Coconut carving and Jungle adventures

By: Victoria Alarcon

Today we woke up with a bit of a new rhythm here in the village at Munduk Pakel. I woke up at 5:45 to catch the morning sunrise at a beautiful view that Ibu Ari our teacher showed us. We were lucky to see Mt. Agung, Batur and Mt.Bratan from the distance. I thought to myself that if I lived here I would wake up to see it every day. 

After the wonderful view we all ate breakfast at our homes. I ate mie goreng, which is fried rice with an egg on top. And I also had slices of watermelon, cucumber and a delicious tea. Soon after, the group gathered at the classroom to talk about balines medicine healers meaning the right hand is good spirits and left hand is black evil magic. Having this class helped us learn about what the nature here in Bali is used for. Ibu Ari then took us to the jungle to pick plants for medicine, offerings, and food. We then ate the food that we picked and it was delicious (Sambas Matah).

Once we were done some of our friends showed us where the river was so we could bathe. I wasn’t to sure if I wanted to do it but I definitely considered it. After eating and checking out the river we ate again for lunch. Then we gathered together to carve our own coconuts, given to us from our families. It was hard work that took me a while to finish. Then we walked down hill and played volleyball with our new friends including our friend Nate that visited our teacher and joined us. Getting to know new people makes me feel happy about how close humans can be.

We then ate at our homes and meet at the community center here in the village to play gamelan. It was a great way to end the night and I am beyond excited to see what tomorrow has to bring.

Ps: sorry we haven’t been posting. It will get back to the regular schedule tomorrow(:

Sambal Matah

Homestay here we come!

Savannah Palmer (homestay has bad Wi-Fi, no pictures til we’re back in Ubud)

Today was the last day in Ubud until we come back for our performance on Monday. Some of us went on our morning walks, while others prepared for departure. We had our usual pisang (banana) pancakes, fruits, and tea/coffee. Wayan prepared gift bags for us to take to our families, which was much appreciated by both us and our host families. We departed with our big backpacks and excitement at 9:00.

We spent an hour and a half in the van on the way to the village. We all were looking outside our windows, enjoying all the views. There were interesting conversations about environment conservation, traveling, and human rights. The group was dropped off, an we walked an hour to the village. There were miles and miles of rice patties. The terrain was a little rocky, but beautiful nonetheless.

Upon arrival, we were given fresh coconuts to drink out of. Our teacher Ari gave us an introduction to the village, and told the itinerary for the weekend. We walked to her mothers house and had one of the best meals yet. We ate an assortment of different foods like rice, chicken, green beans, fried corn patties, and watermelon. We drew names from a bowl to be matched with our host families. I was matched with Grandma Indah. Everyone went their separate ways.

I walked around the village and studied some Indonesian before I met with the group at 3:00 pm. We were all dressed in our sarongs, and we attended a wedding! The bride was absolutely beautiful and the traditions were completely different than in the USA. We had some food at the wedding, watched the ceremony, and left.

At 6:00 we ate dinner at our homestays. I had fried rice, a fried egg, and shrimp chips. At 7:00 we met at Ari’s house. We went to a dance that was being held in the village. We danced the Cupid Shuffle, and we each got to dance with Balinese dancers. It was really fun. The dance ended around 9:00, and we all went home. Goodnight Bali, goodnight families back home!

An Average Day

By: Lauren Maestas-Chavez

Today began as an ordinary day with breakfast, a short meeting, and a bus ride to our dance/music class. Each day, class becomes a bit easier, but as we get better, new levels of difficulty unlock as we master previous techniques. Today’s lunch was at Manga Madu followed by a bus ride to our painting/puppet making class where we progressed on our work. Each day we inch closer and closer to a final product. With another bus ride home, we relax until around 6:30pm where we would gather in the commons room to walk to dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at Tutmak which gives us a big meal to to prepare us for our time staying at the home stays which you will learn more about in the coming days.

Busy Day in Bali

By: Kiera Mermejo-Varga

We started our daily morning routines at 6 am and continued to embrace what’s in our backyard. It was time for breakfast and we all enjoyed our banana pancakes and eggs.

The group continued dance class and the new instrument we have learned Rindik. We all became more familiar and comfortable with both the dance and the instrument. After class, we went to a barbecue restaurant and ate delicious teriyaki chicken and fish. We all left lunch feeling full and satisfied with our meal.

