Friday, May 11, 2007


I thought at that I would write and show a bit about people of Bali and how they live. These pictures include some of the customs of everyday life as well as details and other pictures continuing to show the art and beauty of this incredible place. This is a hotel that we did not stay at but we almost did, look at this view!

Yah this place was pretty amazing, that's my mom in black having walked down all the stairs.

When we first arrived here my mom pointed out the super sized butterflies. They were beautiful and I was just able to capture in a couple of shots before we had to go. They were flying about and hardly ever landing and so taking pictures of them in this lighting and these fast changes were difficult. I had to constantly change lenses. I would guess the wingspan on this butterfly is about 2 or 3 cm longer than that of a common butterfly you might see and the United States such as a swallowtail or a monarch.

When you get Ubud, or any other tourist place you'll find dozens of hotels. I don't know how they stay in business. I think part of it is because of good laws created for the tourist business and so they need not spend as much money to keep the place running. There are far less to rules, taxes and other things that happen in westernized places. Ya, no you can't file a lawsuit or anything here! So these hotels have a wild west like freedom. Beware. Here is a sign of local shops and hotels one of many road signs found on the thousands of two lane roads in the country of Bali.

This is a rice paddy field and if you look closely you can see some of the deterrence that are used to keep the birds away. Scarecrows are not that common but plastic bags and other flashy objects seem to work for what ever birds might damage the harvest. Honestly I am not entirely sure why all these things are put up and if they are for birds.

Out towards the country where we were, there are many rice paddy fields at various stages of planting.

This guy is riding a bicycle that could be 50 years old. That is very common. Old bicycles are one of the most common means of local transportation. For the people with a bit more money and the visible majority of Balinese citizens and families use motorcycles called "motorbikes" as you'll see in the next few pictures. It is incredible what some of these guys carry on their bikes.

Here we see some Balinese woman in traditional clothing around this area there were many to tourist shops sold these women may have been dressed up for some kind of occasion. I am not sure. Alot of Balinese women dress like this even in everyday life especially if they have some money or a job such as working in a restaurant.

I created a sort of panoramic view here showing the rice fields and the homes and other buildings where the Balinese both work and live. Balinese houses and dwellings are very hard to spot if you don't know what to look for as they almost always look nothing like western dwellings. They do often connect to the rice fields like farms in the United States.

That shack on the left side of this picture may well be this man's home. I don't know but here you can see he is working hard in the rice fields. Unfortunately as it usually is, the poorest people do the most work.

When I first glanced at this picture I thought it was a short man or boy because there was lots of shadows the way she was dressed, and the picture was underexposed. You can tell from the way the picture looks I had to do a great deal of things to bring up the lighting just so that you can see it. I have some more learning to do when it comes to fixing pictures in Photoshop. I was amazed after I was able to see her shirt and face that this really was a woman or girl in a uniform. She is sweeping that dust and cleaning up. An endless and ancient job. This uniform may indicate that she is part of some government organization. I have no idea what kind that might be. Most Balinese women do not dress like this at all. It is clearly a uniform so maybe she's an official worker. That broom she is using is a handmade broom of sticks the kind that has been used for thousands of years. When I look at this picture in full resolution I can see her face very well. I'm sure that she would be a very beautiful girl if she could have a chance to show it. I hope that she is not been exploited or something. I still do not fully understand the social classes between woman and men, rich and pour. I only know that woman have very few rights. That is a problem created by Indonesian law as well as tradition. Here they are Hindu but I do not believe there is any caste system here like there is in some other countries.

Here children play while many very large vehicles and fast vehicles fly by. I did ask my friend and driver Komog, about how many people get killed or injured in a country like this where there are very few enforced rules. He told me that there are a surprisingly low number of accidents due to the fact that slow speeds are common and the attitudes of drivers either on motorbikes, bicycles or cars are often far different from the high paced Westernized driving like you might see in any major in the U.S.A. Most of these people are dedicated to their religious and cultural beliefs and therefore are a lot less stressed and in a hurry as much as we are used to in the United States. Negitive attitude problems seem often learned, something I have seen after haveing been to over a dozen countries. You can often see it and sense that when you are there and it is really interesting how this stress works. I think our over-aware news, violent and drama-hungry TV lives have caused us many problems and added to un-needed pessimism that effects emmotionl states.

