April 20, 2010

From Bali with Love

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Boarding on our flight back from Sydney to New Zealand after a long flight from Denpasar to Sydney, we were quite surprised as we thought we were taking the wrong flight. When as soon as we got on the plane, we could hear and see an ocean of people were chatting in Chinese loudly with bursts of laughter and happy faces sitting at most of the seats. And then there were language barrier between them and the flight attendants--some of them did not even care where they're going to sit that the security had to ask them to sit at their own seats mentioned on their boarding cards, and checked everyone up several times and made sure there were nobody left behind. It was so funny and we were slightly late because of it. The flight attendants were so patient though that they could be bridging the difficulties to a better understanding of mutual needs. Anyway, it was just an amusing flight back home.

This is the hotel we stayed in for 4 weeks in Ubud, Bali. It is called Gayatri Bungalows, situated in the heart of Ubud. The location is slightly hidden and laid amongst paddy fields. It is provided free Wi Fi, although it does not reach where we stayed at our third floor room. They said they're going to fix the signal to reach the highest place, but it did not happen until we had our last day there. The hotel has a large swimming pool which is divided to two parts, a deeper one for adults and a shallow part for children. The surroundings is green and fairly quiet. The price is reasonable cheap for a spacious hotel room, although it is not well-equipped like business hotels in Jakarta or Auckland. However, hotels in Ubud, I supposed, are designed for leisures and hideouts. We quite like it there. 

Our holiday went smoothly, although I had to be suffered from lungs infections and slowly recovered in three weeks. I could only enjoy my time when the cough was shut up and the flame was dry, just in the end of our trip. However, I managed to take the kids to a local children arts and music centre, to learn Balinese gamelan, dance, and fruit carving.

Learning Jegog-Balinese Gamelan by ab2010

The art and music centre is called Pondok Pekak. It is situated near a football field, between Tutmak and DeliCat. If you happen to take a trip to Jalan Dewi Sita, Ubud and intend to take your children there, you can find it easily as they put a billboard on the pathway near the back entrance of Tutmak Espresso Cafe.

Jegog-Balinese Gamelan by ab2010

Learning Balinese Drum by ab2010

They've been learning various of Balinese gamelan instruments, basic Balinese musical notes and dance movements, every day for two weeks. We could see that Ben is developing much interest and talent in Balinese Melody gamelan, although he had tried out to play Balinese Jegog (Bamboo gamelan) and drum. We were so pleased that Ben himself said that he really enjoyed that particular instrument although he also liked learning Baris Warrior dance. I could see him myself hammering those notes on the stage as it is his personal interest and his best enjoyment of traditional music, with head bopping up and down, following the rhythm. He is not really a person who loves being on the highlight, so his choice of playing instrument fits his character much. Best thing he enjoys doing so far.

Learning Melody Balinese Gamelan by ab2010

Learning Balinese Pendet Dance by ab2010 Learning Pendet Dance by ab2010

Sarah, on the other hand, was a bit of a character. She loves performance and loves dressing up. She took dance class nearly every day for two weeks, interchanging with her other developing interest of fruit decoration, learning drum and jegog. She loves dancing the best. She has to work hard on that if she really wants to perform well, and I can say she has a heart on it, so I assume she'll do better in months rather than days. She was also good at fruit decoration and seemed not afraid of knives. She is fearless, that girl. She did well on fruit decoration class and went home with a group of carved and decorated vegetables.

And yes, we watched various Balinese traditional dances after dinner, several times a week. It is a nice way for the kids to learn and watch what they learn at the dance class, to see how the dancers actually perform what they've learned.

Learning Pendet Dance by ab2010

Same dances are performed by different art and music groups, therefore, there are various movements, newly invented or repeated, never get us bored, though. Sarah took much attention on the costumes while Ben was taking in the rhythm of Balinese gamelan

Legong Keraton Dancer-ab2010 Legong Keraton04

Oleg Tamulilingan by ab2010

There are some dances we just newly watched, combined in one package, such as this Satya Brasta Dance, performed by Chandra Wirabhuana, live on Lotus Pond or Saraswati Temple/Ubud Water Palace. 

Satya Brasta02

This dance is extracted from Mahabhrata story, an Indonesian Hindu epic of a battle between the kingdoms of Kurawa and Pandawa, two groups of siblings in the ancient world. One of the character who took a big role on the story is called Karna, a chief of commander in Kurawa family who was a great warrior and took a life of Gatotkaca on the side of Pandawa Kingdom. Karna has a deadly weapon which fears most of his enemies, which is called Konta, a magic arrow that kills Gatotkaca in Mahabhrata war.

Baris Warrior Dance Jauk-Pondok Pekak

Legong Keraton Dance-Garuda Oleg Tamulilingan-Pondok Pekak02

We also watched dances, performed by Ben and Sarah's art and music teachers of Pondok Pekak where they learned musical instruments and dances. They looked so proud of their teachers and watched every movement without blinking!

Sekar Jagad Welcome Dance

Ubud is the village we'll come back for more in years to come. We love it there. Come to Ubud if you happen to be traveling in the Southeast Asia, especially when your children would love to experience different artistic worlds.


Happy Cook said...

Looks like you all had a lot of fun in Bali and the kids seems to enjoy the music expirence.
Wish i could visit once Bali. Well one can dream.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

I hope your illness didn't spoil your holiday! The music and dance classes must have been great fun for your kids, and it was perfect for them to watch the professionals dancing. I used to be very inspired hearing the higher groups in my children's choir when I was starting out.

Barbara said...

What a wonderful adventure for Ben and Sarah. They are lucky to have a foot in each culture.

Barbara said...

Arfi I forgot to say I hope you are feeling better now. It's no fun to be sick while on holiday.

Holly said...

I just found your site as I just spent a month in Penestanan in Ubud - with two littlies - and LOVED it. We love the spring rolls; which is how I found your site. Can I please ask your advice? I am vegan so no egg or milk; what could I use to substitute these in the wrapper recipe do you think?
Thanks so much,

Arfi Binsted said...

hi Holly!

Glad you loved Bali :))
I am afraid that every spring rolls wrappers using eggs in the making, but I suppose you can use Vietnamese rice wrapper. The results won't be the same as the 'real' spring rolls wrapper. Good luck!

Samie said...

Amazing. I always love watching these cultural dances. This made me miss my last visit there in Bali.

koh lanta villas