How many ways can you conjugate green? This is a view from our porch at Alam Sari Keliki. What I can’t show is the soft sounds of wooden cow bells, the bird songs and the rooster who thinks that it is dawn at least once on the hour. Of course there is also the persistent buzz of motorbikes on the road below, which I’m sure I would find a lot more annoying if we didn’t drive one too. Here we are following our Cleveland friends Larry and Rai Collins down a back road south of Ubud on our way to meet with their supplier of organic incense for their store in Cleveland Heights, City Buddha. The kids were just getting out of school at about 1PM. No snow days here, but the kids don’t seem too upset about it.
The making of the incense is a fascinating process involving a secret recipe of flowers, herbs and spices. The house where we visit has to be one of the best smelling places on the planet. First the sticks are coated in coconut charcoal held together with tapioca, dried and then dipped in the secret recipe and then burn for over an hour with a rich but not overwhelming aroma that is pure Bali. Go here for information about City Buddha.
This is the picture of the inside of a Balinese house — which is really outside. A series of little buildings with a wall around it. You can see the incense drying in the sun — not a quick process as this is the rainy season.
Our first trip to Bali about four years ago only lasted three days and was basically consumed by doing all the first time tourist stuff. The fire dance, the gamalongs, the jaw dropping vistas — all with the help of the hotel minivan. On this trip we had a chance, fun-filled encounter of the Facebook kind — Larry happened to see that we were going to be in Bali, not only in Bali, but very close to where they live in Ubud. Here are Larry and Michael standing on the path by their house. These little streams run all around and outside of the city we see people bathing and washing clothing in them.
And yes, we did negotiate this path on the motorbike. Well, Michael did. I just hung on.
For better or worse, the movie Eat, Pray, Love has had a big impact on Ubud and we are very grateful we came here in the off season. The traffic can be pretty intense. But no one gets angry, The flow is very organic and many many smiles. Here are some kids we met. They wanted to practice their English — Hello! What is your name! And they could all count to 10. At Michael’s urging I taught them my shortest poem, which they acted out and thought was hilarious.