Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bali (Day 3 / Night 4)

Our first morning at Rumah Roda started with a lovely brekkie made up of banana pancakes and lots of fruits.

Actually, the banana pancake is very much like ondeh-ondeh, but one with banana fillings, gula melaka syrup on the outside instead of inside and stretched out thin.

My mouth is watering now just looking at my photos again.

We walked down Jalan Kajeng, where Rumah Roda is tucked away on.

Mum wanted to visit Pasar Ubud to see if there would be anything to buy.

The market was so colourful!

I was bombarded with an overwhelming mixture of smells, sounds and sights. And not to mention ridiculously sky-high prices. Oh yes, you would need to haggle to half price here.

Anyhow, Mum was delighted to find something for the centre.

We ventured down Monkey Forest Road and turned off a smaller road, where we decided to quench our thirst at this funky organic place called Juice Ja Cafe.

How ironic to have us down their world-famous and utterly unhealthy babi guling after that.

There was a queue and patrons literally had to hover over tables, preying on them like hungry eagles awaiting to pounce on an innocent mouse about to exit its burrow.

But I have to admit, the thick and plastic-looking piece of skin was delicious! It was like an extra gigantic piece of skin (minus the crackly bubbles) of roast pork (siew yoke).

They did have greens to help with the digestion so alright, not all that unhealthy.

And then, it was a visit to the place which initiated this trip. We headed to Green School, which I have dedicated a separate post to. The tour of the school took longer than expected, but I was not one to complain. Utterly enjoyed the tour, and learnt a thing or two from it. By the time we returned to Ubud, it was time for dinner and because I was so tired, I totally forgotten to take note of what that restaurant is called! However, the ambience of the restaurant and the food was commendable.

Bro had a carbonara fettucine, the only non-local dish ordered.

I ordered a nasi goreng; fried rice with vegetables, eggs and side of chicken satay and shrimp crackers.

Mum had pepes ikan; steamed fish with yellow paste Balinese spice, tomato, bay leaves wrapped with banana leaf served with sauteed fern tip and yellow rice.

Dad had something similar to mine but had more ingredients, as it was nasi campur; Balinese chicken basa gede, tuna sambal matah, tempe tofu red chilli sauce, chicken satay, grilled prawn, rice, vegetable urap and crackers.

The service was slow and because we were rushing for time, the slowness agitated us slightly. We were trying very hard not to be late for a Kecak performance down the road at Pura Dalem.

Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, Kecak has roots in Sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance. The piece, performed by a circle of 150 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana.

For this performance, there were not that many performers, as it was an enactment of only one episode.

I was so taken away by the complex and multi-layered "cak cak cak cak" chanting into various rhythmic patterns. All a capella and in total sync!

Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by male chorus. In the 1930s, Kecak was taken out of its scared realms and developed into Kecak Ramayana. It is believed that this transformation took in the village of Bedulu through the creative efforts of German painter and musician Walter Spies, I Wayan Limbak and the people of Bedulu. However, the current form of the performance was conceived in the village of Gianyar.

The Sanghyang performance took place after. A trance dance functioning to protect the society against evil forces and epidemics, it can take several forms and in this case, it was presented as the Sanghyang Djaran (horse).

In Bali and Java, the hobby horse is associated with trance and is also seen in the Kuda Kepang of West Java and the southern Malaysian state of Johor. The 'horse-rider' is lulled into trance by the repetitive sounds of the gamelan suara and during that stage, he walks on dynamical sounds of the gamelan suara.

It felt a little like a fire dance to me because there was a bonfire built in the middle of the stage and during certain times, the 'horse-rider' actually walks over the firey charcoal (reminded me of Thaipusam, really).

The Kecak performance here is one of the best in Ubud, which is only staged every Friday and Monday evening in beautiful outdoor surroundings under banyan trees.

Our final night here on Bali was capped with drinks at Art Kafe | Bar.

We did not try their famous tiramisu. Instead, I shared a plate of pisang goreng with Bro.

If you are ever in Bali, you must give their choc fudge brownies a go. You will not regret it!


Sizuka said...

Hi! Thx for sharing the beautiful photos! never knew that Bali is that beautiful, rich in culture :)

IuhniX said...

love the shots!

Chrys said...

Thanks, Sizuka and Iuhnix. :)