Zoe and Ed's Travels
We had a lovely time in Ubud. We went to a dance show one evening: there was a large group of male singers sitting in a large circle chanting, and a number of figures in costume who would appear in the circle to act out the story. Afterwards there was a 'trance dance' which consisted of a man dancing on burning coconut husks (and generally kicking them towards the spectators and nearly setting fire to some of them, including me!). Yesterday we did a tour of the centre of the island, seeing a number of temples. One temple, Gunung Kawi, is carved into the rock at the bottom of a narrow valley, which is possibly the greenest place I've ever been (and that includes the west of Ireland), and very picturesque, with a waterfall and small river plus some rice terraces, which Zoe very nearly fell into at one point. Later in the tour we headed up into the hills and got a great view of one of the largest volcanoes on the island, Gunung Batur, and its adjacent lake. We were able to take in the view while we ate a large buffet lunch at a restaurant with fantastic panoramic views of the area. We got there just before the clouds rolled in and obscured the fantastic view; by the time we had finished lunch there was just a wall of grey cloud to behold. We also saw some more impressive rice terraces on the way back to Ubud. Ubud is filled with arts and crafts shops and galleries: we called in at a most impressive photography gallery, owned by a photographer called Rio Hemli, but the prints (and the prices) were a little larger than we could manage. Instead I bought a carved wooden mask, of the type used in the dance show which we had been to see; it will make an attractive if somewhat grotesque feature on the wall (when we get back to the UK and acquire some walls on which to put the many things we've bought). We are now back in Kuta as we fly to Singapore tomorrow.