Little known fact; my mother spent some time in Indonesia (Jakarta though, not Bali) and knew exactly what I was talking about when I would reference some of the art or cultural phenomenon relevant to Bali. It was so neat to compare her memories to our recent experience. She knew exactly what I was talking about when I referenced Batik. Sunday morning we all woke up and had a wonderful breakfast at our resort, then headed to the Sari Amerta Batik collection.
I’m so thankful that Katie and Jandy put this on our itinerary because this was one of my most favorite stops. I had NO clue what Batik was, and I ended up getting some beautiful wall hangings. If you’re more cultured than I, please feel free to skip this explanation of the Batik process below 🙂
From what I can gather (there was a bit of a language barrier). Batik is exclusively made by women. The men have a similar process, however it is more mechanical (not completely handmade the way that Batik is) and it goes by a different name, that I’m blanking on at the moment. The material that the Batik process is performed on is often made on site. Below is a picture of a woman weaving some fabric on a loom, this would not be used in the Batik process though because it is not white.
My mom said in Jakarta the factories had dirt floors. As you can see here, that is not the case.
After the fabric is woven the initial, large design is filled in by hand, using beeswax and/or paraffin wax. Sometimes the initial pattern is applied using a large metal stamp and sometimes it is hand drawn in pencil and then traced over with the wax.
After the wax dries, the fabric is dyed whatever color they would prefer (let’s say blue for this instance). The wax is then scraped off, leaving the area that was covered by the wax the original, white color and the rest of the fabric the new blue color. Or sometimes, if they prefer just a color a smidge darker than the original color, they will leave the initial application of wax and apply a second coat of wax in a different area so that different shades of blue are achieved. This process is meticulously repeated until the fabric is very ornately decorated in different shades of color. Below, the women are applying the wax by hand;
Here are some of the nearly finished products the women had been working on.
So intricate and breathtakingly beautiful. None of us wanted to leave! We were not allowed to take pictures inside the storefront but below is a picture of the doorway into the store.
You can see the small basket of flowers here at the doorstep called ‘canang sari’. These are EVERYWHERE in Bali and are filled with rice and/or flowers. The Balinese are a very spiritual/religious people, and this is their way of giving back to their Gods, a piece of what is given to them. They are all very appreciative, kind, and dedicated. It was overwhelmingly touching how gracious they all are, and how thankful and great about demonstrating their thankfulness they are. Some people prepare and offer the canang sari three times a day and place their offerings at their family temple, in their cars, and outside the doorsteps of their homes and businesses.
This all leads me to our next experience. Our driver was so gracious to take us to a traditional Balinese dance/performance. It was of course, completely in Balinese, but they gave us a program in English so that we could follow along with what was happening. The costumes were of course beautiful and ornate, as was the makeup application. The ‘orchestra’ was completely made up of traditional Balinese instruments. (you can click on each picture to enlarge)
The story we watched was called “Barong & Keris”. Katie actually pointed out that she saw the same story in mural form at the next temple we visited. It was a traditional good vs. evil story. The good was represented by Barong (he looked like a dog/Chinese dragon?!), while evil was represented by Rangda which was a voodoo looking, witch/creature.
Something else I found very interesting (and made me even more glad that we chose not to spend our time at the beaches there) was that the Balinese people believe that the good spirits reside in the mountains, and the ocean is where demons reside. In fact, their houses traditionally face the mountains instead of the ocean.
After the play we visited Batuan Puseh temple. Which is a territorial temple. Our driver explained that there are public, territorial and family temples. We had to wear a sarong to enter the temple (below you can see the people helping us don our sarongs) and at the risk of TMI, women are not allowed to enter the temple if they are menstruating. Our driver told us that they are not even allowed to prepare the flowers/rice offerings during that time either.
After the temple we went to Tegenungan Waterfall and Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Both so beautiful!
I have to pause here to talk about our bathroom experiences. We had heard that we would have to pay to use the restroom in most places (not unlike Europe) so we were prepared for that. And actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Jandy and I had a great bonding experience/how privileged are we?!? experience when we used the bathroom at the rice terraces. We either had to make a purchase, or pay 3000 rupiah (which is NOTHING) to use the bathroom. Jandy had been eyeing the coconuts since we arrived so she purchased the coconut and I just got a bottled water and we wandered off to the bathroom. There was no electricity so we just kept the door open and kept a lookout for one another. The electricity did eventually turn on, at which point I think we had both wished it had just stayed dark. I’m no stranger to a ‘squatty potty’ since living in Japan, but this was an entirely new level. The picture below is not the restroom Jandy and I used, it’s a different one that was actually much nicer than our shared experience.
We had some time to kill before we had to be at our next spot so I drug the girls to a Luwak coffee experience. The Luwaks are cute, little, nocturnal animals similar to a mongoose. They only choose the best coffee beans to eat, and then eventually poop out the partially digested beans. (Sorry guys, I’m at a loss for a euphemism for poop lol). Coffee beans, like chocolate beans have to go through a fermentation process, but with Luwak coffee the fermentation takes place within their digestive track. The beans are thoroughly cleaned and then go through the regular coffee processing; roasting, grinding etc. Below are pictures of the Luwak itself, and the process; (it’s a slideshow)
After our Luwak experience Jandy and I made our poor driver stop on the side of the road so we could purchase these ridiculous pineapples we had all been eyeing. Teak, Mahogony, and Ebony are in abundance in Bali so it has been nice to collect some beautiful pieces for a fraction of the price. Our driver then dropped us off in Ubud so we could explore the Ubud art market and Ubud palace.
Finally, we all went to a BEAUTIFUL dinner at Swept Away. We were disgusting from our day chalk full of adventure, but the resort was kind enough to allow us to quickly change and freshen up in their bathroom (which included electricity and running water ha) before they picked us up in a golf cart and took us down to the restaurant, which sat near a bubbling river that was decorated with fresh flowers and candles everywhere. The slideshow below shows the gorgeous views.
I must admit I’m pretty darn jealous of Katie’s delicious lychee fruit martini in that picture! Evelyn and I were climbing a volcano the next day though, so I refrained from any alcohol intake. I will leave you all with this picture I finally located of the snake fruit I talked about in the last post.
So pretty and SO delicious!! I’m hoping to at least begin the post about our volcano hike (one of the absolute highlights of the trip) so that I can get caught up. The holiday hustle has hit (check out THAT alliteration ha). So I’m squeezing it in where I can. I actually contracted a small stomach bug that everyone has been passing around, so it’s allowed me to take a day off from volunteering, and attempt to get caught up on some real life things that have gone undone :).
As always; we love and miss you all,
❤ The Butlers