After lunch, the group went to the market and used our bargaining skills to shop. We all bought gifts for our family back home. When we finished shopping, we headed to Anam’s ( our shadow puppet teacher) household and witnessed a temple ceremony and listened to Gamelan (music). Then, we headed another temple ceremony that Gusti (our painting teacher) invited us to. There we looked at all the beautiful traditional Balinese regalia and watched a variety of dances. 

Our busy day has come to an end and everyone is ready to go to bed. Some went to the Savannah Moon for a little dinner before bed. It was a long and busy day, but everybody got through it and we are looking forward to the adventure ahead. 

Back To Our Daily Routine

By Gabriel Alarcon Macias

Today was my designated day and I woke up really early to wake everybody. Luckily, some of them were already up on their morning walks and runs ready to begin the day. As breakfast came by, we all enjoyed our daily meals. We had a quick morning meeting and were running a bit late but we managed to get to the bus stop on time.

On our way to our morning class, we enjoyed the daily views of downtown Ubud from outside our windows. We see beautiful things such as decorations outside of temples, people gathered on the steps of local businesses having conversations, and the green scenery. Then we arrive to our new classes, dance and rindik(Music).

Our classes go smoothly as usual and after a few hours, we are ready for lunch. As we all enjoyed our meals at Manga Madu, we talk about our favorite movies of all time, games we play on our phones, and current relationships.

When finished, we head out to our afternoon classes. Some of us enjoy our time while painting the first couple layers of paint in puppet class, while others finish inking and shading our pieces in painting. When class was over, 4 of us enjoyed and sang along to some American pop music from a technology store while we waited for the bus to arrive. As we arrived to our hotel, we enjoyed some time to relax and rest.

Our day ended with a delicious meal at Sweet Orange up in the rice patties. Our walk there was quite relaxing; we enjoyed a short time in the dark rice fields, and we had nice conversations. The dinner was particularly exquisite tonight I’d have to say. After we finished and talked for a bit, a small kitten appeared and was the center of attention for the night. A great way to finish the night with great people. Thank you Bali for another day. 🎑

New week, new adventures!

By: Franki Maestas-Chavez

Hello, I’m person of the day again, just doing the usual. Waking everyone up at 6:15, then everyone does their own thing then breakfast around 8. The breakfast is always good especially the banana pancakes that I can’t get enough of!

We started off the day with dance class, the girls stayed together to learn the welcome dance and the boys learned a new instrument called “rindik’ the dance moves seemed easy yet it was shockingly difficult. As went went through all the moves 3 times it was time to switch with the boys so they could learn their warrior dance. The new instrument is like a xylophone but made of bamboo. The melody was difficult to learn but as soon as we got the hang of it our teachers had us use both hands which was even more difficult. It seemed as if our hands wouldn’t cooperate with us. Overall it was really fun!

For lunch we went to our usual spot then separated into our groups, painting class and puppet making class. We started painting our puppets, we started off with the base coat then began painting with the color that we chose.

As we got home, we hung out for awhile then ate some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before we headed off to see the Junjungan Village perform the “Kecak Dance.” During this, the performers are chanting “cak-cak-cak” which portrays the chanting of monkeys, thats where it gets its name. It also fills the role of the orchestra, simulating the staccato rhythms of the gamelan. It really was a sight to see! The dancers were beautiful. It was also a great way to end the day as we all enjoyed the performance.

Mie goreng, chicken, fruit oh my!

By Victoria Alarcon

The day started off with morning walks and breakfast in the common room. We gathered our sarongs and our sweaters because we were told we would be going to temples and it will be a little colder than here in Ubud. We got a luxury ride that had air conditioning because we were gonna be on the bus for a long time. We were also told that we were gonna eat with a beautiful view of Mt Agung and Mt Batur.

On our way to the temples we were able to see amazing stacked rice patties and so much vegetation. I had never seen so much green in my life, there were trees above us and to the right and left of us. We finally arrived to the first temple called pura gunung kawi sebatu, it was very peaceful and I enjoyed watching many fish trying to eat some food above the surface.

Our second stop was a small fruit shop where we bought many new fruits like snake skin and tiny bananas. Before we left, Savannah was being badgered for the first time and we knew it was gonna happen sometime because Gaylon and Zenia warned us. After our delicious snack, we headed toward our second temple which was called bangli batur selatan. It was extraordinary, we were able to see tall Meru towers, and a small ceremony with people from all over Bali.

