2014 – animal memories

From bats, cats, snakes, iguanas and monkeys – and back to cats again…

First up is Jojo.  We’ve had him since he was a kitten and he’s now about 2.5 years old.

Everyone loves him – I’m sure you can see why!  Scroll down to the last picture to see Jojo and our other cat, Jj, curled up together.


Jojo and me overlooking our garden

Meanwhile, here are some more unusual animals I met last year… this must be the granddaddy of all iguanas:



Most of these pictures were taken at a very interactive animal home up in Bedugul – I can’t call it a zoo, as it’s far too small, but it does have some cool, tame, animals – and a giant fruit bat:

'Holy bat cave, Robin'

‘Holy bat cave, Robin’

I’ve no idea what animal this is – anyone know?  (please, no comments about me using him as a toothpick!)

Here he is again:

And then there was this hungry gentleman on my shoulders:

A hungry Luwak - but no coffee today!

A hungry luwak – but no coffee today!

He’s a luwak and they’re famous for ‘Coffee Luwak’.

Yes, these are the animals that eat the choicest of coffee beans which go through their digestive system completely ‘intact’.  When they come out the other end, the, err… ‘waste’ is scrapped off and the beans are taken from the shell and made into the most expensive coffee in the world! = Coffee Luwak or, as it is called over here, ‘Kopi Luwak’ (they have this in Vietnam too and it’s called Weasel Coffee – the luwak comes from the weasel family, I believe).

Anyway, here he is again:


No, there are no coffee beans in my hair, Mr Luwak

What about this sizeable snake – worn as a necklace!



I’m pretty sure it’s a python… keep it away from this little cutie:


Cutie – but are they porcupine quills on your head?

And what about this snake-like reptile, called an Alu:

Snake-like lizard

Snake-like lizard/reptile = Alu

And here’s that iguana again – my what a long tail you have!

Fully grown iguana

Fully grown granddaddy of an iguana

Here I’m feeding the fish – at our nearby restaurant!

Bale Udang has many bale’s (like gazebo’s) perched on top of a lake and that is where you dine – on fish.  If you have a little spare rice left over from your meal you can feed it to the carp swimming directly beneath you:  Eat fish, feed fish = balance.

Feeding the fish - at a restaurant

Feeding the fish – at a restaurant

And now I’m feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest which is just 8 mins walk from my home – so close that, on rare occasions, the monkeys venture into my garden – they eat the leaves from my papaya tree but, luckily, they leave me with the fruit!

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

And here, as promised, is Jojo and JJ in perfect harmony:

Jojo and Jj - in perfect harmony

Jojo and Jj – in perfect harmony

A perfect way to end a post.

Last nights at Napi Orti

The characterful and much loved music bar, Napi Orti, in Monkey Forest Road has finally closed its doors.

After 11 years its time is up.

Napi Urti bar

Last orders at Napi Urti

Yes, there are plenty of other great music bars in Ubud, but Napi’s was unique and a personal favourite.

Photo’s of legends from Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Jim Morrison through to Einstein hung… mostly from the ceilings – as there was only 1 wall at Napi.

Legends on the ceiling

Legends on the ceiling

Local art, hanging palm leaf decorations, flags and a fish tank all lit up by twinkling lights.  Comfy cushions in the no shoes area, the VIP cocktail promoted by mushrooms (of course) and a golden tree not to mention a candle lit entrance – surely there’s never been a cooler bar than this.

Yaniq and Aria gave Napi Orti the thumbs up

Yaniq and Aria gave Napi Orti the thumbs up

In true style Napi Orti went out with 2 bangs!

Thurs 4 Dec was the first of two closing night parties and Yaniq jammed with Griya Faria, blending his rock guitar sound into their reggae.

Yaniq with Dedoeng's guitar

Yaniq with Dedoeng’s guitar

That first night was more like a mini festival… Kum & friends played first, then Abu’s band followed by Griya Faria who reggaed the house along with their original singer, and Napi’s owner, Made, taking control of the mic alongside Bawa

Made and Bawa in fine reggae voice

Made and Bawa in fine reggae voice

and, later on, with Kum joining in again.

