It seemed to me that the “alternative” has taken an ever deeper plunge into the fabric of modern-day Ubud. On my first visit, I compared it to my memories of Santa Fe, New Mexico because of the preponderance of art and up-market eateries. This time, more and more store fronts were dedicated to the following – love it or not.
SoulPath – “Transformational Clothing” – For those folks where meditation and yoga just won’t do the forgetting thing…
Native Bali drums, gongs and bamboo flutes – on a millionaire’s budget.
I really enjoyed this little slice of Paris right across Monkey Forest Road from my hotel, complete with an open air view onto a Bali rice field.
Thoroughly enjoyed my digs in Ubud. Upgraded from their sister hotel due to being overbooked at half the going rate! Right in the center of things but very quiet.
Of course, a trip to Bali is not complete without happening upon one spontaneous parade. This one passed by my hotel on my first morning in Ubud.
Looking inland (south) into the mountains from one of the Amed beaches. A lot of the beaches here are black sand created by lava flows from these still-active volcanoes that ring northeast Bali.
One of the unique and soulful aspects of Bali are the ubiquitous small daily spiritual offerings placed on the ground at the entryway to all buildings and passageways. The practice is never-ending, freshly prepared daily to honor ancestors and gods. “Canang” translates to a small coconut basket and “Sari” means essence.
I had a couple of nice dives while in the Amed area. Almost all the dives there are walk-in from the shore. There are two wrecks in the area, one being the USS Liberty which was a troop carrier torpedoed by the Japanese in WW II. I dived with the shop next door to my accommodation, Buddha Diving. They turned out to be great bunch of folks, run by a French Canadian with a Parisienne girlfriend and a German divemaster. So international! Highly recommended!
I loved this mask hanging on the bathroom wall of my bungalow.
I moved on from Sidemen to the far northeast corner of Bali, along the beachfront. Here the weather means hot days and gorgeous breezy nights. A very relaxing and laid-back area, Amed is actually a long series of fishing villages strung together like a pearl necklace running for kilometers along the ocean. I stayed near Jemeluk Bay, pictured here. Of course, that is Mount Agung in the background.
One thing that I don’t get are signs like this that I see frequently in Bali at holy sites. For the world religion with the most female gods, I am surprised at what appears to me to be blatant misogyny. Can you imagine the uproar if a sign like this went up in front of a Christian church or cemetery in the States?
After Nusa Lembongan, I headed back to mainland Bali and into the interior. I had heard that Sideman is the “Ubud of 30 years ago” – a true rice field village unspoiled by tourism. Indeed, it is exceptionally rural compared to Ubud, although I did spy a small silver shop hidden along the way. From what I can see, the geography is a long, long valley of rice fields running from the base of Mount Agung in the north all the way to the ocean in the south, carved by the river Tukad Yeh Unda running through the center.
There’s Mount Agung in the background, hidden in clouds.