The Last King of Ubud
We’ve been and gone to Ubud since the last time we sat at a computer, crossed from Bali over to Lombok and are now on Gili Trawangan, a small island just a few kilometres off the north west coast of Lombok. Ubud was great, a very different place to Kuta – it’s the cultural part of Bali, and is the place to go if you want to see traditional Balinese dances or other performances. Altough it’s a popular tourist destination, you get the feeling that they’re really serious about their traditions there – all of the performances are done by local groups and all of the kids in the village seem to be out selling tickets – it reminded me off going to a play in the parochial hall in Ballyhaunis not so long ago! We went to two performances, both quite different. One was similar to something you would imagine seeing in China, and used two-man monster costumes, it was very well done and very realistic looking. The other performance involved a group of over 100 men doing a monkey dance – both were unusual but very enchanting!
There’s a monkey forest at the bottom of the village where the monkeys are literally jumping out at you and eating bananas out of your hand. We passed a bit of a scary hour there – they’re so like little people! At one stage Riona looked down and one of the little feckers was pulling at her trouser leg and looking up at her – they look all cute the one minute, but if you tease them with some food for too long they’ll start hissing at you and showing you their teeth.
Ubud has a palace compound in the center of the village, but this was full of craftsmen creating decorations and sculptures for the King of Ubud’s cremation which is to take place on the 15th of July. I can only imagine what it would be like to be around for that – they’re building a hugh funeral pyre which will have a large hollow bull at the top – the kings body is put into the bull and the whole shebang burned. I’d say it would be pure mad – he’s the last king of Ubud apparently, so they’ll make a night of it I’m sure.