Kum laughing as he sings, with Yaniq on guitar

Kum laughing as he sings, with Yaniq on guitar

On the Friday night Abu’s band rocked the final night away.

Abu's band on the final night

Abu’s band on the final night

I feel lucky and happy to have had so many great nights of fantastic live music in such a welcoming and cool atmosphere – I’m gonna miss my local bar, but at least I can still get my rock and reggae music in Laughing Buddha, LOL, CP Lounge, XL, Bamboo, Jazz Cafe and Lezat etc.,

What big eyes you have

What big eyes you have Aria

Also, Made is opening a new Napi Orti bar in Jalan Jembawan and says he’ll have music there once or twice a month – he’s also planning to find another even more central home for the bar in future – so watch this space about Napi Orti’s reincarnation! (update, he has now opened a new Napi Orti in Jln Jembawan).

How many drummers have played in front of a fish tank

How many drummers have played in front of a fish tank

Meanwhile, here are more pics from the 2 closing night parties… were you there?

Miyoshi in the groove

Miyoshi in the groove

Marieka & Mila - cheers

Marieka & Mila – cheers

Yaniq with WayanYaniq and Wayan

Pellegrino capturing the moment

Pellegrino capturing the moment

Tea time

Tea time for Aria

You drink it Tess and I'll play it

You drink it Tess and I’ll play it


Ohhhhhh Myoshi and Jube where’s your video camera?

Happy at NapiMe and Yaniq

Dito - with a new hat

Dito – with a new cool hat

Hey what happen to your hand

Hey what happen to your hand

The other Julie

The other Julie


Cheers Made

Golden tree at Napi Orti

Golden tree at Napi Orti

View while in the queue for the loo

View while in the queue for the loo

Statue at the bottom of the steps

Statue at the bottom of the steps

VIP Cocktail

VIP Cocktail

Says it all really

One Love – says it all really


Cheers and thanks to Napi Orti!

Napi Orti

Napi Orti

Gede & Ari’s wedding – Kintamani style

Gede, who’s been working for me for over 2 years, got married to Ari on 29 Oct 2014.

Many Congratulations!!!

The double ceremony, with Gede’s cousin Wayan and Sugiani, started early in the morning next to Gede’s family home up in the cooler mountains of Kintamani.

Praying in the open air

Praying in the open air

Below the couple are balancing offerings… Gede on the back of his hands, Ari in the palms of her hands.  Seconds later they tossed them over their heads – with the help of guiding fingers that you can just see holding Gede’s arms.

In fact all through this ceremony, called Mekalakalan, the bride and groom have people standing right close up behind them, doubtless to keep them safe.  However these guardians at their backs must be younger than the bride and groom.

One of many rituals

One of many rituals

The next thing to be tossed over their heads was a small chicken which was caught by a lucky guest (in England the bride throws a bouquet of flowers and whoever catches it is supposed to get married next – makes me wonder how many countries have similar customs?).

Soon it was time for purification which involved taking some clothes off, Gede had his back washed while he washed Ari’s back.  I asked Gede if he was okay about me using this photo… he was pleased as it shows his local traditions (which are different from other Balinese weddings I’ve been to).



Purified, they put on fresh clothes – right there at the side of the street.

This Mekalakalan ceremony, took place in Abang village – literally on the street running alongside lake Batur, inside the volcanic caldera.

Mekalakalan Ceremony

Mekalakalan Ceremony

Now they are about to kick the past away… the offerings are taken away from the makeshift table, that’s been held up by family members throughout the ceremony and together, as one, the couple kick backwards at the legs of the table, which topples over.

They walk away from it and don’t look back.

Kicking the past away

Kicking the past away – with Mount Batur in the background

We all head back to the house, but before the couple can enter a ceremony has to be performed by the Mangku (Priest)

A ceremony before entering

A ceremony before entering

At the entrance (photo above) you can just see the Balinese greeting ‘Om Swastyastu’ written in letters of the alphabet.  Below, you can see it again written in Balinese Aksara.

