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Coming home from school.

Today we motor biked south to a village known for its silversmiths where Sara picked up a few things and then to a batik co-op where I scored a couple shirts. We navigated via map by finding our intended destinations and then discerning the general direction, putting the map away and using a compass to keep us on track as we wended our way. We are so enjoying the freedom of traveling the side roads and alleyways.

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Women doing batik at the co-op

While walking around the silver village we both accidently stepped in some dog poop. I don’t know why folks say they accidently step in dog poop – I doubt anyone steps in dog poop on purpose. But anyway, after doing so we headed down an alley to look for some water to wash off our flip flops. There are aqueducts all over the place that feed the water from the mountains into the rice fields. As we wandered down this alley we came across a tiny little silver shop that we would have never found otherwise and Sara got some great prices on some earrings and a ring – plus the proprietor fed us some of her home made rice flour bread.

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Sara and the Jewelry maker.

Tomorrow we meet up with Larry and Rai again – this time to motor to a black sand beach. I’m sure something or other will happen and by the way things have been going it’ll most likely turn out good.

mns

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