Here is the first picture of a very important event and holiday to the Balinese called "Niepe". I'm sorry I'd do not know how to spell the word an I have not been able to find out how. I captured a good number of pictures of these massive and often grotesque creatures that they make every year. This is a really big deal to them and everyone seems to pitch in to make them. These gigantic almost always very ugly and terrifying statues are made for one night and one day. They are supposed to repel or attract the spirits. You see, this holiday is about the many spirits which must be granted passage across all of Bali every year on this holiday. I left Bali the day before this day and night. It is law that nearly all electrical power is completely shut off from a power stations! So there is no power at ANY of the hotel's I have been told. They go to a great deal of trouble for this holiday which they obviously both believe in and enjoy. So everything becomes dark and during that night they make loud noises by banging pots and pans and other things in order to frighten the evil spirits. It is all an attempt to ensure that the evil spirits do not want the island or the people I'd guess. There are some very serious superstitions in Bali. It is law that you cannot leave your hotel as a tourist or not on this day and nught. No one is allowed on the streets. Only my mom has been there for this festival, but I got a chance to photograph these massive statues which you will see many more of in my next set of pictures.

Now this looks like from the sign a restaurant as they often use chalkboards to advertise meals. And many of the entrances to everything from stores to areas of hotels are done in incredible and beautiful ornate doors with steps like this. However, this might be the entrance to a temple. Upon entrance to a temple you must wear a traditional sarong. And flash photography is also prohibited. There are some other rules as well. I'm not sure what these buildings are because I snapped it as my driver drove by. I did not get a chance to visit a temple on the inside. I was injured while I was down there so I could not do much walking around. I had my driver and friend drive at a slow speed to areas of interest and other things before I left for the Airport. I really wanted to capture Bali not just in its splendor and beauty that you see on the surface but what it is like in a small way to live here. Because this is a G-rated website there are some shots I cannot post but your not missing much. Many of these people are poor. However they are definitely not poor in spirit.

These things are everywhere! These are "Bakso" food carts. This is that closest thing to fast food that the Balinese have outside of major cities. They can be delicious but often if you can handle how hot it is, you still might just get sick. There are definitely no health laws. I have eaten from these many times and have never gotten sick but I've been told that I was lucky for that. Bokso is one of several dishes served by the street vendors. The food is very good but be careful, you might get really sick sometimes called the "Bali-belly". To this day many of these food carts at night are lit with oil lamps or candles there are many things still done in Indonesia and the way that they have been done for decades. The locals usually eat this food and they are more used to it then we are. You can often get a light meal for a couple of pennies equivalent in U.S. dollars.

They can carry allot more then this on there moterbikes.
This may be way off the subject but while I'm talking about rules I cannot write anything about Bali without making this very clear. Indonesia has very extreme laws regarding marijuana and all narcotics. If you do get offered anything in these street vendors are on the beach be sure not to accept. Not only are drugs very bad for you, if they catch you doing them in Bali you will be locked up for the rest of your life and there is no getting out of it. Being an American citizen grants you no immunity to Indonesian law. If you have medication be sure to bring your prescription bottles when you go in your trip to confirm where you god it. All prescribed drugs are completely legal in Bali if prescribed by doctors in the U.S. To my knowledge. There are also serious issues about animal parts as well as endangered species and therefore you should make sure that you declare these items if you're caught attempting to bring them into the United States that penalties are very high. Any questions you have about this can be very easy by declaring the items that you have purchased. Then the customs officials coming into the United States will inspect these items and if they are illegal they will confiscate them and you will not be charged with any crime. Don't mess with this my mom knows people who've gotten in serious trouble for things that seem very very small regarding these issues.

It is unbelievable how many things and in how many ways they do stuff on motorbikes and bicycles. First here is a typical parts repair shop for these all very common generic motorbikes.

And here is a large number of street signs showing all places you can go from any intersection. Be sure to get a better look and probably read these signs by clicking on this picture. Do not for get you need to use your Internet browsers back arrow in order to get back to my website. I don't yet know how to add a button so that you can return to my website more directly.

And here it is the picture you're looking at as shocking as it is is entirely in real. What's even more shocking is that just driving around I spotted family's like this at least a dozen times. Notice how the little kids never have helmets or any other protective gear for that matter. For some reason I do not know only the adults wear helmets. As I'm sure you are shocked by this as am I but we must remember that we are looking at a different culture and a different number of enforced and not enforced laws. Culture. It can create massive gaps in opinions ridiculous, sad and terrible or not. They do not have the money to afford cars and there is no public transportation system. As frightening and as wrong as this is, for them it is all they can afford and all that they can do to get their family around. This is very shocking, and it is sadly very common. In fact I did not see any children with helmets on. What is common for other societies is sometimes outrageous and even terrible to our set of values. I have been to many countries and it witnessed some things like this, and even worse.

