Saturday, June 26, 2010

We're in Bali

After a flight of 14 hours to Hong Kong, a three hour flight to Singapore with a five hour lay-over, and finally a two hour flight to Bali, we are here and it is glorious. Got in Thursday evening and have been settling in ever since. For the first part of the trip, we are staying in Ubud which is in the central part of the island and is known as the cultural center of Bali.

Yesterday we visited the workshops of various artisans: wood carvers, an ikat weaver, silver jewelry makers, and painters. Today we had the pleasure of being blessed by a head priest, a ceremony that he performs on the day of the full moon, among many others. Our guide Putu wrapped us in sarongs and scarves, stopped at his mother's house to pick up the offering she had prepared for us to bring to the priest, and then we made our way through the streets of Ubud to the small temple. The priest sat on a platform, sprinkling those being blessed with water, flowers, and placing a rice mixture on the forehead and the base of the throat. We awaited our turn. Putu instructed us to place our right hand over our left to receive the water and to drink it and to bow our head when a pitcher of water was poured over it. Of course we didn't understand what he was saying to us but assume that he was blessing our visit to this place and wishing us a joyous and happy time here.

Just in case you're wondering about the food, it is fabulous.

I'll start with my breakfasts which have been so good. The first morning I had green crepes filled with fresh coconut mixed with palm sugar and a palm sugar syrup. Today's breakfast was a chicken and rice porridge, topped with finely chopped lemon basil and crispy fried shallots. So much more to tell but at least this is a start.

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