Look closely and you can also see the swastika… used for literally thousands of years as a positive symbol of good luck, strength etc. (a perfect testament on how things that can be good one day can be perceived differently, by different peoples, the next day – maybe in a similar way that the ‘lower gods’ of today could become the ‘higher gods’ of tomorrow, which is why offerings are given to both, i.e. offerings are placed on the ground and up high too – maybe you might have to be here in Bali to ‘get’ that?  Anyway, Gede was visibly shocked when I explained that many people, in the west, associate the swastika with such opposite emotions as it is perceived here).

Om Swastyastu

Om Swastyastu

Inside there’s a feast ready to feed an army (they’d printed 300 wedding invitations but it was not enough – that’s a lot of mouths to feed).

And of course there was a huge number of offerings for both couples, who had to spend the first night, right here, in front of the offerings – to connect with God as much as with each other:



And now another change of clothes including earrings and make-up for the couple

Just let me fix that for you

Just let me fix that for you

Don’t they look stunning:

Gede and Ari in traditional Balinese wedding outfits

Gede and Ari in traditional Balinese wedding outfits

We all get in cars, or in the back of open pick-up trucks, and head up to the temple at Abang Songan.  The ice cream seller does a brisk trade outside the temple gates – I choose a wafer cone, but the most popular choice is to have ice cream in a bread roll.

Outside the temple at Abang Songan

Outside the temple at Abang Songan

A number of Mangkus arrive and one of them is Pasek’s uncle who I’ve met many times (Pasek built my house):

Me with the Mangku

Me with the Mangku (Priest)

Here the two couples are sitting down inside the temple just before this part of the ceremony is about to start.  The guests and the Priests sit on the floor too – we’re all barefoot.

The two couples inside the temple

The two barefoot couples inside the temple

The happy couple posing in front of a family temple at a Mangku’s house in the village

Posing in front of a family temple

Posing in front of a Mangku’s family temple

And below are an assortment of other pictures from the 2 days that I was there (the first day for the ceremony and the 2nd day for the reception)

Nyoman, Gede’s father, takes center stage in this picture and Teddy, who used to work at Rumah Jepun too, is right next to him and on the far left is Wayan, the other groom:

Wedding guests, including Gede’s mum on the right and next to her is Sugiani, the other bride from this double wedding

I took this photo as the couples walked through the village, from the Pura (temple) to the Mangku’s house:

Here are some family members, she has a great smile and he has a regal bearing, don’t you think?:












Me with the happy couple:

Just about to pray:This is my favourite picture of Gede and Ari:

Although this is a great picture too:

And one showing them feeding each other (I love this part of the ceremony… feeding each other from the basket of love):

Let’s finish with this fabulous professional picture which was used for the wedding invitations:Congratulations and I wish both couples every happiness – or, as Yaniq would put it, ‘Happy in Happiness’!

Oh, and if you want to see more about this area of Kintamani click here: lakeside tranquility overlooking a volcano

Or to see photo’s of other Balinese weddings I’ve blogged about click here: Ketut and Komang and here:  Wayan and Chandra

Happy New Year – Bali Style

Welcome to 1936, yes folks that’s the year according to the Balinese Caka calendar.

And, as usual, a big crowd gathered in Ubud tonight to watch the Ogoh Ogoh’s being paraded from the football field to the Palace, before the dawning of Nyepi Day – the silent day that starts at 6am.

Take a look at these pictures and tell me what you see, other than the fabulous Ogoh monsters themselves – look closely now…

Garuda carrying Vishnu

Garuda carrying Vishnu





Gigantic, red and mean!

Gigantic, red and mean!

Well – did you see the orbs?

By the way, I’ve described Nyepi in more detail in a previous blog post which you can read here, meanwhile, Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi (Happy New Year)!

