Ubud – Cultural Center of Bali

Ubud – Cultural Center of Bali

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Ubud!  Ubud is considered the cultural center of Bali and is located inland on the island.  It is also a pilgrimage location of every girl who is a fan of the book “Eat, Pray, Love.” Yes, it is a tourist destination.  In fact, it is the most touristy spot I have been to on my entire trip, I would say.  By far! And it definitely felt like a shock to the system after 5 months of travel especially coming from Vietnam.  I have to say even though it is a little more touristy than I am use to, I really liked it in Ubud.  Good place.

When I landed in Bali, I got in a taxi straight for Ubud and skipped the beach resort towns close to the airport.  They are more the Cancun-ish style resort places from what I have heard which wasn’t really what I was looking for.  Logistically Ubud made the most sense for me heading east and plus I heard good things about Ubud.  At first when I pulled into Ubud, it was crazy busy.   High end shops, spas, overpriced western meals, expensive drinks, and plenty of places for people who are looking to blow some vacation dollars. I would say it really caters to more a vacation style crowd than to travelers.  After I started walking down the street and I noticed it was so quiet.  Where are the horns?  I have been traveling now for 5 months and every place I have been to has a constant cacophonous sound “BEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP!” You almost get use to it after a while….it wasn’t until I didn’t hear the beeping, until I really noticed.  Okay….no horns.  Maybe I like this.  Yes, I like this.  It feels so peaceful!!  Relaxing!  Okay now I am starting to get why people love this place so much.  It is a relaxing state of mind.  Hawaii has the “Aloha” spirt, Costa Rica has the “Pura Vida” spirit, Belize has the “Go Slow” spirit, and Bali definitely has a “Bali” spirt.  I’m not sure if there is a word for it but I will try to find out.  The people seem pretty laid back and even with the hoards of tourist, they seem pretty happy that they are there.  Lots of smiles, thank yous, good customer service, and very welcoming from what I have gathered. I like it.  You can also find plenty cheap authentic restaurants on side streets as well.  The market has a certain hilarious obsession with some pretty funny bottle openers that would be perfect for any bachelorette party.  On top of having a great vibe and a funny sense of humor, there is a lot to do. You have a monkey forest, temples, rafting, sunrise hiking up a volcano, yoga, plenty of places to explore on a bike, elegant dancing plays, and live music.  I’m trying to heal my torn ligament in my toe so I opted out of some of those activities for more toe friendly activities.  I still had a blast though and it was so nice to relax for a bit.  Ubud is definitely a cool place.

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I love the intensity of the look.  I would love to better understand the meaning behind the bold look.  It is seen in many dances and even in the art around Ubud.

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I got lucky enough to be in Ubud for a dance competition that is only every other year.  As I started taking photos at the side of the stage, one of the locals directed me to go in front.  “Me? In front of the judges and everybody?  There’s nobody else there? So many people taking photographs and they are all standing in the back”  “Oh! wait maybe he thinks I’m a journalist or something?”  Okay roll with it! “Yes, yes…National Geographic coming through!”  🙂

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All smiles!

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Kecak Fire and Trance Dance.  The dances of Ubud are just amazing!!! I think these dances are a great way to really see into a heritage of a society.

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Monkey Forest!  Feels like you are in “Planet of the Apes”  Really really cool place!  It is a forest with lots and lots of monkeys and statues. I could have sat in this forest for days taking photographs!  So as I was taking this photo, I heard some obnoxious tourist belch on me. “Beeeaaaaalllllccchhhh!”  What the heck!  What kind of unclassy person does that.   Did he just belch on me!!!???” It startled me, irritated me, and I pulled the camera down to give this jerk who just belched on me the “Peyton Manning” stink eye.  [See below what the Peyton Manning stink eye is] As I pulled down the camera to give my stink eye, I saw this drooling vicious looking monkey with 5 inch fangs growling looking right at me.  “ahhhh!!!” Then I remembered a warning sign at the entrance to the park.  Do not look at monkeys in the eye.  It can been seen as a sign of aggression.  “Oh no, I just gave him the Peyton Manning stinkeye”  “He’s going to kill me!!!”  “ahhhh!!! I’m sorrry. I’m Sorry!!!!!”  I immediately jumped back…way back!!! Then got as far away as possible.   You know that feeling where you want to run as fast as you can but you don’t want to send this thing into a chasing frenzy like trying to run from a dog.   As I got a little distance, I looked up at this angry monkey and I then realized that he was giving me the Peyton Manning stink eye.

Peyton Manning Stink eye.  – Quarterback for Denver Broncos and is one of the greatest and most competitive players that American Football has ever seen.  He’s the nicest guy in the world but at times he will give the “Peyton Manning stink eye.”  Anyone who has ever received one of these stink eye looks, immediately trembles with fear, apologizes, and prays to the gods above that they will live to see another day.  Trust me…you never want the Peyton Manning stink eye!!”

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Here is a statue of the monkey who nearly killed me.

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wpid-20150813_095341.jpgCourtyard in front of my room where I stayed at.

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