Photos from the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets

Photos from the Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets

Here are my photos from our visit to the mask and puppet museum near the village of Mas in Bali.  There are many masks from major Balinese performance traditions of Calonarang, Topeng, and Wayang Wong included. There were also masks from other Indonesian isles and many other countries. I’ve included text from the museum placards (or at least the spirit of it) in the descriptions for each photo.

Enjoy!  Full photo album from the trip forthcoming!

Your friendly neighborhood mask maker,

Tony

 

This trip was made possible in part by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

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Things to Remember

The Surprises of Surprise

Wearing one of I.B. Anom's creations the first week in Bali.
Wearing one of I.B. Anom’s creations the first week in Bali.

Re-entry is interesting. And by interesting, I mean full of surprises. Surprise is also, itself, interesting. And therefore surprise is…surprising.

I’m not just playing circular word games.  Surprise, like accidents, cannot ever be fully predicted.  For example, when thinking about my reactions to coming back to the US after studying abroad, I could see some likely outcomes, and was therefore relatively prepared for those. But re-entry is surprising (=interesting (=surprising)). No matter how much I might look ahead or prepare, there will always be something surprising, something I won’t see coming.  Yet somehow I’m always surprised by the fact that I get surprised. And that’s interesting.

Melati Cottages, our home away from home. At the time this picture was taken, Portland was 66 degrees colder than Bali. But that was to be the least surprising change.
Melati Cottages, our home away from home. At the time this picture was taken, Portland was 66 degrees colder than Bali. But that was to be the least surprising change.

It was surprising to me to find the way in which the known parts of my life at home were feeling foreign. Suddenly awake and confused with jetlag at 4am, I looked at everything  in my room.  “This is mine. I chose these things. This is the way they look.”  Somehow it felt all very faraway. Recognizable, yes; but the thread of connection was difficult to perceive.

Nyoman Setiawan and I at the last group class in Pondok Pekak.
Nyoman Setiawan and I at the last group carving class in the Pondok Pekak Learning Center in Ubud.

A few days have passed, and the feeling has largely diminished. And as my home reality takes precedence, I want to record a list of sights and impressions from my trip before they, too, seem distant and difficult to connect with.

Sights and Sites

The second room I enjoyed at Melati Cottages. Much whiter and open than my first accommodations. Aren't mosquito nets ineffably romantic?
The second room I enjoyed at Melati Cottages.  Aren’t mosquito nets ineffably romantic?

(These are in no particular order)

° Sidewalks are segmented, and some stones  have metal handles. The walkway often has several stones which have fallen in, revealing the water channels beneath. These channels are all connected to each other.

Lucy and I in temple dress at a ceremony in Batuan.
Lucy and I in temple dress at a ceremony in Batuan.

° Sarongs, sarongs, sarongs! They are commonly sold in printed, batik, or ikat fabrics.

° Shops that are all selling mostly the same things, right next to each other. Bargaining is the way things are done. “I give you good price, for luck.” Keep your sense of humor.

School children in their uniforms are frequently seen on motorbikes or waiting for the bemo. Very sharp looking crowd.
School children in their uniforms are frequently seen on motorbikes or waiting for the bemo. Very sharp looking crowd.
Amazing statuary at major intersections is very popular. I vote no billboards, more huge sculpture, America
Amazing statuary at major intersections is very popular. I vote no billboards, more huge sculpture, America.

° The lack of idle chatter about first world problems, celebrities, and so on. How refreshing!

Tempe, a favorite of mine for many years, is an Indonesian food that is a fermented soybean cake. As pictured here, it also battered and fried and served with several types of spicy sambal.
Tempe, a favorite of mine for many years, is an Indonesian food that is a fermented soybean cake. As pictured here, it is also battered and fried and served with several types of spicy sambal.

This is not to say I didn’t witness some very odd Javanese game shows and soap operas on mute in the central room at the hotel.

° Coconut, banana, papaya, and jackfruit trees are widespread. There was even a mangosteen tree on the grounds of the hotel! Thankfully durian were more rare.

Daily breakfast at the hotel included fresh fruit (papaya, pineapple, watermelon, lime), some sort of eggs, and ALWAYS banana crepes.
Daily breakfast at the hotel included fresh fruit (papaya, pineapple, watermelon, lime), some sort of eggs, and ALWAYS banana crepes.

