We have traveled away from the ocean and back again since last we spoke. When we left Uluwatu, we were pretty insistent on finding transport with seat belts so G could be in a car seat for the long ride. Felt kind of silly, though, as we tucked into traffic behind motorbike after motorbike with entire families on them, including all ages of babies. How the Balinese can convince a 1 year old not to squirm as they navigate Kuta’s crowded streets I would like to know! Ian’s favorite was one sarong-clad woman nursing an infant, driving her motorbike and texting on her phone all at once.
So we made our incredibly safe way up to the mountain town of Ubud for a few days of rice paddies, art and temples. Ubud, for those of you “Eat, Pray, Love” fans needs no introduction. It is considered the cultural hub of Bali and much of the wood, silver and paintings comes from Ubud and the areas around it. Therefore the art market is sensational, as are the little boutiques with a far more sophisticated edge than most other stores on the island. Also not to be missed are the extensive galleries and museums, At one, the ARMA, you can catch the young girls practicing their Legong dance in the afternoons for free. Another big draw is the Monkey Forest, aptly named for it’s forest of roaming monkeys and gorgeous temple inside. Of course, G loved this place, even though the monkeys stole our nuts and then our water bottle and climbed all over her Dada in the process. Afraid the zoo will seem a bit boring after this. We also went to outlying sites of 11th century elephant caves, temples of holy springs and tiny warung’s (like a small restaurant joint) nestled into endless hills of terraced rice paddies. Legong dance at the Ubud Palace outdoors (of course) was also sensational with fascinating women of pink and gold lace and impressive warriors with acrobatic feet. Ian and I are constantly struck at how there is no place on earth like Bali. No place has the tropic climate with it’s requisite blooms and fragrances, such a richness of cultural sites and art and of course, these warm, gentle people with gigantic smiles that are always real.
We’ve now made our way back to the beach to a place called Canggu (cha-ngu) due to an interesting turn of events. While here, Ian was recently contracted to do a commercial for Hurley’s new revolutionary boardshorts (they actually repel water and stretch like rubber). That Ian was already here when the job came up was coincidental enough. Even more serendipitous is the fact that the shoot’s star is none other than our neighbor back in Cardiff, Rob Machado, who also has a house in Canguu. I’ll let Ian fill you in on the Fellini-like details of trying to accomplish a first world shoot on a 3rd world island, but all in all I’d say it was incredibly successful and lots of fun to do. In Canggu, we’ve been put up by the D.P. from the shoot and his wife and 10 year old daughter. Of course, once again, Ginger is thrilled to have a big girl to prattle behind. These people have been incredibly welcoming to us and the villa in which they are living is incredible. Karma Island continues to be good to us.
As a post script for Ginger fans, you should know that she is now speaking pretty fluently telling us things like, “Ian not Da-da. Ian Papa!” (she’s heard the Balinese call him that) and “Got stroller now, no sling, no need it.” She also busted out with some Indonesian this morning as we passed a woman on the road through the rice paddies and she called out “Pagi!” which means “Morning!” In memoriam of her quickly dying off Ginger lingo, I wanted to list some words that are all her own, before they get absorbed into boring old proper English. As with all the others, we will miss this stage so! – mitney = blanket – Ninny = Ginger – Burr = vitamin – ee-eee = open it – Uh-sigh = other side