Asia | South East Asia | Indonesia | Nusa Tenggara | Bali – Ulu Watu & the Fire Dance
Very lazy day. Me and the Kiwi’s would meet at 4 for Ulu Watu. Prior to that I sat at the pool with crossword puzzles. Went to Made’s for lunch. Got a manicure.
To drive to Ulu Watu, Johnny (Koman), the driver Jo found, who they’d been using all trip, took us. I was surprised that Ulu Watu was nearly an hour away.
There are warnings posted about the Ulu Watu monkeys stealing glasses and cameras so I wore my camera around my neck and put my glasses in my bag. The guys had to rent sarongs to be allowed to go in. I needed a gold sash for my skirt to be proper.
Ulu Watu is on the most incredibly dramatic cliff/coastline. The water, as brutally rough as it is, maintains its clean blue color. Wind whipping around. My photos can do NO justice to this scenery. The temple has several complexes and the monkeys are really aggressive. One of them grabbed my ponytail and would not let go until Peter had to manually (and very carefully) unhinge it while I screamed my head off. Doesn’t that sound fun? 😛
Interesting fact about the Kecak Dance style – there’s no gamelan music – the accompaniment is a large chanting male chorus. They sit in a circle several people deep and the performance takes place in the center. The storyline is a retelling of the Ramayana. The demons’ masks in this performance were particularly impressive with their crazy bulging eyes making them look almost cute. At the end Hanoman (white monkey) is surrounded by a circle of fire (hence the name fire dance) timed to coincide exactly with the sunset. This accounts for the most stunningly dramatic photos I’ve taken on the trip. The performers, the fire, the cliffs and water and sunset as backdrop. If I hadn’t been there it would be hard to believe it’s real.
Driving back to Sanur we passed a village engaged in a festival, the people all in their finery. I asked if we could stop and get out. I was nearing the end of my trip with no people pics and I needed to get over my shyness and rectify that. Some poeple did not want to be photographed but the usual reaction was one of pride taht we wanted to snap them. My fave was the young parents with their two little children. The little girl got scared and started crying after the flash went off (which made me feel guilty). Took a photo of some men smoking outside of the temple, and another group, in western clothes, showing off their roosters. Peter had a digital camera with him and showed them their photo after he took it. The look in their faces was priceless was one of utter amazement.