Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stacked Up Stones at Tegenungan Waterfall on Bali Island [Indonesia]

Slowly making my way down to the famed waterfall at Bali's Ubud region, my mind was occupied. I was thinking of the long flight of stairs that i just climbed down from; it would be an exhausting climb up steep steps later on. 

Just as my mind drifted away, the scene of flowing water appeared at the corner of my right eye; my head turned towards the stream and I squirmed with a puzzled expression. What are those things on the water?

I had to make a slight detour to take a closer look; they were just stacked up pebbles but you can't deny the fact the appeal they drew and the questions that would be raised.

Is there a religious or cultural reason that the pebbles were placed on top of each other? Or it's merely a scenario of monkey see, monkey do. Which would be somewhat similar to the situation in hawker centres; i see a queue and think food must be good, so i queue up too! 

Another explanation; maybe it's a test of your perseverance and focus to balance as many pieces of stone as you could without them toppling over. 

Whatever the case, it was a lovely sight and judging from the silence of those who were checking out the stones, i assume many were of the opinion that it wasn't a matter of just monkey see, monkey do. 

Honestly, i didn't know any better and proceeded to 'stake' my visit with a piece of stone. For a person without much patience, i opted for a small, flat one.

That's mine as indicated by the red arrow.

Unlike those who chose a more difficult path, i wasn't willing to wet my shoes and risk dropping my camera into the water just to place the pebble on the stack of stones on a hard-to-reach boulder. 

Oh well, to each his or her own. 

Furthermore, there were disgusting discharge at the river banks and there's no way i would put my naked feet into the water! I wasn't feeling very adventurous that day, i guess. 

A view of the Tegenungan Waterfall which i would share more in detail hopefully in my next few postings! There's an urgent need to complete more so that i can start on the posts for Hokkaido

At least this boulder was more achievable with a rocky pathway that would not wet my shoes. I didn't put a pebble though; objective was to take a picture with the waterfall as a backdrop. 

Looked fat; hence, i wouldn't be sharing the photo. haha. I did check with the driver the reasons for those stacked stones; according to him, people do it for fun. Oh.

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Location
Before reaching the waterfall at 
Jl. Raya Tegenungan, Kemenuh, Ubud 80581, Indonesia.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sukawati Art Market in Ubud - The Balinese Art Place @ Bali [Indonesia]

I was under the impression that we had arrived at the famous Ubud market as there's nothing on the itinerary sent to us that we would be visiting an art market and the road was pretty jammed; implying that this was a hot spot for visitors!

Since it was our official first day in Bali, excitement was more the emotional gist for the moment and we didn't object when the drivers (three cars in total) suggested an hour at the pasar.

Well, I wouldn't have known any better given that my personal itinerary focused more on Kuta (where the Grand Istana Rama hotel is) and its immediate surroundings. Outside of that region; i researched very little.

The truth on where we were slowly sunk in; the exact item missing from the tour itinerary is Sukawati Art Market (also known as Psar Seni Sukawati) and to allocate an hour does seem extremely long for something that has not been indicated on the official document.

Whatever the case, I don't believe in being pessimistic; might as well make the best of what we have and in total honesty, the place was an eye-opener for a person who is making his first visit to the culturally-infused Island of the Gods!

It was also pretty much a local area and you can see people going through the daily routine without a care for the tourists with cameras! Speaking of which, the ladies were adept in balancing their market buys on their heads!

A meeting point was required and there's no better place that at the side of this street that borders two main buildings that had the same name as the art market.

That's also where we had an amazing steamed corn purchased from the chain-smoker seller! You wouldn't miss him as i didn't recall seeing any competitor near him.

If you are craving for fruits, check out the stall opposite the corn seller where you can find seasonal fruits like the scaly looking salak!

Young kids would be entertained by the cute colored chicks although I had encountered such chicks in my late primary / early secondary school days. A friend even bought one and reared it in the HDB flat and in case you are wondering, the chick outgrew the colour when it matures.

Want something more exciting? Go for the toys as shown above and scare the hell out of the kids! I don't know much about Balinese mythology and Hinduism to comment any further.

Exact meeting point for the group - where this statue stood.

Toy seller marketing his wares right outside the temple. I honestly couldn't decide if the cluster of balloons were balloons or beach balls on sticks.

Typical of me - the post is peppered by photos of randomness; can't resist when i have so many photographs to share! Caption; little boy playing with his toy car.

Though this particular balancing is easier, i am still amazed by their skills. Wouldn't this hurt their neck and for a short person like me, my naive thinking is that such action would make us shorter; no?

Time to explore the building!

Decided to enter from the side entrance and as you can see, paintings were lined up by the side of the staircase. This is something you probably wouldn't see in Singapore as the weather is darn unpredictable and a supposedly sunny day doesn't discount the possibility of a heavy downpour.

The interior was cramped and I was glad there wasn't many visitors as it would likely result in a claustrophobic stuffiness that Singaporeans usually avoid.

Stairwell decorated with paintings; I was so tempted to get that neon painting of a lion for the plain white wall at home. Fortunately, I am relatively good in curbing my temptation, unless it involves food.

From the second level at the main entrance; as we had plenty of time to kill, I figured we should check out the quieter alley connected to the building.

Artwork again - I think I have reached that point in age that things don't really quite excite me for an extended period of time; boredom comes rapidly and the only solution is to take more photos.

The alley which appeared to be forgotten by the visitors; maybe because it was a Thursday and i can assume that business would be better on weekends.