Fashion – made from rubbish

Now this really is a different way to re-cycle…

Turn that trash into fabulous fashion!  A great concept, and one that pulled a big crowd at Delicious Onion, Ubud on Saturday.

The organiser and host of this Trash Chic Fashion Show, Alexa, wore extremely colourful garbage and had a train of broken, old, flip flops trailing behind her as she walked.

Trash Chic Fashion Show host, Alexa

Trash Chic Fashion Show host, Alexa

Still on the wedding theme, here we have a wedding dress made from Bali Advertisers!

Wedding dress made out of the Bali Advertiser

Wedding dress made out of the Bali Advertiser

How about using an old fan as a rather cute hat:

One way to keep a cool head!

One way to keep a cool head!

Her dress was made from inside-out rice sacks ‘sewn’ together with inner tubes!

What about this next one – just purrfect… all dressed-up in kitty food packaging (presumably washed before being worn!):

Outfit made from cat food packaging

Outfit made from cat food packaging

And here they used frangipani flowers for the Balinese style headdress and made the dress itself from offerings:

This man really put his back into it…

Who got your back up?

Who got your back up?

Thanks for putting Ubud’s first Trash Chic Fashion Show together Alexa!

Click here for the last fashion show I went to in Ubud – complete with Edward Scissorhands!

White Water Rafting

Vince and his friend Andy came to stay with us and we went White Water Rafting together.

Life jackets, helmets, paddles, sense of adventure… Ready!

All geared up to go rafting

All geared up to go rafting

Actually, no.  Not ready yet.

First we have to walk down 400 steps to get to the river which is DEEP down in the valley.

Our great rafting adventure

Our great rafting adventure begins

Our cameras and the guy’s cigarettes are safe in Mega-Rafting’s water-proof bags, so now we can climb into the raft and listen to our guide’s instructions.

Nyoman said if we were about to hit a rock he would yell, ‘Boom Boom” – which meant ‘Hold On!’  We said that phrase a lot over the next two hours.

Rafting with Yaniq, Vince and Andy

Rafting with Yaniq, Vince and Andy – Boom Boom!

No one fell out, but we did sometimes topple backwards inside the inflatable raft… like insects that can’t right themselves we had to rely on each other for a helping hand.

Fabulous scenery around every bend

Fabulous scenery around every bend

Between the rapids there are plenty of calm waters where you can look up to nature’s jungle scenery on each side of the steep valley, simply breath-taking.

A well deserved beer

A well deserved beer

We had a pit-stop half way along the journey where we enjoyed a cold beer (the women selling the drinks had carried them down 400 steps – is it any wonder they were expensive?).

Yaniq and I at the half way stop

Yaniq and I – chilling on a rock at the half way stop

The rapids here on the Ayung River are grade II or III.  Not the wildest rapids I’ve experienced, but far and away the most beautiful – think: ‘Indiana Jones’, especially when you see the carvings in the rock and go under the steep wooden swing bridge.

It was also the most fun rafting too – especially when our guide slammed us into the waterfall – boom boom!

Hmmm, maybe Yaniq will be inspired to write a song about rafting

Hmmm, maybe Yaniq will be inspired to write a song about rafting – boom boom

We had a waterfight with the crew of another raft and then we jumped out and swam the last section, just as a huge thunderclap shattered the air.

The rafting has ended - let's eat!

The rafting has ended – let’s eat!

Ok, so now we are wet and hungry… easily sorted as Mega Rafting has showers and towels and then they give you a huge plate of food to eat as you sit next to the river.

A great adventure has ended – but now we have to climb up the valley again.  Only 291 steps this time (Andy counted them all).

Rice field walks and volcanic views

I’ve known Dave for years.  We were both in an adventure sports club called Social Pursuits – along with all the rest of you SP’ers!

It was based in London and we regularly went out into the countryside for unusual outdoor activities, but nothing quite like this…

Drinking from coconuts in the rice fields

Drinking from coconuts in the rice fields

Well, we don’t have coconut trees and rice terraces in the UK, so that might explain it.  (Okay, okay, drinking from coconuts while on a rice paddy walk is not adventurous – but it is cool!)