° The frequent appearance of the words “spa” and “villa.” These words are replacing the words “rice paddies” with increasing frequency.

° Bottles of petrol for sale on the side of the road. You can buy in either kecil (small) or besar (large). The large fills your motor scooter tank, and costs 1400 rupiah. That’s about $1.

° Very noticeable is the red and grey and black coloration of so many housing compounds and temples.

Much is exposed to the elements in Bali. Many buildings and restaurants and shops have few external walls, if any.
Much is exposed to the elements in Bali. Many buildings and restaurants and shops have few external walls, if any.

° I enjoyed the moments where I started to understand what I was seeing.  Just the beginning of understanding really, like when you’re learning a language, and every so often you recognize a word instead of only hearing sounds.  The positions of the golden statues I’d seen along the road when I arrived were suddenly recognizable choreography.  When looking at  a painting or temple figure,  I could recognize a character or sometimes a part of the story of the Mahabharata or Ramayana. What was aesthetic appreciation at first now carries more context and has more meaning.

Rice paddies along Jalan Bisma.
Rice paddies along Jalan Bisma.

° Black and white checkered sarongs wrapped around banyan trees, signifying they have a spirit and are protected. These sarongs also sometimes appear on certain statues.  Balinese religion is a fascinating mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism. Good and evil are both acknowledged as forces in the world—our purpose is to keep them in balance.

The family temple, as seen from above, of my mask carving teacher. Note the Moe (of Larry, Curly, and) hairstyle of the small towers.
The family temple, as seen from above, of my mask carving teacher. Note the Moe (of Larry, Curly, and…) hairstyle of the small towers.
Dewi Suraswati, the goddess of learning and the arts. Careful observers will note that in this rendition, a toothbrush is in the mouth of the goose. Much debate among international scholars about the relevance of said toothbrush doubtless to follow.
Dewi Suraswati, the goddess of learning and the arts. Careful observers will note that in this rendition, a toothbrush is in the mouth of the goose. Much debate among international scholars about the relevance of said toothbrush doubtless to follow.
Architectural detail. Much of the construction is cinder block. Scaffolding is done with bamboo.
Architectural detail. Much of the construction is cinder block. Scaffolding is done with bamboo.

° Offerings are everywhere. Not just on the front porch, or in a little box at the corner of a building. Even in the middle of the supermarket, there are offerings.

° Wayan Wija talking to us about his role as a dalang (puppeteer). The dalang is also a sort of a priest and philosopher. He often deals in ancient stories that bring to life questions of philosophy, while also providing something for the eyes to enjoy. Wija says that even in Bali, so many now are filled up with material concerns, few have room in them for philosophy.

I.W. Wija lets us experiment with this amazing expressive shadow puppets at his house in Ubud. (Photo by Yavni Bar-Yam)
I.W. Wija lets us experiment with this amazing expressive shadow puppets at his house in Ubud. (Photo by Yavni Bar-Yam)
At least I looked completely inconspicuous and at ease at all times.
At least I looked completely inconspicuous and at ease at all times.

° Parisawata tour buses choke the small, winding back roads… Chinese and Australian tourists wander in downtown Ubud… white people look hot and uncomfortable while some Balinese are wearing jackets, because it’s cold to them.

° The smell of cempaka incense.

° Frogs performing their own version of a kecak or a gamelan. All three—frogs, chant, and orchestra—produce interlocking sounds that are beautifully trance-like and transporting. But how do the frogs all know to cease at same time?

Nyoman shows off his dancing hands. Carvers are also dancers.
Nyoman shows off his dancing hands. Carvers are also dancers.

° Our mask carving teacher talked to us about the meaning of the progression of the characters in the one-man topeng pajegang. The progression of the story mirrors the the entire life of a person. The dancer moves from the rough path of youth with strong will and body (topeng keras) to the strength of mind and experience (topeng tua) to the enrichment of life gained from sharing experience (topeng penasar) to the leadership of others (topeng dalem) and finally to  success and prosperity (topeng sida karya).

The large market is Ubud is a confusing trail of stalls spanning several buildings and multiple levels.  FYI the scent does not improve as you descend.
The large market is Ubud is a confusing trail of stalls spanning several buildings and multiple levels. FYI the scent does not improve as you descend.
Snake deities called naga line the staircases of this temple at Goa Lawah.
Snake deities called naga line the staircases of this temple at Goa Lawah.
Shadow puppets!  They are painted because they are sometimes used in daylight. Also, the paint design helps remind the puppeteer of the feeling of the character.
Shadow puppets! They are painted because they are sometimes used in daylight. Also, the paint design helps remind the puppeteer of the feeling of the character.

