The Light

After two days of rest at granny’s hostel I was ready to move on again so I went to Ubud with two girls. Ubud is in the center of Bali and is also the place where Elizabeth Gilbert (I think that’s her name?) from Eat, Pray, Love was staying when she was doing the love section in Bali. Eddy from the hostel drove us and took us to his “aunties” hostel as he kept calling it. It was great; big beds, wifi, and the best free breakfast I have had in Bali! Apparently her husband is some sort of a chef and he made the most delicious banana pancakes. Ubud was really nice and relaxing, we pretty much spent 3 days shopping and trying to find a western union that would let me get some money! Remind me to never lose my credit cards while traveling again… The second morning we walked into town to get some coffee and we heard there was some sort of cremation ceremony going on so naturally we went to search for it. Turns out someone of “royalty” in Ubud had passed away and they were having this huge celebration. I’m not really sure what it means to be ofmroyalty in Bali because as far as i know there is no royal family but i guess you can still be royal! They had this giant, ornate, colorful tower that was being carried by about 60 men. The body was placed in a coffin in the top center of the tower and the brothers of the deceased were all sitting up there with the body. They had also tied live chickens upside down all around the tower. There were about 5 other float type things that came through in a sort of parade and stopped in the center square to spin the float in circles a few times (almost hitting a few bystanders in the process). It was really incredible to watch and everyone was so happy and cheerful. It felt so much more like a celebration of life rather than a mourning of death. I think it shows a lot about cultural differences and the way which death is viewed between eastern and western societies. Anyway, we followed this procession for about 25 minutes before ending up in a park. The men carrying one of the float/statues that was in the shape of a big white bull cut it open and the coffin was placed inside. All the locals who were partaking in the ceremony then came up with offerings (which in Bali are square shaped banana leaf trays filled with flowers and incense) and they torched the bull until everything was burnt to a crisp. It was insane to watch. After that we walked around Ubud and that night went to see a Balinese dance. It was a very cultural day! The dance was cool- very colorful and the music was awesome. Every single movement in Balinese dancing has a meaning, even down to the eyeball movements so it was very entertaining. The next day we got up and got a taxi to an amazing temple called Gunung Kawi. We had to walk down 300+ steps to get there and when we finally arrived we were standing in a jungle valley surrounded by huge carved rock walls. According to Balinese myth the temple was created in only one night and was carved by God’s fingernail. We spent a fair amount of time at the temple then headed south to Sanur to catch a fast boat to Nusa Lembongan. More on that later…

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