Dreamcatchers - thought this was more a native American thing rather than authentically Balinese. Oh well, commercialism wins; demand results in supply.

You can also find clothing with kitschy and touristy designs; nothing caught my fancy as i had purchased at least a year's worth of tops in my Bandung visit!

Toys for the young kid within you! When i was young and living in a village, we would improvise using a Y-shaped wooden branch and a rubber to make a catapult. We can of course buy from the store in the wet market but my thrifty father would never allow that.

Other end of the valley that faces the main street.

Chopped coconuts lined up the wall; unsure if it's part of a religious ritual or mainly as decorations after visitors were done drinking the coconut water.

Bins for rubbish - it's actually quite clean in Bali despite a lack of dustbins. The same can't be said of Singapore as littering appears to be having a comeback in recent years.

Checking out the local wet market; Pasar Umum Sukawati! To view more photographs, you may refer to the link here.

After showing quite a number of pictures, I have yet to show you the primary street where you would be able to browse through a wider variety of artwork; be it wooden carvings, paintings, wind chimes, traditional musical instruments etc.

Let's have the following photographs do the talking!

Normal enough and nothing that would make your eyes pop out of the sockets right? That's because i am leaving the interesting ones below.

For example - the scary masks that would be a great prop for the upcoming Halloween! For a horror freak, i am not so much into Halloween as it has not really been part of my growing up and now that i am older, i prefer to stay at home and have a good rest.

Chairs that had the Buddha's palm as your seat and his fingers as the backing; frankly, they did seem a bit morbid from far although they were rather impressive.

Buckets that appeared to have been carved out from a single piece of wood; there were no lines and the surface was smooth! Either my eyes were playing trick on me or the workmanship was skillful enough to have sanded away the fused lines.

Lifelike wooden sculptures of monitor lizards! Put a few in your garden; i bet it would scare away a few thieves who didn't know better!

Don't get those funny looking chickens; the thieves would likely have a good laugh over those blank expressions and strangely positioned legs.

Towering wooden sculpture that's about two meters tall.

This would be the R-rated section; did you spot anything out of the norm? Hint; the lengthy, pointy one somewhere in the middle.

Apparently, the wooden phallic items are commonly bought as souvenirs (in the form of magnets, key chains, bottle openers) by tourists and i would have considered them for my friends if i am younger. At my age, this would be considered as inappropriate.

I didn't have anything in mind to buy as the concept of my house is relatively modernistic and plays with basic black and white. The colourful mirrors and mosaic glass plates did catch my fancy as they would add in a playful splash amidst the black and white but i am too lazy to bargain.

Another item would be wind chimes although they would not be suitable in an apartment; i can guarantee you that the music would most likely drive my elderly neighbours crazy! And in Singapore, it's often believed that there is a ghost should you hear the wind chimes without any wind.

But their "melodies" were so soothing to the ears!

The area hadn't been enveloped by commercialism and you can still catch snippets of the local life.

Again, i couldn't differentiate what's private and what's public temple. Doors shut and i presume this would likely be the main door to the compound of a home, instead of a temple.

Another temple.

Locals flying kites as it's the windy season for kite competition and many locals were practicing their skills so that they could win the top prize!

Bottles of blue liquid which were actually fuel for the motor vehicles. While we go to a petrol station to pump petrol, it's the norm to buy smaller quantities in Indonesia, especially if you ride a motorcycle.

Even LPG was in cute, baby-sized portions!

You can take your pick from the back of a pickup truck! Many explanations can be used to describe a picture, as i just did, although i do believe this was more to ferry the wind chimes and other sculptures to another area.

Clean yet empty side of the alley leading to the local homes. My primary concern was more the piles of "gold" leftover the many dogs in the area. Walk with caution!

A Balinese lady lacquering her wares; i did ask for her permission before i shot the photograph. In Bali, people were friendly and I did not face any rejection for photo-requests.

After spending four days in Bali, the biggest souvenir shop i encountered was the Matahari department store at Kuta. However, there's no bargaining. Another pretty big one was at Sukawati Art Market, nearing the end and i guess you can work on your bargaining skill there if you are purchasing a lot.

Many travellers would do a U-turn once they reached the end of the road but i did notice there were more shops across the road and decided to check them out given that we did have more than sufficient time.

It's like the wooden carvers' village and would be paradise for those seeking carvings of traditional Balinese design. I was thanking god then that i had made the correct choice by opting for black and white for my house!

Lorry with household products for the locals (yes, i presume and reason being that there's a super low likelihood that a foreigner would buy the things).

Road leading to a higher concentration of local housing.

Basically a wholesale centre for wood carvings! I see more store owners than foreigners and even though i know i would not be harmed in anyway if i enter, there's a chance i would be harassed into buying something!

Don't know what's that thing that held the canang sari (flower offerings); maybe an altar without any idol on it? With the society being more developed, i am of the opinion that there will be a huge demand for the supply or readily made canang sari.

Bursting drain; don't know where the water was coming from. Weather that day was rather gloomy with a wet weather forecast; maybe the highlands were raining by then.

Intricate stone caving of a Balinese myth / legend.

Almost back to the meeting point where we would meet up with the rest of our entourage. See that building with thin, wooden blocks blocking the windows? Put it in a quieter area and i guarantee you that people would start weaving stories of haunting.

Last look of the Sukawati Art Market main street!

Be careful when you are at the messy carpark as there were so many cars and they continued to stream in as we proceeded to walk out.

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Location
Jalan Raya Sukawati, Sukawati,
Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582,
Indonesia (Near Ubud)


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