This trip was made possible in part by a professional development grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

At left, how the camera captured Mt. Agung on my last morning walk. However, it was much more visible to the naked eye. At right, a highly altered photograph reveals the outline of the peak. Tricksy mountain.
At left, how the camera captured Mt. Agung on my last morning walk. However, it was much more visible to the naked eye. At right, a highly altered photograph reveals the outline of the peak. Tricksy mountain.

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Whittle by whittle

Mask Progress

I write this blog from the airport as I wait for my flight to Portland to board. I wanted to catch you all up on the masks I’ve been making in Bali. In my last post, you saw the old man bondres  I completed.  My teacher pushed me to start two more, so that I could get the hang of beginning from a simple block of wood.

This is a block of pule wood. It is a bit harder than balsa, but softer than pine. I'm excited to see which woods I might work on in the NW.
This is a block of pule wood. It is a bit harder than balsa, but softer than pine. I’m excited to see which woods I might work on in the NW.

Mask 2:  Gajah Mada

For the second mask, I decided to make one that could be used in the dance we were learning.  I sketched a version of the prime minister that I wanted  to create. He’s a warrior, and the first to dance in the topeng.

Evening out the block of wood in the afternoon.
Evening out the block of wood in the afternoon.
After the first rough blocking, we saw our dance teacher Gustu perform his version of this character. I was inspired by the ferocity of expression in his mask. My sketch changed a bit after that.
After the first rough blocking, we saw our dance teacher Gustu perform his version of this character. I was inspired by the ferocity of expression in his mask. My sketch changed a bit after that.

After I showed my sketch to my teacher, he said it was a “Gajah Mada” character. I was confused, as gajah means elephant. (Remember when I went to the Goa Gajah cave? That was fun.) He said it was more of a metaphor, and refers the feeling of strength of the character.

I am taking this one home to Portland to complete the sanding and painting. This mask will have the eyes painted on, and the dancer sees through the shadow-like slit beneath the eye.
I am taking this one home to Portland to complete the sanding and painting. This mask will have the eyes painted on, and the dancer sees through the shadow-like slit beneath the eye.
topengfinal
This is me performing the topeng keras dance on our performance night. Imagine it danced to firelight if you can. The mask was loaned by our dance teacher, and is very powerful.

Mask 3: The Gentle Giant

Halfway there!
Halfway there!

For my final mask I was to start in Bali, I knew I wanted something a little coarser and with a moving jaw.

Chiseling out the teeth. As I look through his eyes, I realized he a little more dim in the bulb than I originally thought.
Chiseling out the teeth. As I look through his eyes, I realized he a little more dim in the bulb than I originally thought.

While working on this mask, Pak Nyoman stood back and let me figure things out as much as he could, which I appreciated. It can be difficult to willingly dive in to your own inevitable mistakes, but it’s much more worthwhile.

And it’s also a bit slower going! I elected to take a couple of extra classes to get some more guidance.  It was fun to work one on one. We got to talk about mask styles from around the world. Nyoman also mentioned that although he is happy to carve traditional Balinese characters, he also welcomes the challenge of other styles, traditional or modern.

But then again, who wouldn’t?  It’s part of the artist’s work and the human condition to follow inspiration and find those things that feed your soul.

Back in San Francisco, my friend Bird models the latest mask.
Back in San Francisco, my friend Bird models the latest mask.

Though I am en route to Portland, fear not, faithful readers! I will be continuing my blog into the future. There are still some things about Bali to write about, and there will always be more masks I’d love to share with you!

racc_orange_horizThis trip was made possible in part by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

 

A Weekend Outing

Friday Night

Calonarang

Late Friday night at 10:30 pm, we drove to a pura dalem (temple of the dead) in a nearby village to witness a Calonarang ritual. After mistakenly landing at what seemed to be a carnival, then finding a Calonarang, but at the wrong temple, we  arrived and settled in to watch. It was a little hard to follow, but it deals with white and black magic, and honoring the balance between good and evil. We got home around 2:30 am.  To the pictures!

