And what an amazing trip it was. There’s so much to tell about….but first I wanted to start out with a gorgeous photo. Isn’t she beautiful. More about the elegant dancing later…….in fact, it’s going to take more than one post to give you a little of the Bali experience.
As you might have figured out……I love to travel anywhere. Naturally I was excited about my trip to Bali with World of Quilts Travel in which I taught a small embellishing project to the other travels. I knew I’d have a great time…..what I didn’t know was that going to Bali is definitely an experience…..not just a trip.
We went to explore the world renowned textiles that are hand-made in Bali. Hand printed batiks and one-of-a-kind single and double ikat weavings. Believe me, seeing them both created was truly fabulous. I don’t know quite how to describe (and you know I’m rarely out of words!) visiting primative facilities in which the most complicated and breath-taking fabrics are created. Forget the world of mechanization and electronics. These were processes that have been done for the same way for generations. More about that later too…
The architecture, temples, idols and icons were awe-inspiring as well….photos coming…..but it was the people of Bali that left the most lasting impression on me. I know, I know…..you’re probably thinking “how can one group of people be more memorable than others”….but they were and they are. There is a happiness and contentment that comes from “a pure heart” (as was explained to us by our guide and mentor to the Balinese Hindu culture, Supy.) I know I will always remember their kind, generous words and deeds…..and wish we all could be just that way. Sigh……ok, enough philosophy…let’s get down to the photos and details. Like I said, this will have to be a several part series!
As we traveled around the country by tour bus, we were treated to sights of ancient temples, elegant fountains and statues along sometimes side by side with the homes of the local folks. It was a step back to another time…….and great inspiration and elegance.
Here I am enjoying the sights outside one of our lovely hotels. Believe me, I was very tempted to jump right in. It was definitely hot and humid….especially for this Northwest girl who isn’t too used to humidity. It didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone; however, it did do a lot of dampening of our clothing! Of course, part of the fun was buying typical Balinese clothing….sometimes out of necessity as many of us (including me) brought far too many things that were toooo warm!
Of course, every trip has its adventures and this was no exception. One day #1, we stopped to shop in the local market……oh yeah, what an experience that was. Can you think Super Blue Light Special Sale x 10! For a bunch of fabric lovers like we were, the gorgeous sarongs, shawls, clothing, bags, etc. put us in definitel shopper overload as the prices were so cheap. Really. It was very fun to visit somewhere where things were actually a fraction of what you’d pay at home……..check out a photo of some of my fabric goodies I brought home. Aren’t the colors wonderful. The culture and clothing is full of prints and colors of all types…..mixed together in a style that doesn’t need to “match.” I loved it!
But I’m digressing from my tail of first-day adventure….after market shopping, we stopped at the ATM to get more Balinese cash….and, you guessed it, the machine ate my card. Always a crisis….but on the other side of the world from home, definitely a bigger problem!
Our wonderful guide, Supy, ( a native of Bali and tour guide and local expert extrordinnaire) came to my rescue as did my friend Susan Nelsen who was my trusty roommate. To make a long story short….it involved Susan guarding the ATM while Supy and I hopped a car to take us to the bank to find out what to do…and oh yes, the tour bus patiently waiting (with the air conditioning on!) In the end, Susan and I sat on the cement steps of the ATM waiting for the bank guy to appear on his scooter and rescue my card. The bus went on….and we observed the local market culture from the steps for several (sweaty) hours. But….we’re both experienced enough travelers to let a little thing like a card-eating ATM spoil our good time!
Besides, if my card hadn’t been gobbled up, I never would have had the pleasure of meeting several very interesting local folks….including the guy (maybe 90 or so) who wanted us to hire him to give us a massage. We couldn’t do that….but we did share our face -wipes (must be an American thing….he looked pretty surprised by them) and our sunscreen. He was happy to share and stayed with us the rest of the time. I’m hoping Susan has a photo of us …….I’ll add it if she has one. It is all about meeting people and spreading good-will….and that we did! Oh yeah, I did get my card back …but it was a long three hours on the steps!
OK, Ok, at this rate I’m never going to get through the trip! I’ll have to speed up…..One thing we did was visit several small studios that make batik fabric and sell it locally. Here’s an example of local woman drawing with wax with a tjanting tool. Once it’s dryed, it’s dyed and then the wax washed out…….only to begin the process again to add more colors.
Some of the batiks were hand drawn while others were stamped with wax using a large carved wood or metal stamp-like tool called a chop. What a treat for us….we each got to try our hand at chopping, and, needless to say, it was much harder than it looked when they did it! It was very fun……and they also dyed our fabrics in indigo dye and we got to bring them home. What a treat. Here’s my chopping experience! It brought back memories of years ago when I used to paint with beeswax on silk before I painted it with chemical dye……… these days were definitely natural.
What a great treat…..and after seeing it done by hand, we all agreed we’re never going to complain again about paying $11.00 a yard back home for batiks! Even the commercial batiks sold back in the US are chopped and dyed by hand mostly here in Bali …..amazing, huh.
Here are a few shots to give you an idea of the beauty and culture of Bali…..
How’s that for inspiration? The colors, the culture, the people…….all part of the Bali experience. More to come…..I promise. as a final shot for the night………since I always have a soft spot for little boys and girls, how about these young men…..proving once again, that boys will be boys….not matter what side of the world they’re on!
That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it. The world is a very small place! Oh yeah, they did speak a little English and when they heard we were from the USA….their first words were “Obama, Obama!”
Next chapter……weaving and dancing!