These motorbikes are everywhere. As I said there like the family car or SUV. and as you can see in this picture once again there is at least one child without a helmet. I have no idea and did not think to ask involved in taking pictures, why the adults seem to wear helmets religiously and the children of all ages almost always do not have them.

Here's a look at a real Balinese food cart in a non tourist situation and a family, this time none of them wearing helmets driving about looking as if she doesn't know what way to go. In many places, it seems like they cannot afford to put in traffic lights and a single daring police officer attempts to direct traffic in some of the most horrendous four way stops I've ever seen anywhere! The government but mostly the people, are very poor and there is not enough money to even enforce the laws that are in place or take care of many civil problems including traffic lights. I would guess-I don't want to make it sound really bad, I've been to places where there is true extreme poverty and most of Bali is not like that. I've heard the government is very corrupt and hordes lots of money. But it's the no helmet situation for children that is obviously most immediately distressing. I'm not one to like laws and I disagree with many of the small and often ridiculous laws that are being made in the U.S. Chipping away at the constitution that a slow and frightening pace. Most new laws are to protect adults from themselves. But in the case of children who cannot choose for themselves the government should definitely step in to keep children from parents are Guardians who are not responsible in their actions involving children.

OK, here is a guy who has more than a shopping cart load to ride around with! This strange device caught my eye from the road. I don't know what you'd call this contraption. Over in Indonesia a bicycle system can be put into anything from an electrical generator to do a complete store that someone can pedal around! This never ceases to amaze me. Many of these bicycle's are true antiques some of them must be at least 60 years old.

Here is a apparently a Muslim girl who we drove by at a slow speed so I was able to capture this picture. Behind her is what might be a real temple. Temple architecture as you can see is everywhere here. Although it may look like your hotel was once a temple, according to a man from the U.S. I talked to who married a Balinese woman-- that is almost certainly not the case because it is illegal. Even though some of the Balinese will tell you a "yes" when you ask such questions. That is a bit of a problem down there everybody says " yes" to many questions even though they speak good English. Unlike most of Indonesia Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is a Muslim country. And you can see the attitude very quickly if you go to somewhere like Java or Lombok island. You can clearly see sometimes the difference between their respect for nature, as well as for others, and this slow paced content attitude seen in the Hindu population is incredible. However it must be said that Bali is the tourist hub and therefore both gets more money and prepares more for tourism. It would seem that the respect of the Balinese is caused by the Hindu religion. However I don't like to speculate like that and I have met many fair and good Muslims. I think the problem is like it is in the United States with Christianity where you go and how much you really believe and what fundamental belief you hold in your Religion changes greatly your perspective. I also believe that there is an attitude problem that gets started when westernization becomes more and more influential. Unfortunately this often creates eventual pseudo-atheism and thus the pessimism which leads to personal corruption, crime, alcohol and drug abuse by many people. The rat race attitude and pressures of the big city also seems to create corruption. As personal needs become far more important and thus destructive. I do not blame the Muslim religion as some people would. I do think that the way you will be treated as a tourist is determined by how large a city you are in and how much tourism that city has. I have been to many other places in Indonesia. No matter what religion, in small towns away from most of the westernized activity and ideas you are far better off as a tourist. Big city attitudes and ideas seem to always cause problems. This kind of stuff is for another website.

This is a very common kind of pedestal where offerings are left by the Balinese. There is one of these in every home, hotel, business, just about everywhere. These are creative and amazing offerings made by the women for the Hindu gods. They contain a small amount of food incense flowers and things, sometimes even cigarettes and sodas. If they do not have a carved pedestal like this is, often with a god carved behind it, then they just leave them on the ground in front of the shop or restaurant.

Every day at least twice possibly more, these offerings are left out and made renewed over and over again at great cost. I believe the women are expected to do these and many of them spend a lot of time creating these weveings. It is amazing however how much respect they all have for the insects, spiders, small birds and other animals that have to live with. You might expect this to be a place where you'll have a lot of bothersome insects but that is not normally true unless you go off on to trails.

This is serious jungle I have to warn you, that you should have some serious experience if you want even do the hiking trails. There are serious snakes, monkeys and stinging insects as wekk as other dangers here, lots of them. If you don't know how to do jungles in the tropics be sure you hire guide, or better yet go on a hike with other tourists in a group. The rice paddies are just like the jungles and in order to hike the rice paddies you must hike in some of the jungle and what may be private property. This picture shows offerings placed near this statue which is probably for a god.

