Some observations from travels


Travel Theme: Beaches

I love beaches and I love that Where’s My Backpack chose this for this week’s Travel Theme.







A Word a Week Challenge: Zoom

This is an interesting challenge as I love zoomed in photos, but do not take the most excellent ones myself.  Still, scanning through my photos, I found some beautiful ones that I feel are worth sharing.  One of my favourite subjects are people – random and candid.  It is quite a challenge zooming in on people without invading their privacy or intruding on whatever they’re doing.  So I thought for this challenge I will share some photos of people I have zoomed in enough, hopefully, so as not to offend them.













Don’t forget to visit A Word a Week Challenge over at A Word in Your Ear.

A Word a Week Challenge: Island

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui, Thailand

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Penjor from Ubod, Bali

Penjor from Ubod, Bali

Offering rituals, Bali

Offering rituals, Bali

Welcome, Koh Samui

Welcome, Koh Samui

Large budha overlooking the island of Phuket, Thailand

Large budha overlooking the island of Phuket, Thailand

Please don’t forget to visit here for more interesting stories about beautiful islands around the world.

Men at Work in Ubud, Bali

When you’re woken up at three in the morning by a pig squealing for its dear life,  there are two things you can thing of what’s happening.  Either you live near an abattoir (which was not the case here) or someone from the nearby temple was butchering the poor thing for a celebration!  The latter was more like it.  This was part of the series of activities villagers in Ubud did to culminate the cleansing celebration that have been going on for the last few days.

Gladly we managed to get back to sleep.  But my curiosity woke me up as the sun rises at six and wondered whatever happened to that poor piggy.  As I opened my balcony door I could not help but notice a hum at the nearby temple.  Sounds like busy Balinese men working.  So as quickly as we could we went out to find out!

It was an organised chaos of, men only, members of the village, chopping, mixing, sorting, grilling and steaming every part of the butchered pig.  What came out was masses of rice, satays, salads and sauces which they allocated equally to every member of the team to offer to their respective temples and eventually take home and share with their family gathering later in the day.

This was an amazing display of efficient teamwork and camaraderie between the villagers.  The women were not to be seen around this particular event except for the inevitable task of doing the offering rounds.

I really enjoyed that experience.  Walking away from the wonderful smell of satay wafting throughout the temple hall I could not help but feel a bit of (hunger pang in my tummy!) and jealousy for what I have just witnessed.  Members of the villages here contribute to their temple potluck for celebrations such as this one, collectively involve everyone in the preparation and then partake of their efforts.  Why are we loosing this togetherness in other, more developed, western countries?

Cleansing Celebration, Ubud, Bali

As our stay here in Ubud progresses to its second week so have the Cleansing Celebration around the temples here.  It had been over a week since I first notice the locals getting busy with their preparations of elaborate offerings and decorations.  It is evident along the streets, at family shrines and the many temples around Ubud.  The stone statues are noticeably dressed for the celebration, the ladies and gents are coming out in their best temple fashion as well as the shrines and temples.  What was grey and stone from last week have turned into a colourful display of golds, reds, blacks and whites.

And when you’re fortunate to be at the right place when the families come out to take their temple effigy during these celebrations, it’s an experience of music, colour and grandeur.

Padi Bali

Padi Bali, is a generic term for the variety of rice traditionally grown around Bali.  The gentle climate and abundant supply of water from the valleys make for an ideal combination for growing rice.  Driving through Ubud and Gianyar areas you will experience the wonderful greenery all around you.  Upon closer observation you will admire the rice at its varying stages of their 210 day cycle.  Here are some images to enjoy.

The women on the fields are very hard-working using traditional ways of harvesting.  They even welcome tourists to help!

Aside from the mid-day heat, it’s very relaxing walking through the rice fields, green as far as your eyes could see.

Where you from? Where you going?

“Where you from?” and “Where you going?” are the two questions you get asked all the time by any Balinese on the street.  They are not being inquisitive or nosy, they use this to know where you belong on their big mental compass.  Liz Gilbert, on her famous book about being in Ubud, explained this quite well.  Balinese people are village people, they live within their group and knows where everyone was, where they came from and where they were going.  So when you bump into someone on the street, or anywhere around Bali for that matter, you will get asked these two questions.

Here are some wonderful images whilst walking along the streets of Ubud, Bali.

These were some of the many images captured in a matter of a couple of hours walking around Ubud.  Everywhere you turn you are welcomed by so many beautiful sights.  All you need to do is get out there and open our eyes (of course your camera shutter as well!)

Mempesona Ubud, Bali

Mempesona translate into enchanting, breathtaking or bewitching!  Enchanting is something charming, enthralling, captivating and fascinating.  That is my word for Bali.  This is our third time visiting this beautiful island, first was a couple of years back and the second was only five months ago.  By the amount of frequency that indicates that we really, really love this place.  In the past we chose to stay in Jimbaran Bay south of the island and mostly cocooned within the resort compound.  This time we chose to stay in Ubud, central part of Bali, for a change of scenery.

Ubud is known for its rich cultural and artistic history, and as the ‘Village of Painters.’  It is beautiful here!  The crowd is obviously a caste above those we’ve previously met around the beach areas of, for example, Kuta and Legian.  There is more emphasis on culture and history in Ubud.  Alternative and eclectic is an apt description of the atmosphere here.

These are images of the family shrine within our home stay compound.

We live in a home stay, which, I feel, is the closest way to experience real Balinese style living.  The home stay compound is within an authentic family compound and we are bombarded with daily family activities and sounds.  You will be woken up, very early, by the orchestra of birds and other sounds of nature.  These are some of the wonderful images that I have witnessed each morning.

Isn’t this the best image of a family welcoming the morning sun!

And the rest of the family members, including a cheeky (and moody!) Cockatoo.

Our home stay is centrally located along Jalan Hanoman, known for its temples, shops and restaurants.  Every morning we are served a pot of hot tea and breakfast of a generous bowl of fruits and a plate of some typical Balinese fare.  This morning was banana crepe, YUM!  Yesterday was a banana toasty, YUMMY as well!

This is such a great start to our fortnight here in Ubub and Bali!  I am looking forward to some real R & R!


Bali.  Wonderful stone arts found everywhere.