Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 33 - Bali

We arrived at Benoa Port, Bali, Indonesia to a beautiful sunrise this morning.  There is one problem with going out on the balcony to get a quick photo in this part of the world.  The camera lens always fogs up as soon as I take it from the air conditioned room to the humid air outside.   I've tried wiping the lens, but it just fogs up again until the camera warms up.  So the first few shots I took of this sunrise look a lot hazier than they should.

Our tour for today was "Balinese Arts & Crafts."  We had to meet the tour at 8:30AM, so we had breakfast in our room again. We are just not morning people, but the frequent time zone changes we've made help.  We've gone through 5 time zones since we boarded the ship In Auckland, each one giving us another hour to sleep in the mornings.

The tour was very interesting.  It seems that everyone in Bali is either an artisan or a farmer.  We began by visiting a place where they made beautiful bamboo furniture.   They have over 60 varieties of bamboo and they have mastered the craft.  We both left with a new appreciation for this art.

The next stop was a woodcarving village.  The local population is Hindu, and they believe in many gods.  The first thing they do when they build a house is to build a small home temple. Every temple needs statues.  Some are wooden and some are stone.  Although we did not stop at a stone carvers shop, we saw many many examples of this art form as we drove around the island.  In the wood carving shop they also had many animal carvings and wall hangings.  We picked up a nice wall hanging of carved birds.

Temple behind Artist Community.
Painting was the next craft we saw.  The guide brought us to an artist community where they had many rooms showing paintings in many styles.  The work was beautiful. A few of the artists were working out on the front porch to demonstrate their craft.   There were so many rooms I almost couldn't find my way out again. 

There was a large temple area behind the art studios.  Ray took the photo of it at the left.  Note the cloth around the waist of the main statue.  The locals believe that a checkered cloth represents the balance between good and evil and that wrapping their statues in a cloth like this will ward off evil.  Another item in this photo is not quite as obvious. There are 2 red and gold cages to the right of the temple, behind the tree.  These hold fighting cocks, one of the popular island sports.

Gold and silver jewelry was next.  They have to import the material from other islands, but the jewelry is made here.  They also had some beautiful filigreed wall art and figurines such as ships, birds, and buildings.  The work was very delicate and detailed.

The last stop was a place where they hand-made batik cloth.  There are 3 methods.  The first is to draw a design on cloth, cover areas that are not to be dyed with wax, then dip the cloth in the color desired for the design.  Since a batik always has the design on both sides, the wax must be applied to both sides.   The second way is to stamp a pattern onto a cloth.  They use metal stamps, most of which appeared to be about 8-10" squares, so the pattern is repeated over the cloth.  The third way to to weave the cloth.  Of course, this was also a store where you could buy art, bolts of material, scarfs, sarongs, shirts, and other clothing.

Rice Paddies

As I mentioned, the locals all seem to be either artists or farmers. Every inch of land we saw was filled with something.  If there was a few feet of open land, there would be rice fields of some other plants growing in neat rows.

I really enjoyed Bali and would have like to have seen more. We were originally supposed to be in Bali for 2 days and had a second tour called "Ancient Bali" scheduled, but since we got here a day late that is not to be.   Maybe if we're lucky we might get back here some day.

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