Balinese Blends Modern and Traditional Life

Bali is known for its beautiful landscape and unique culture…the image of Balinese women dressed modestly, carrying offering in their heads across rice field have been the object of a lot of paintings, postcards and posters. But, Bali is not immune to the lure of modernization.

Development driven by tourism has certainly changed the face of Bali, especially in certain area in the southern part of Bali. Now you can see the houses, public places and building mix modern architecture with traditional culture.

This is Titi Banda Statue, representing the story of Rama with an army of Monkey on their way to cross the bridge to Alengka and pick Sita. It is located in three-way junctions of By Pass Ngurah Rai and By Pass Ida Bagus Mantra

But, despite the change from typical Balinese architecture, in every Balinese Hindu house you will see one or two shrine or temple like this.

Sanggah: a typical shrine or temple for Balinese Hindu to pray
The above picture taken in a used-to-be familiar Waturenggong street in Denpasar, Bali.

I passed this road every day when I was little. It has always been a busy street due to its proximity to schools and universities. But, now it was cramped with shops and bustling with cars and motorcycles. But densed among shop selling clothes, bags, foods, minimarts, I am happy to see this shop called Ketut Banten (zoom in for the red signage). As the name suggest, it sells Banten that is an offering Balinese Hindu use in their rituals and ceremonies. The simplest form of offering is Canang.

The base of Canang is a rectangular shape intricately made from young coconut leaves. Then flowers and leave are arranged in it.

There are many forms of artifact in Balinese Hindu.

Garuda is one of the most popular mythical creature in Balinese culture. I took this in Puncak Penulisan temple
Ornament in Pura Hulundanu Batur
Pajeng is a traditional umbrella put beside the temple. The color is normally white, yellow and black

With advance technology Balinese also changed the way they do things. Cars and motorcycle take over the more traditional horse carriage.

Skillful but also risky

This lady balance her Boiled Corn, known as Jagung Rebus by Indonesian, in her head while Riding Motorcycle. Skills you rarely find anywhere else, but in Bali. I took this picture around Pura Besakih and at that time she was travelling in a quiet road. Still, safety riding warrant certainly needed. Even in public places like Ngurah Rai International Airport, Balinese artistry is at full display.

This exhibit of The Good Barong and The Evil Rangda

Only in Indonesia: Kerupuk (Crackers) Lover

Forget all the fancy crackers. Long before those fancy stuffs hit the market, Indonesian already have their original crackers well known as KERUPUK!

There are different types of kerupuk depending on the basic ingredients. The most common one is shrimp crackers also known kerupuk udang. Another common type is cassava crackers (keripik singkong).

Some crackers are taken as snacks. But, dont be surprised to see many Indonesian eats them with their foods such as in Gado-gado and Soto.

In Surabaya where I currently live, people really loves their Krupuk. It was during my undergraduate study that I fell in love with Surabaya type of crackers. It was made from rice flour and looks like spider web.


But whenever I go home to Bali i always try to find the crackers from my childhood. It was not like most crackers which are normally quite soft but crispy. This cracker is quite hard and my friends used to call it Krupuk Beton or Concrete crackers 🙂

I am not too sure the main ingredients. I am sure that it is made of flour…but is it rice flour, or glutinous rice flour or wheat flour? I have tried to find out the recipe, but I still cant find it.

So I am so happy that during my visit to Bali that i got the chance to hit the local traditional market.

Top View of Bangli Traditional Market
Another view of the market

I bought lots of it. Quite enough to satisfy my hunger 🙂

Different types of krupuk, top, bottom and right are different variants of Krupuk Beton. Would really want to know the recipe for it!

Following Ratih Journey

My eldest girl, Ratih, is a very active girl. She is very enthusiastic about everything. I want to write down her journey here so one day when she is older she can recall all of them. So, this one is for you Ratih :*

She always love drawing. So, she joins GlobalArt, a visual art academy that provide creative art lessons including drawing, coloring and handicraft making. She often joins drawing and coloring competition held by her academy or other organizations. The competitions are held in various places, mostly in big atrium in shopping mall. So, our family who usually go to the nearest shopping mall, get to go beyond our normal territories 🙂 I can recall that we went to Ciputra World, Pakuwon Mall, Grand City Mall for her to join the competitions.

In addition to drawing, she also loves performing. She tries everything from choir, musical drama, poetry, and more recently she even tries pantomime. For these kind of activities she often perform in Taman Remaja Surabaya. But her latest adventure is when she and several of her friends join pantomime competition in local community close to her school. She was excited because it is part of an initiative for Green Community and it was hoped that our major, Bu Risma will come to open the competition. Although in the end, our major could not make it due to other commitments, Ratih and her friends were so happy because she got first place.

Then, two weeks a go she participates in story telling competition. Because of that I got to go inside Airlangga University Rectorate building and even join a writing seminar from Tere Liye, a famous writer. I wrote about it my previous post here.


Today, her journey has brought me and my husband to Aula Bengrah, in Komando Daerah Militer – (Regional Military Commands) Kodam Brawijaya, where she is having a test to gain her Yellow Belt. Again, it is the kind of place that we would not visit. First she and her fellow participant get ready. As many other test like this, she must wait patiently before she can get her turn.


When she does, it gave me goosebumps seeing her doing all the Kata moves.

To me, she really nailed it. She has done so many things I can only imagine when I was a little girl her age.

Hopefully, you will have many more journeys that we will cherish forever.

Your most loyal supporter

With Love

Mom, Dad and Hita


Chicago Architecture

Once upon a time in 2012, I got an opportunity to visit Chicago as part of International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). During our free time we were taken for a Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, which enables us to admire Chicago’s architecture.

We set off from Navy Pier, which offer great view.

And here are the building and architecture pictures. The tour guide explained each famous building and land mark, but I was too busy taking pictures so I did not remember any of it.

All these pictures were taken with my old Sony Cybershot digital camera. Looking at the pictures again, the neck pain that I got after looking up to take them is all worth it.