I’d never seen Dave in temple costume before either…

Outside temple gates

Outside temple gates

While we were at Tirta Empul temple he even drank some of the holy water – straight from the spout.

Don't fall in now

Don’t fall in now

on this occassion we didn’t join the Balinese people who were ‘taking the waters’, but here you can just see one of them waist deep in the water

By the lake with hundreds of giant koi carp

Here I’m holding my take-away holy water bottle

We headed up to the volcano for lunch.

Spectacular volcanic scenery

Spectacular volcanic scenery – no it is not a painting!

The lake at the base of the volcano, Mount Batur, is approx 16k long and it, and Mount Batur itself, are inside the super ancient volcanic caldera.

The restaurant we’d just stuffed our faces in, is on the rim of that very old caldera.

Dave inspecting the coffee process

Dave inspecting the coffee process

And then we sipped coffees and teas at a plantation, where they show you the coffee making process as well as cacao (chocolate), cinnamon, ginger, tobacco etc., etc.

Give 'em a good roastin'

Give ‘em a good ole roastin’

Dave roasted the beans as if he had been born to it… I was even going to offer to buy him a colourful hat like the professional bean roaster by his side.

That's gonna hurt if it lands on your head

That’s gonna hurt if it lands on your head

We came back to Ubud via the scenic, picture-postcard, views of the sculptured rice terraces at Tegallalang.

Rice Terrace View

Rice Terrace View

And we popped into the Monkey Forest where my favourite Beringin tree lives.

The tree that grows on both sides of the path

The Beringin tree that grows on both sides of the path

From the smile on his face, I’m expecting to see Dave here again one of these days.

Dave in the rice paddies

Dave in the rice paddies

Maybe this will encourage other SP’ers to come and visit me here in Ubud, Bali – and if you are looking for real adventure, we have plenty of that too – gonna get Dave on the white water rafting, canyoning, cycling, elephant riding or mountain climbing trip next time around!

What’s new at Rumah Jepun

I want to tell you about the 10 latest additions and improvements here at Rumah Jepun – your friendly guest house in tropical Bali… (For availability and room rates please contact: rumahjepun@outlook.com)

The River View Room and Lotus View Room already offered many facilities, but now they also have:

  1. Free wifi – inside your room, as well as on your balcony
  1. A portable fan – available for guests who do not want to use airconditioning
  1. A lush, mature garden which provides the papaya in your tropical fruit platter at breakfast

    Fresh papaya anyone?

    Fresh papaya anyone?

  1. Breakfast is now served at a time to suit you between 8am and 11am

    Flexible breakfast times

    Flexible breakfast times – legendary pancakes!

  1. Our blog: www.rumahjepun.wordpress.com provides lots of information, pictures of the rooms, guests reviews and things to do around Ubud
  1. An extensive information pack in each room helps you get the most out of your holiday here

    Rumah Jepun information pack

    Rumah Jepun information pack

  1. We can recommend, and book, many scenic and cultural tours / activities for you

    Hot about hot springs next to Lake Batur

    How about hot springs by the volcanic Lake Batur

  1. Airport transfers can be arranged, with a friendly, English speaking driver
  1. A Rumah Jepun umbrella is on your balcony for your use – some guests use it as shade from the hot sun!
  1. And we’ve just bought new sunbeds , so you can comfortably (and stylishly) top up that tan while you’re here too

    For lazing in the Bali sunshine

    For lazing in the Bali sunshine

  2. We’ve got new uplights in the garden, making it look even prettier in the warm, balmy nights
  3. And, to top it off… our friendly, helpful staff, Gede and Ketut, have smart new ‘Rumah Jepun’ T. Shirts  – but wait a minute, that’s more than 10 new improvements!

    Gede and Ketut - with a jepun on their T Shirts

    Gede and Ketut – with a jepun on their T Shirts

So now there’s 12 new reasons to stay at Rumah Jepun – a welcoming guest house, offering bed and breakfast at affordable prices in the heart of Ubud on the enchanting, tropical island of Bali.