Somewhere after an young woman sings and an old man sings, these 3 clowns come out. I didn't understand the jokes, but the young men around me laughed. Their faces are painted in a sculptural way, making me wonder if sometimes these are masked characters.
Somewhere after an young woman sings and an old man sings, these 3 clowns come out. I didn’t understand the jokes, but the young men around me laughed. Their faces are painted in a sculptural way, making me wonder if sometimes these are masked characters.
Celuluk, a follower of Rangda, is sort of a funny witch. She taunts the clowns.
Celuluk, a follower of Rangda, is sort of a funny witch. She taunts the clowns.
Rangda, the head witch and . Later in the show, a character tries to stab her, but fails.  The end of the ritual involved a dance of Rangda and a human body on the ground which might be dead or alive. It is paraded around a few blocks and then brought to the cemetery, where he revives.
Rangda, the head witch. Later in the show, a character tries to stab her, but fails. The end of the ritual involved a dance of Rangda and a human body on the ground which might be dead or alive. It is paraded around a few blocks and then brought to the cemetery, where he revives.

Saturday

Turtha Empul

The next morning, five of us went to a water temple in Tempaskiring. It was a really awesome place.

My favorite statue at the water temple.
My favorite statue at the water temple.
The spring burbles
The spring burbles
Ariel gets excited about rules.
Ariel gets excited about rules.

A spring billows up through the sand in a rectangular pool populated by some plants, a few minnows and an eel.

Not far away are a couple of pools featuring many spouts from the spring, each with it’s own spiritual function in a purification ritual. The first ten are for cleansing the undesirable aspects of character, the next two for death and cremation rituals (most necessarily skip these), then one for cleansing bad dreams, one for supplying wisdom,  one for erasing unkept promises, one for bad memories, and the final seven for cleansing the seven chakras of the body. It’s a special experience.

The first sequence of purification. Offerings are placed at the spout as a sign of good faith and pure intention in entering into the purification ritual.
Offerings are placed at the spout as a sign of good faith and pure intention in entering into the purification ritual.

Coffee Plantation

Afterwards, a trip to a coffee plantation last weekend was also pretty amazing.  We were lead through a path containing a couple kinds of coffee plants, vanilla vines, cinnamon and clove trees (the leaves smell too!!), ginger flowers, cocoa pods, lemongrass, citronella, and snakefruit.

A Cinnamon tree. From my vantage point, the only way to see the difference between it and clove was the bit of red at then end of the clove leaf.
A Cinnamon tree. From my vantage point, the only way to see the difference between it and clove was the bit of red at then end of the clove leaf.

We reached a small hut where another fellow was slow roasting (2 hours) a small batch of coffee next to another small cage where the luwak (civet) was kept.

Cocoa pods!
Cocoa pods!

For those unfamiliar, this small weasel-like mammal has a taste for ripe coffee cherries–but it can’t actually fully digest the bean. A delicacy (and purported aphrodisiac) is the coffee made from the beans collected from the poo of the luwak. At our subsequent coffee tasting, some elected to pay 50,000 rupiah (about $4) to try the luwak coffee. I elected to to stick with the other complimentary and poo-free varieties. Call me unadventurous if you will, but there was nothing but a tepid response among those who dared.

This guy roasts coffee over a very low fire for two hours – the flames aren't directly under the pan, but offset. In the foreground are Bali kopi and cocoa.
This guy roasts coffee over a very low fire for two hours – the flames aren’t directly under the pan, but offset. In the foreground are Bali kopi and cocoa.
From R to L: Bali kopi, Ginseng coffee, Ginger coffee, Vanilla coffee, Coconut coffee, Rosella tea, Ginger tea, Lemon tea, Bali herbal tea and Pure chocolate.  Ginger won the day for me.
From R to L: Bali kopi, Ginseng coffee, Ginger coffee, Vanilla coffee, Coconut coffee, Rosella tea, Ginger tea, Lemon tea, Bali herbal tea and Pure chocolate. Ginger won the day for me.

Sunday

The Wonders of Klungkung

I began the last day of our only full weekend  looking at the murals at Kertha Gosa (the Hall of Justice) at the Klungkung Palace. These grounds were largely destroyed in conflicts with the Dutch in the early 20th century.   The grounds were renovated in the 1960s.

