The Expectation of Being a Balinese

Being Balinese has many advantages including beautiful nature and the rich culture around you.

But it also comes with a catch.

As Balinese people expect certain things from you. I often heard my friend and colleague comment:

You are a Balinese so you must be a good dancer or a great artist.

Well, unfortunately, ยญI am NOT both ๐Ÿ˜‘

When I was little, I was given the basic dancing lesson so I know the basic moves. But, Balinese dance involves quite complicated choreography where you must balanced your legs, arms, and facial expressions according to the music (Gamelan). Plus, most Balinese dance involve more than one dancer. So, you must also coordinate with your fellow performer. Somehow, I just did not feel confident and not that interested to master in any of the traditional Balinese dance.

Its something that I later on regret as I often disappointed my college friends every time they expect me to perform during certain event.

But, in October last year, I got an opportunity to perform a ritual dance called Rejang Renteng for a ceremony in the local Pura. As always, at first I resisted to join. But, as it was part of a ritual, I felt obligated to do it. In the end, with a lot of hesitant I joined. The dance itself was quite simple compared to other Balinese dance. The movement were slow and repetitive…and it only takes around 7 minutes. We perform in a big group of 27 dancers, so I felt less intimated.

After a grueling 4 weeks of practice, we finally performed at the ceremony. It takes a lot of effort to prepare for the make up and hair-do. But, in the end I was really happy. Not only because I can be part of the ritual, but mostly because I can prove to myself that we can do anything if we put our mind to it.

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Blangsinga and Tegenungan Waterfalls

On our way home from Saba to Songan, Kintamani we wanted to visit a new place. My husband mentioned that there are a waterfall close by. He said its called Tegenungan Waterfall.

I searched for it and found that it was quite close to another waterfall called Blangsinga Waterfall. I did not really checked it on the map.

My husband decided to take us to Blangsinga Waterfall. We arrived to the entrance and immediately went to the ticket box. It was relatively cheap, only 30 thousands rupiah for two adults and two children (under 12 years old).

First we took quite a steep stairs so I would advise visitor to really watch over their children. Not long after we took the stairs down we arrived to a heart-shaped wooden frame clearly prepared for visitors to take instagram-worthy pictures ๐Ÿ˜

We carried on after taking our pictures. My husband and the girls walked ahead of me as I stopped several times to take some pictures of the surrounding. The cool water splash and sound of the waterfall were really inviting.

After I reached the bottom of the stairs there was a lady who wanted to climb up. The guard stopped and asked for her ticket. She showed it and I heard him said “Sorry, if you want to climb here, you must pay for a ticket…if you dont wanna pay then you must take that route”. The guard signal for a stairs in another side of the river. It puzzled me…but I didnt ask for more information. I just assume that we must also take the route…although I can already see that there were so many more steps compared to the way we came down.

We then enjoyed the cool and fresh water of the river. Some visitors swim under the waterfall. Some prefer to take instagram-worthy pic by swinging in front of the waterfall.

We did not bring any clothes to swim so we just crossed the river. As we about to take the steps there were sign that says “good luck with the 165 steps”.

Wow…for a person who rarely exercise like myself…it is quite a put off..but my girls just went straight.

I took it bit by bit. I stopped several time. Finally, I arrived and immediately greeted by a sign that read Tegenungan Waterfall. It took me sometimes to realized that we have actually crossed to another territory.

I am still hoping that Blangsinga carpark is within walking distance. So we stopped in one of the shop by a drink and ask the lady the way to get back to Blangsinga. She said it was quite a walk. 4.1 kilometres to be exact. She said we better go back down and up to where we came ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ต

So apparently, the two waterfalls, to be honest I completely missed the Tegenungan waterfall on my way up because I was so busy catching my breath, were separated only by a river. But, on land it was 4.1km.

Turns out I misinterpret what happened earlier. Each waterfall sold separate ticket. You can enjoy the same sceneries as long as you come and go from the same place, which make more sense rather than my assumption ๐Ÿ˜‚

So moral of the story is

Dont assume, just ask whenever you are in doubt

But, I have no regret. I quite enjoyed having conquer the 165 steps!

Plus, I got this perfect shot of the waterfall from Tegenungan steps.

Bali Countryside

My long holiday is halfway through. I am still determined to blog more. Today I would like to talk about Balinese countryside.

Yes, Bali is known for its beautiful nature and unique culture. However, as more and more area in Bali transform with modernization, I often missed the old Balinese environment.

Thats why during holiday, I always try to bring our children to the countrside where some aspects remain untouched by modernization.

The other day we stayed atย Villa Sabasanti located in a secluded area close by Saba Beach. In the morning, I took my girls for a walk. We wanted to go to the beach but we ended up taking a route into a farm.

Along the way we enjoyed the sceneries of Balinese countryside..

Corn field with Saba Beach in the background

In addition to coconut and banana trees, bamboos are the most essential tree for Balinese. It is used for ceremonial elements, as well as home utensils and handicraft.
I have read somewhere that bamboo may not be as big and strong as any other wood but their versatility is their strength.

Then there were also a lot of coconut trees. A typical sights in Balinese villages.

In addition to the usual coconut trees, there are also a special type of coconut..its a lot shorter with ivory skin and smaller fruit, hence Balinese called it Nyuh Gading.

After a while…we reached a field where local farmer leave their cows. My two girls were really excited especially seeing several calfs ๐Ÿ˜Š

I went back to the villa feeling quite happy that some of Bali remains as it were before…

Kuningan day in Bali

Balinese Hindu has a lot of holy ceremonies.

One of the biggest ceremonies is Galungan and Kuningan. Galungan is the day when Goodness, Dharma, prevail against Evil, Adharma. It is celebrated on Wednesday and Kuningan takes place on Saturday in the following weeks. It represents the day when the Balinese Hindu made a promise to ourself or God almighty that we will always try to ensure that goodness will prevail against evil.

There were various offerings and decoration made for the Galungan and Kuningan. But one notable decoration is a tall pole made from Bamboo decorated with young coconut leaves called Penjor (what is a Penjor). In other part of Indonesia, notably in Javanese culture, similar ornament called umbul-umbul was placed when there is important ceremony such as wedding ceremony.

In Bali, Penjor was placed in front of the house during Galungan and Kuningan. So, you’ll feel like royalty when you visit Bali at this period because the streets look so festive.

Because I worked and lived in Surabaya, we didnt normally experience all the Galungan and Kuningan atmosphere. But this year, Kuningan day happened during the period of public holiday.

We wasted no chance and immediately flew home.

It was all worth it since we got to show the girls what the atmosphere of Galungan and Kuningan in Bali.

Holiday has arrived

Finally, the longest holiday of the year for most Indonesian has arrived.

Dont get me wrong, I love my job.

But, after six months of teaching, supervising, on top of other things, my mind and body could use a downtime.

And…i am hoping to be able to just spend time with my family while also do some blogging and continue crochetting.

Happy holiday ๐Ÿ˜‡

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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