Young Boy Celebrates Nyepi in Bali – Photo Essay

In the weeks leading up to Nyepi in Bali, the boys of Bali start preparing for the ogoh ogoh processions, building elaborate monsters to scare away the demons. There was one boy in particular who I became a little infatuated with.  He lives in our village, although I am not sure whose he is.  I just found him adorable. I first noticed him in his red shirt and white udeng hanging around the smallest of the ogoh ogohs, just trying to take in what was going on around him. Then, I noticed him climbing inside the bamboo holding platform that is used to carry the ogoh ogoh in the procession. He was about half the size of the rest of the boys who were scheduled to carry the ogoh ogoh that night, but he didn’t care.  He desperately wanted to be there.  Helping.  Participating.   Several times, the older boys practiced lifting and carrying the ogoh ogoh, and this little boy was right in the middle of it.  Several times the ogoh ogoh was lifted, and they lifted the little boy right off his feet, leaving him dangling a few inches above the ground.   Finally, his mother pulled him out and away from potential danger.  I gave him a lot of credit though.  Cute little kid....

Scarecrows of Bali

One of my favorite things about living in Bali is watching the cycle of rice growing.  Yeah, the gorgeous, bright green, terraced rice fields make for postcard perfect tourist photos, but watching what goes into growing rice is simply stunning.  It has caused me to be more appreciative of every grain of rice.  We have seen several cycles so far, from preparing the fields, to planting the rice, to tending the crop, and into harvesting.  All of it complicated, and still something I do not truly understand. As the rice nears its final stages, though, it becomes attractive to the birds.  And, much like the image I have of farms in the US, probably inspired a bit from the Wizard of Oz, the rice farmers here in Bali use scarecrows to frighten the birds.  I believe the scarecrows of Bali, though, are unique, and unlike any I have seen before. Our gardener, Pak Mejo, tends the rice outside of our villa.  We see he and his wife working daily, even during Nyepi, to ensure a good crop.  They arrive early in the morning and spend the day working from one of the wooden shacks, which holds their tools and allows them a place to escape the hot afternoon sun. Pak Mejo and his wife created four new scarecrows just outside of our villa.  They each are dressed in local Balinese clothing, and were so detailed, I had to explore the fields, with camera in tow, to capture the detail of the scarecrows in Bali. This scarecrow, in full action, holding a flag to make the birds think she is...
The Boys of Nyepi in Bali – a Photo Essay

The Boys of Nyepi in Bali – a Photo Essay

I rarely take photos around town.  It is not like I am a tourist, snapping shots to commemorate a trip.  I often think about bringing my camera out with me, to drive around the villages for a day taking photos.  But, then, my regular schedule kicks in, and I just live my life as an expat, living in Bali. The day before Nyepi in Bali, however, I wanted to take advantage of living in Ubud during one of the most important holidays of the year. I wanted to be a tourist in my own village.  I took the requisite pictures of the ogoh ogohs, and posted them to Facebook, like many of my friends in Ubud. But for me, the most interesting photos were not of the ogoh ogoh themselves, but in the boys carrying them.   Nyepi is definitely a holiday for the boys of Bali.  They dress up like miniature versions of  their fathers, with their sarong and head covering, an udeng.   The girls do this as well for most Balinese holidays and ceremonies, wearing small sarongs and lace tops called kebaya.  For Nyepi in Bali, though, the girls take a back seat, and the boys are the stars.   They join together to make the neighborhood’s ogoh ogoh, and then they carry them together as a group through the village. They took pride in making the finishing touches on the ogoh ogoh. You could just see how excited some of the smaller boys were to participate in the ceremonial procession, some nervous with anticipation. I am sure the older men tired of it after so...
My First Yogathon in Bali – a Photo Essay

My First Yogathon in Bali – a Photo Essay

For those of you with absolutely no interest in yoga, I apologize.  I promise to return to drinking, food, and expat living soon enough.  It just happens that a lot of yoga stuff was going on in Bali, which leaves me to a mess of yoga themed blog posts.  Apologies.   With that disclaimer, I never expected that I would attend a yogathon in Bali.  In fact, I had no idea there was such a thing as a yogathon, but apparently there is.  I had no plans to attend.  It was not something I looked forward to.  Nonetheless, stars aligned and I found myself catching a ride south, to Canggu, for my first Yogathon at Desa Seni. The Yogathon in Bali is an annual event, and an unofficial kickoff for the BaliSpirit Festival, a 5 day yoga, music, and dance event in Ubud.  The Yogathon, though, is a chance to raise money for a charity, while offering two studios of yoga, all day long.  Sixty minute classes, back to back, from 8 am until 6 pm.   I arrived just before 10 am and jumped in full bore, taking three classes back to back, with Simon Low, Emily Kuser, and then Eion Finn.  By 1pm I was hot, sweaty, dirty, and exhausted, even after feeling the High Vibes with Emily and the Blissology with Eion.  I attempted one more class at 2, but just wasn’t feeling it.  Instead, I snuck in a shower and a cool down.  One of my good friends, Les Leventhal, was teaching at 3 and I knew I did not have it in me for...
Eng’s Noodle House Singapore – Photo Essay

Eng’s Noodle House Singapore – Photo Essay

I think I am getting island fever.  I love living here in Bali, and generally praise the food, but anytime a foodie lives in a small town, at some point they itch to try something new.  They think about what is missing from the local food scene. They fantasize about food. I have yet to have noodle hallucinations, but I do miss some of the great Chinese food we have had in places like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.  Considering we have two more months before we leave the island on our first visa run in six months, I am left salivating over photos of Eng’s Noodle House in Singapore.  It did not help that our Singaporean friend, Leigh, was visiting last week, and was tempting us with offers of exploring more of Singapores famous food stalls. We visited Eng’s several times during our trips to Singapore, as it is a short walk from where we were house sitting for George and Daisy.  It was not our intended destination that first night.  We tried to go to a strange sort of hawker center, which had a pleasant Thai pork dish we had the day before.  Unfortunately, the stall was closed, as were most of the other stalls in the food court.  Deflated, we started to walk back towards the house, while trying to find an alternative for dinner.  Eric had his heart set on that pork, though. As we walked the busy street, we were drawn in by the simple sign, and the even simpler menu at Eng’s Noodle House Singapore on Tajong Katong.  The place was also pretty packed, which...
Sunsets in Bali – a Photo Essay

Sunsets in Bali – a Photo Essay

My goal with this blog is not to make people who are living in the cold depths of the United States or Canada feel jealous, or to hate me in anyway.  Honest.  It’s the truth.  I will however, encourage other people who feel stuck in their lives or stuck in their jobs to make a little bit of a change, or make a big huge change.  I am well aware that not everyone can pick up and move to Bali, but people do, and lots of folks out there can.  Even those of you who read this and say “well I can’t,” you never know. So, for this week’s Friday Fotos, I thought I would provide some inspiration.  We managed to score a house in Bali that has simply stunning sunsets most nights of the week. What is even more amazing is how different the sunsets can be.  It is like a new painting in the sky, each and every night.  We don’t take photos of the sunsets every night, as we often attempt to play the game of experiencing life rather than recording life.  But, when we do take photos, they tend to provide a snapshot, a mere glimpse, of what our evenings are like living in Ubud, Bali.  And, I barely edited these photos, no photoshopping here. And, this particular night was one of my favorites.  The rice was just harvested around the house, leaving still pools of water behind.  For one night, I imagined what it would be like to live on water front property.  The reflections of the sunset in the rice paddies was simply...