Rumah Jepun beyond the banana trees

Rumah Jepun beyond the banana trees

We’ve already had many guests from Europe, Australia, America, Asia and beyond.  Their great reviews have resulted in Rumah Jepun being listed as no. 18 out of 234 guest houses in Ubud on TripAdvisor – and we’ve only been listed on it since Nov 2012!

So contact us asap with your holiday dates, just email: rumahjepun@outlook.com

We look forward to welcoming you to Rumah Jepun, Ubud, Bali.

Kind regards

Julie and the Rumah Jepun team…

Pasek, me, Gede and Ketut

Pasek, me, Gede and Ketut on a team night out

For availability and prices please contact: rumahjepun@outlook.com

Spiritual Art expressed as Dance

Diane Butler calls it sharing ‘Awakening Art’.  But what does that mean?

I googled ‘Awakening Art’ and found, unsurprisingly, a range of sites about painting.  They mainly focused upon artwork of a spiritual nature and some of them sprinkled yoga or music into the mix.

But Diane is a dancer at heart and so she uses embodied movement to express and share her art.  It’s a term that other dancers may be familiar with, but I’m not a dancer, or am I?

Goa Gajah - elephant cave

Goa Gajah – Elephant Cave

We met by the lotus pond in the garden of ‘Goa Gajah’ (the Elephant Cave) in Bedulu Village, not far from my home in Ubud.  The surroundings of this atmospheric temple go back to circa 9th century and it is thought to have been two hermitages where Hindu and Buddhist monks had resided side by side.

A small group of us sat on the ground wearing our sarongs.  We introduced ourselves under dappled sunlight while the rest of the jungle spread itself down to the river below.

At this point, I was too focused on our conversation to hear the birds sing.

On the other side of the pond we could see a niche in the cliff above.  This small, bare, south-facing ascetic’s hollow is where meditators from ancient times would do their practice and here we were, in 2013, to engage in own practice right in front of this holy place.

An ascetic or monk, probably lived in that small cave for months or even years, whereas we stayed for just three hours.  Their form of meditation would have been very different and the results, after such long periods, would have been significantly more intense too.

Perfect place for meditation

Perfect place for meditation

I wanted to drink from the same natural spring that these spiritual Balinese ancestors would have used, and I did.  Well, it was right there, convenient for us and those monks of ancient times.  What’s more, it was, ‘Banyu Pinaruh’, a special day in Bali for purifying yourself with water – perfect!

Our surroundings were stunning but we were not tourists.

We were there to use our bodies as moving art, to share, flow, express, learn, be at peace and become one with ourselves, each other and nature.  We were there to utilise energy, to embody movement, to embrace space and to ‘be’ Awakening Art.

Diane, an American movement artist living in Bedulu for the past 12 years, had brought us Balinese canang.  We were to use these offerings of small baskets made of coconut leaves containing coloured flowers and incense, while moving. 

I reached into the bag to take a canang and noticed that it was less perfect than the others.  I could have exchanged it, as there were spare ones available, but I decided to keep it.  It reminded me that everything is perfectly imperfect.

This one is a pretty perfect canang

This one is a pretty perfect canang

Nothing happens until something moves – Albert Einstein

We moved.

In the garden down there in the valley, below the temple, beneath the meditation niche and below the constant supply of fresh and holy water, we moved.

Some more skilled, confident or more graceful than others, not that it mattered.  At first I was very conscious of being looked at by sightseers who didn’t have a clue what we were doing, or why.  Initially I felt embarrassed, but when I overcame that anxiety and gave myself to the moment, and to the movement, it felt liberating.

Sometimes we held the canang, other times the incense was used and its aromatic smoke wafted along the side of the lotus pond.

At one point I held the canang up high.  It remained in my hand, yet to my eye it appeared to take centre stage of a coconut tree.  It was as if the branches of that giant tree were emanating out of this small offering perched on my finger tips.  Slivers of bright blue sky shone through the leaves of both the tree and the canang.  I would never have seen this view without this opportunity to share Awakening Art through embodied movement.