Murals depicting a story from the Mahabharata in which Bhima rescues his parents from torment in the afterlife. The painting style is very similar to the style of shadow puppetry.
Murals depicting a story from the Mahabharata in which Bhima rescues his parents from torment in the afterlife. The painting style is very similar to the style of shadow puppetry.
Lots of heads!
Lots of heads!

In addition to the morally instructive depictions, there are also series of panels telling the Balinese story that parallels A Thousand and One Nights as well as instructions for marriage… or at least our guide told us. We weren’t sure how much he was making up and how much was accurate. We also visited the museum nearby.

IMG_0914-kerthagosa
More of the Palace Grounds
Roundabout: Klungkung
Roundabout: Klungkung
An array of colors in the woven fabrics available at the market in Klungkung.
An array of colors in the woven fabrics available at the market in Klungkung.

Pasir Putih

It is a small trek to get to this white sand beach, but the reward is worth it! The water was an amazing blue blue blue and it was so warm and buoyant. I even went snorkeling for the first time!

These feet didn't know it, but they would be getting a massage before the day was over
These feet didn’t know it, but they would be getting a massage before the day was over.

As someone who grew up in a landlocked place, I’ve always found the prospect of purposely immersing yourself a location where simply anything can eat, sting, or drown you to be mortifying. But after a few mistaken gulps of salt water, it wasn’t too bad. Seeing a school (I almost typed “herd.” See also: Midwestern) of medium-sized black fish swim through the coral was fantastic. I actually look forward to the chance to do it again!

Goa Lawah

The day rounded out with a dusk visit to Goa Lawah, the Bat Cave Temple. As we waited for the evening exodus of the bats, we watched the evening offerings being made and chatted with some Hungarian ex-pats who were showing the sights to visiting relatives.

At the entrance to the temple, all of which was carved from volcanic rock.
Being an idiot at the entrance to the temple, all of which was carved from volcanic rock.

When the bats started leaving, it was a real sight—not quite like a horror movie, but a pretty dense cloud of flying mammal. I wasn’t sure how long to stay, but the bats let me know with an offering of their own placed on my head. As I was in full temple gear, I was mostly relieved it didn’t get on my udeng—and really grateful for the packages of baby wipes my boyfriend had packed for me.

Looking out the temple doors to the sea at dusk.
Looking out the temple doors to the sea at dusk.

 

racc_orange_horizThis trip was made possible in part by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Juxtapositions

A lotus flower on the way to the Wantilan at Melati Cottages, where we have daily warmups and classes in kecak and topeng
A lotus flower on the way to the Wantilan at Melati Cottages, where we have daily warmups and classes in kecak and topeng

Most days I wake naturally about 6:30 am (2:30 pm the previous day Pacific Standard Time). The sound of roosters is frequent, regardless of the time of day. Roosters are often in small round bamboo cage baskets by the edge of the road. Apparently this is to desensitize them to loud noises and sudden disturbances so that they perform better in cockfights. These fights are simultaneously a part of the religion and technically illegal.You might see a man washing his cock by the side of the road late at night in the U.S., but I assure you it’s a different thing here in Bali.

Said roosters.
Said roosters.
Allie's gecko impersonation
Allie’s gecko impersonation

Geckos are similarly omnipresent. I have discovered their name is onomatopoeic for the sound they make. Some are quite large;all are walking over the walls and ceiling. These small lizards eat pesky insects, so who can complain?

A very plaintive (and hungry) kitten who found me outside the museum at Kertha Gosa.
Not a dog, but a very plaintive (and hungry) kitten who found me outside the museum at Kertha Gosa.

Dogs are quite common, though not kept in the same be-sweatered and organically fed way now fashionable in urban USA.  Judging from appearances as you pass by on the street, many range from very skinny to malnourished. Some unwanted dogs are also driven to certain locations and left to fend for themselves. There are some organizations lobbying for better treatment of the canines; some restaurants donate portions of their profit to the cause.

Street art on Jalan Penestanan: a mix of tradition and contemporary
Street art on Jalan Penestanan: a mix of tradition and contemporary

Frequently sighted are all kinds of trash. Before the advent of petrochemicals, nearly all waste items were organic. For example, food was served on banana leaves; when the meal was over, the ‘plate’ would be tossed into a nearby irrigation canal to eventually drain to the ocean. No problem, right? But as the type of materials has evolved, the habit of tossing trash has remained constant.