After the two temples we ate at a buffet with mie goreng, chicken, and fruit it was a great variety of Indonesian food. At this place we saw an incredible view of mt. Agung, mt. Batur and Danau Batur which was a small lake in the middle of both volcanoes. We took many selfies with the view and I can definitely say that I was sad to go.

The last location of the day was Pura Kehen temple with tall structures called candi bentar. Every structures that I have seen of these had very detailed works of art along the walls. Soon after we drove back to town and walked down the road to eat at another buffet.

Every single day here I am extremely thankful for this opportunity. Good night Santa Fe and Happy Father’s Day. Love you papá.

Where are Zenia and Gaylon?

By Savannah Palmer

As the person of the day, it was my duty to wake everyone up at 6:15 am. Today I forgot I was the person of the day, and I did not wake anyone up until much later. Everyone was up a little later than usual. We had our daily banana pancakes, eggs, and fresh fruit. The tea and coffee were tasty as always.

We gathered in the common room to talk about last nights amazing performance. We were all impressed with the dancing and music. During this talk, we were also informed that Gaylon and Zenia would not be joining us for our daily activities. Our three chaperones, William, Sage, and Zoë, were to be in charge.

We left the hotel at 9:30 to go to our last Gamalan class. Music class was a little bittersweet. Our teachers seemed proud of our progress and we all made sure to show our appreciation for their help. Once Gamalan was finished, we headed to our daily lunch spot Mangga Madu and had delicious meals. As we were waiting to depart the restaurant, a butterfly landed on the table between Gabe and I. We watched it for a while before it flew onto Gabe’s wrist. It was awesome! We named him Bill.

With lunch finished, we went to our art classes. My group went to painting class. We finished our drawings, and began going over the pencil with ink. The ink process is very different than in the United States. We had hand carved pens made from wood, and we had to continuously dip the pen in the ink. It was an interesting experience, but it made me appreciate the traditional Balinese art more.

After art classes, we headed back to the hotel, where we were reunited with Zenia and Gaylon. Once we were there, the kids went out on the town. Some played soccer and some went shopping. Afterward, we each enjoyed a nice drink. I had a Thai tea (it was tasty).

Around 6:40 we headed back to the hotel. The group decided that we would go to a new restaurant instead of Savannah Moon. The new restaurant had good “glass” noodles (transparent noodles). Gaylon and Zenia took us out for an ice cream bar once we were done eating.

At the hotel, we ordered our breakfast for the next morning. We then played with the kids from the hotel for a little bit and hung out a bit after before we all called for lights out.

The Pouring Skies

By Lauren Maestas-Chavez

With an early rise, we are greeted by the sound of rain hitting the ground. Eating breakfast was pleasant as always. As we finished up, we readied for the day by equipping a raincoat from Zenia and Gaylon. With raincoats over us, we headed to our gamelan class.

With a successful gamelan class completed, we ate lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, we separated into our groups with the making class left in the middle of traffic, and the painting class walking their merrily way to the nearby classroom. The puppet making class found themselves waiting in traffic for over an hour, while the painting class were able to make progress on their work.

Once painting class was over, we returned to our home stay where we waited until 6:30 to leave to the performance. The puppet making class, because they were caught up in traffic so long, met us at the Balerung Stage.

The performance by the famous dancers and musicians of Peliatan, Tirtasari, was soon going to begin. The instrumental portion, known as Sekar Gendut, was the opening section. The second portion was the Puspa Mekar. This dance is offered to the audience as a welcoming and a blessing. The third portion was the Legong Lasem. This dance tells a story of a lady of the court, a prince, and a princess, and the conflicts between them, love, and higher power. The fourth portion was the Kebyar Terompong. A dance and musical performance that includes the instrument known as Terompong. The fifth portion was the Legong Jobog. A dance that tells the story of two brothers, kings Bali and Sugriwa, who were turned into monkeys by chasing the powerful magic brought by Princess Dewi Anjani. After being turned into monkeys, they did not recognize each other so they begin fighting. After neither of them win, they become tired and recognize each other as Bali and Sugriwa, notice they’ve been changed into monkeys, and then become very sad. The sixth and final portion of the performance was the Barong Taru Pramana. I would suggest that you look this last performance up for a greater explanation.

With the wonderful performance over, we returned to the hotel, where after a long and tiring day, everyone divided into their rooms to get some rest. Selamat Malam!!