Friday, November 4, 2011

goodbye ubud, hello farmland

today is our last day in civilization for a while. we go to the farm in a couple hours for the next month. the rest of our time here in ubud has been so great, it's hard to leave. the botanical gardens were a bit of a bore, but actually a beautiful property and I saw the smallest pineapple ever there.

we made friends at our favorite restaurant (Dewa) with a guy named Gusti who is an architect. He lived in France for ten years studying hospitality and hotel management and then working in those fields, and now he is in the middle of building two beautiful villa properties to rent out in the future. we saw blueprints and the beginnings and near finished products that he has been working on. unbelievably beautiful, I want to come
back just to stay there. the villa that almost done is in the middle of these rice fields and just has the most gorgeous views. we walked out to this village with our newly made friends Sophie and manou, from the french alps area. they are just lovely and we spent the next three days with them.

we saw a traditional dance called the Kecak and Trance dance. it has a chorus of all women who create the
music during the whole hour and a half performance. it's all a cappella, chanting and singing and clapping. quite strong and really impressive. the dance told the story of the Ramayana Epic, and the costumes were beautiful. the dancers were flawless and so precise. it was followed by a guy who reached trance and then walked over burning coconut shells with bare feet multiple times. then food to our new favorite bar napi orti with sophie and manou to meet gusti.

we've gone walking through the beautiful rice paddies, and had coffee ( or I did at least) at the best coffee place in town. we ate delicious sandwiches at the Clear Cafe with its gorgeous modern decor and spa like atmosphere. we went to a cultural art museum from ancient art through modern art and saw some
beautiful wood carved pieces. we went to the local library and read for a while. (ps everyone should read game of thrones). we went to goa gajah ( elephant caves... nothing to do with actual elephants) and saw the temple remnants and hiked around the property for two hours, climbing up and down broken stone staircases and through jungle cave things to stick on the path. yes, it was like indiana jones if that's what you were thinking.

on Friday night we returned to the jazz cafe and Nancy my new friend (the singer) greeted me right as we walked in and then invited me up to sing two songs. very nice, and this time
with a full band which was great. the owner was there and insisted on giving me a jazz cafe tshirt at the end which was super adorable. and he also gave both sarah and me stickers.

the next night was probably one of the best and most interesting and inspiring I've had so far. we ran into this guy on the street after dinner (Sarah ate an entire smoked duck! a specialty here) and he told us of a performance art piece happening at the bar in north western ubud and gave us free tickets. we decided why not and made the trek around ten thirty that night. there was an electric guitar player and a
percussionist as well as a painter. the whole show went on in pitch black
with only black lights as illumination to see what Tessh was painting. This is a group called Eggore from Japan and I highly recommend looking them up on the Internet although it's hard to get the same experience through a video. the music ranged from ambient tranquil noises to rough raw heavy metal/ rock sounds and was highly experimental and ever changing. the dedication that the painter had was beautiful and it was like some sort of interpretive dance by painting with his hands. it seemed to be just as much him following the music as the music following his painting. the group defines itself as "native hardcore". after the show Sarah and I were interviewed by this guy Lee who is a musician from England who has lived in japan for ten years and was here with these guys to help organize and promote their show. the filmographer has directed and worked on pieces that were in the Cannes film fest and he is making this documentary for Eggore. we then got to chatting with the guitar player Ken and the painter Tessh. Eventually most people left the bar but our conversation was so good and we were having such a great time that we hung out for a while longer with the group and a few other hang-around-ers. The percussionist had this drum called a hang drum and ohmy god I have never heard anything like it. it is one of the absolutely most beautiful sounds i have ever heard. the tonality is pure and soft and soothing and I could have listened to him play for hours and hours. I got to try my hand at it and had so much fun. its hard but really cool I'm going to have to learn it. we were getting beers on the house all night and ended up staying there until about 4 am when we shared a cab with the group and lee to get home. they were very gentlemanly and paid for our cab and insisted that we come to japan cause we will have places to stay and jobs teaching english if we'd like. great lovely night.

on Sunday we went to a Halloween party at the XL shisha lounge. there were jello shots, and punch and costumes and pumpkins and a live band and lots and lots of couchsurfers. the organizer even put on thriller because Sarah and I asked (because what's halloween if you don't hear thriller). we met a bunch of people who have been doing couchsurfing for ages and now we are looking into that for our time in china!

we are off to the land of farming and meditation and stuff so won't have internet very often, so I don't know when I'll next get in contact. we will probably be reading game of thrones a lot and also playing canasta and set back cause we are really good at two person card games now. love to all x h