A shot of Balinese culture

Ubud Travel Blog

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Fierce creatures guarding the palace grounds

After getting unstuck from Gili Trawangan I decided I really needed some quiet times sniffing up Balinese culture. And Ubud in the center of Bali is the place where people come to do just that. Instead of Billabong shorts I now see a lot of people with white hair walking the streets here :-). There's tons of artists who chose this area as their home and it's been a long time I've seen so many museums crammed into one place.

After getting a motorbike First off I decided to check out the 'Blanco Renaissance Museum', an artist also known as the Dali of Bali who specialised in naked Balinese women, and I'm not talking the decently semi-nude kind. Actually the whole visit is geared towards beeing a completely hedonistic experience, starting with the welcome flower you get at the entrance and wear stuck behind your ear, the personal attention to guide you to the museum itself, tons of full frontal nudity in the paintings, some iced coffee on your way out, it's well put together.

Balinese dancers on top of the Balnco Renaissance Museum
I did wonder if his obsession with the perfect Balinese breast wouldn't have resulted in a different occupation nowadays. Anyway it's a laugh and not to miss. 

Next up was 'Museum Puri Lukisan', with some of the oldest Balinese art alongside paintings inspired by these. Unfortunately part of the museum was closed and some of the artwork was in dire need of restoration. Lots of 'naieve' art about Balinese daily life here. And to close off the morning I checked out 'ARMA', with a huge variety of modern paintings. 

The nightlife here consists mainly of traditional dance or music performances, and anytime of the day you pass by the center you'll probably see one Gamellan orchestra or another practicing.

The Balinese way for female dancers to dance with all 'limbs detached from one another' is something that becomes a thing of beauty within a few seconds.

Modern painting of masks used in Balinese dancing
Most impressive of all I found the 'Kecak' dances, where a group of almost a hundred man chant while dancers depict one of the Ramayane or Mahabharata stories. Usually it ends with a fire dance, a dancer dressed up as a horse goes into trance and dances around and on a layer of coconut husk cinders. 'Legong' dances are very nice too but despite my fondness of strange musical scales the whole Gamellan accompaniement was doing my head in. Music is maybe one of the most engrained acquired cultural tastes, will take me a while to learn to appreciate this stuff, if at all.

Last of all I saw a Wayang play, a shadow play with puppets which was more entertaining than I had expected, although I'm not quite sure what Monica Lewinsky, hassles with taxi drivers and 'secret weapons from the USA' are supposed to do in a Ramayana tale...

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Fierce creatures guarding the pala…
Fierce creatures guarding the pal…
Balinese dancers on top of the Bal…
Balinese dancers on top of the Ba…
Modern painting of masks used in B…
Modern painting of masks used in …
Entrance of Ubud Palace
Entrance of Ubud Palace
Yup this is a cut above your avera…
Yup this is a cut above your aver…
The quest for the perfect Balinese…
The quest for the perfect Balines…
Balinese dancer (Blanco nude III)
Balinese dancer (Blanco nude III)
Walter Spies who made the eerie ri…
Walter Spies who made the eerie r…
Kecak dance
Kecak dance
Kecak dance
Kecak dance
Legong dance I
Legong dance I
Legong dance II
Legong dance II
Puppet shadow plays (Wayang Kulit)
Puppet shadow plays (Wayang Kulit)
The puppet master behind the scree…
The puppet master behind the scre…
Offerings on the street side in fr…
Offerings on the street side in f…
Ubud
photo by: eddie8498