A priest is being cremated within the frame of this bull. Which animal you are cremated in depends on your caste. The very poor often have mass cremations, no animals included. Though many ceremonies are carried out with slow burning wood fires beneath the effigy, a different approach is taken here.
A priest is being cremated within the frame of this bull. Which animal you are cremated in depends on your caste. The very poor often have mass cremations, no animals included. Though many ceremonies are carried out with slow burning wood fires beneath the effigy, a different approach is taken here.

We were at a cremation ceremony a few weeks ago, and someone had collect our garbage of soda cans and potato chip bags into a plastic bag.  A Balinese woman saw it, threw the bags into the bushes and kept the cans (presumably for a deposit). Even as beautiful offerings of palm, flowers and incense are carefully place everywhere you look, trash of all sorts is being frequently burned, if not dumped in the water. I have taken to the game of playing “Garbage or Incense?”  A cliffhanger every time!

The people of Bali are really great. Everyone I’ve met has been warm and gracious. There a variety of visitors, some on vacation, some on a program of study. Many people come here looking for paradise, affordable goods, or a healing from some perceived deficit in themselves. Eat, Pray, Love seems to have stoked that fire. On my less generous days, I feel if I never see another middle-aged white woman wandering wide-eyed and wistful in yoga pants through the streets of Ubud, it will be too soon.

This is the coolest kid ever. His mother runs the warung near the library where we carve some days, and he would frequently come inside to try on our masks, play on the gamelan, or climb Spencer.
This is the coolest kid ever. His mother runs the warung near the library where we carve some days, and he would frequently come inside to try on our masks, play on the gamelan, or climb Spencer. He is also not talkative, so I never caught his name.

However, even with the stream of visitors beginning back at least in the 1930s (if you don’t count colonial times as a “visit”), the Balinese remain so friendly and accommodating. We are always treated very well as guests.  If at a ceremony not knowing where to sit, they will offer a seat for you. Fall on your motorbike? They quickly move to help. Yesterday, our mask teacher told us he’d been up all night with his father at the hospital, and had come to class directly from that experience. Yet he was full of genuine smiles and easy laughter as he shared his knowledge and art with us. I hope to pay these kinds of gestures forward.

A view of Ubud from three stories up.
A view of Ubud from three stories up.
Not really a clear segue here, but THIS SPIDER IS AS BIG AS MY HAND. I see it every morning.
Not really a clear segue here, but THIS SPIDER IS AS BIG AS MY HAND. I see it every morning.
Fun hats make the world go round!  This one is an amazing find from Japan Town in San Francisco - it collapses to completely flat, and is (oddly) foil-lined.
Fun hats make the world go round! This one is an amazing find from Japan Town in San Francisco – it collapses to completely flat, and is (oddly) foil-lined.

I haven’t worn shoes in about a month. Flip flops carry you from location to location, and are removed before entering most places. When I first arrived, I was taking the bemo to and from classes.  Well, sort of. The bemo is actually more of a public bus; ours is hired specifically for our group of students.

An Arjuna statue near Gianyar, as viewed from a hired car.
An Arjuna statue near Gianyar, as viewed from a hired car.

It was a great education on the nature of traffic in Bali. Traffic keeps to the left here, but that’s the least of the differences. The center line is a little more of a general guideline. Autos, motorcycles and scooters weave with in subtle moment-to-moment negotiations of speed, turns, right of way, potholes, and hanging banyan vines. Vehicles of all sizes may suddenly pass or approach you from any direction, on any side of the line. It’s not as unsafe as it may sound, just structured slightly differently than the more controlled queue format in the States. I never even thought of our traffic this way until witnessing its counterpart.

Not my scooter, but one of my fellow classmates.
Not my scooter, but one of my fellow classmates.Who can trust blogs these days? Misleading juxtaposition everywhere!

And a week later, I hired a motor scooter. After a few days of practice, I was set to go! I think my decade and a half of bicycle riding prepared me well—like the rooster by the side of the road, I’m acclimated to large vehicles passing by all of a sudden. It’s really quite nice, and the most efficient way to balance getting to class and seeing the island for myself.

Hiking the "Ants Back"- the Campuan Ridge in Ubud one morning
Hiking the “Ants Back”- the Campuan Ridge in Ubud one morning

 

racc_orange_horizThis trip was made possible in part by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.