Lowering my arm I moved my hand around to my back where it met my other hand.  I transferred the canang and watched as it appeared from the left side of my body.  It moved fluidly through the air in my hand, now to the left and downwards, now curving back upwards in a slow spiral.

Both the canang and my hand moved through Diane’s outstretched arms and towards someone’s shoulder.  Although we were aware of each other and moved through and past one another, there was no eye contact and only occasional, random, physical contact.  We just kept moving.

Sometimes Diane asked one of us to tap a small piece of tile with a shard while someone else hummed.  All through this ‘musical’ accompaniment participants flowed and embodied movement.  The back of my hand briefly met someone’s upper arm.  Moments later I smelt the incense as a hand moved past my face.

I couldn’t help thinking about how few adults ever get the chance to move in this unfettered way.  Usually the nearest you would get to relative strangers is by accidentally bumping into them on a crowded bus or jostling for position in a queue.

I imagined how professional dancers must practice… let go of their inhibitions about movement, shed their concerns about daily life, purely move where their breath, heart and desires take them.  But I suppose that’s incorrect, as ‘formal dance’ requires set moves and what we were doing was the opposite.  This was open to possibilities of different artistic expression through movement.  It was free of rules, constraints and expectations.  It was even free of charge.

Not only could you place your right elbow on your left shin and leave it there for a moment.  But you could contemplate the relationship between these two points of your body which, quite probably, have never made contact before.  You could see and feel things from new angles, different perspectives.

Me, Diana and Brandon in front of the meditation niche

Me, Diana and Brandon in front of the meditation niche

We sat back down on the ground and, following a conversation about time, Diane advised that some elder Balinese people still know what the time is by the sound of particular birds.  As soon as she said this, I heard them.  The jungle was full of bird song.  But to be so close to nature that you know the time because a certain bird sings, or because of the silence when it stops, well, that’s really something.

She also explained that generally people in the east perceive ‘mind’ as being located in the heart-centre, more than the head.  It made me question my own thinking about the word.  I would have said it has to do with the head… and yet, when I say, ‘I don’t mind’, that comes from my heart, doesn’t it?

This reminded me of my own maxim about, ‘Learning how to unlearn’ (i.e. unlearn all those old ‘truths’ that no longer stack up).

The mosquitoes were getting the better of us, so we decided to move from the peaceful pond to the running river, fed by small waterfalls that spring out of a cliff.

Long ago a huge stupa fell here and its moss-covered relics interrupt the flow of the river.  You can walk around these massive boulders with your feet ankle deep in the clear water, and we did, still carrying the canang, still moving.

As sunset was approaching, we stopped and sat chatting about how we felt.

I felt awake, uplifted, happy and grateful that, just maybe, I am a dancer after all.

Bye bye Mr Sunshine

We arrived at this beautiful beach with just a few minutes to spare before sunset.

Crossing the wooden bridge

Crossing the wooden bridge

I’d never seen such characterful beach buildings before.  They were all propped up on wooden stilts and were either cafes or accommodation (note to self… must stay there next time).

Walking past the cafes on stilts

Walking past the cafes on stilts

You can see how late in the day it is by the long shadow cast by Yaniq and his guitar.

Yaniq singing about the beach

Yaniq singing Ticket to Paradise

We found a good spot to chill out at and Yaniq kicked off with his song, ‘Ticket to Paradise’ – which was particularly appropriate, given the Balangan beach setting.

I was his only audience on this ocassion, although some passersby did tune-in while they walked along the beach… that started to drip with gold…

Just look at those sunset colours

Just look at those golden sunset colours

Don’t you just love sunsets?

How many shades of sunset yellow?

How many shades of sunset yellow?

I particularly like the colours on this next pic

Bye bye Mr Sunshine

Bye bye Mr Sunshine

Cheers – here’s to sunsets and music on the beach




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