And take a look of this! This incredible bronze scene depicts something in the Hindu or Balinese tradition. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what that is but it is an incredible work of art. It is life size and surrounded by this pool, unbelievably colored.

And here is just a lazy old cat. They're usually afraid of people unless they they hang out around restaurants for handouts. Bali has many stray dogs and cats but I saw very few on this trip.

Now I know this looks like solid gold. If anything it's gold plated or painted, it would be worth something approaching millions if it was solid gold. I know that. However one interesting thing that most people think about is the fact that if this piece of art was solid gold it would probably weigh at least 500 pounds. One gold bar like you see in the movies, weighs about 40 pounds. Most people have no idea how heavy pure gold is. It's probably been painted with gold paint and is bronze on the inside but they dare really good job making this god look cool. Even if it was to pure gold people trying to take it would have a really hard time doing anything with it.

Ah, here is a god or figure that is well fed here.

Now to me this resembles of Buddha and there are carvings of Buddhas. You can also buy them in the shops. Now I'm not sure if the Hindu religion connects to the Buddhist religion in one way or another but there are quite a few Buddhas in the Lotus position (not shown here) and many that can be purchased. They certainly have respect for that religion and may tie it in to their own religious beliefs. Much like Catholicism in some countries. Being Catholic but mixing existing traditions, superstitious beliefs in magic, charms and spells, like voodoo in with Catholicism and all of its beliefs.

Now this guy has everything except the kitchen sink on his bike. It looks like that's what he specializes in selling stuff for too.

This is one of those access points to the rice paddies. Once again I advise that you don't leave without a radio and a buddy or at least telling someone which are going to go on a trail. In this area alone I stumbled into the jungle and was attacked by army ants. And nearly fell off a ciff hidden by the jungle. I was stung about 40 times. That's only a rough guess because their stings are not as powerful as bees and wasps so it was hard to tell. That was lucky for me and lucky for me that I knew what to do. Never ever jump in the water or panic where you could run and hurt yourself even worse. Especially here about the water since it is often very contaminated with human and other waste. If you are ever stung or attacked by any insects it is important not to panic but make a brisk walking pace away from that area as quickly as possible if you can get into a vehicle or a place where they are likely not too attack. Some people however have been killed by killer bees as much as a half mile away and have been attacked in their homes. The important thing is to get away from the insects and realize that they will persistently attack you as long as you're in their space. The water is the first place the insects attack because it is also the first place where most animals will go to a escape an attack. Wasps and bees will linger around water for hours waiting for you to surface.

This is your typical tourist watch area. Be careful of the many vehicles and keep your eyes on your camera bag. In this place I was told that there are runners to grab bags that look expensive and run into areas and hide. This kind of crime doesn't happen too often as that price for crime is extremely serious in Bali.

Yes those glass bottles are full of gasoline. These gas stations are everywhere and they provide gas for the endless motorbikes that the locals drive. You can rent one of these things that I'd recommend doing it only if you're suicidal.

The price of so many small engines with little filtration. The pollution can get pretty sick in some areas as they also burn trash.

Yet another incredible work of art. I was always in somewhat of a hurry as a photographer. We only had a certain amount of time to be there and I only had a certain non time to get around. I took a really hard fall when I was taking a picture and a misstep almost took out my camera and seriously sprained my ankle. So for most of the trip after that I couldn't do much walking. Now this is almost certainly gold-painted, and those orchids as well as that gigantic clamshell, are real. I've been Kosre (Im not too sure about spelling here), small islands in the middle of nowhere. That's where these giant clams come from, or at least one place where they do.

Now this is interesting. I don't think I'd ever had the idea of actually pulling out an entire tree stump and carving it into something like this. This is all hardwood as some kind and I don't know where it all comes from, but as much as I admire the art I can't help but think this was wrong and that tree was probably worth far more alive.

Yeah they got this spider upside down, but the huge spiders are seen all over and they often make their way into local artwork.

And for the last picture in this group, this was my room just before I left you can see my view outside on the porch out into the rice paddies and down there was that creek I fell like jumping into after I was attacked by an army ants. They won't bug you unless you leave out a lot of food. There will be more pictures coming up later. And be sure not to miss previous articles that might have been buried by this one. I got a lot more to show you about Bali.

1 comment:

Edna said...

This is great info to know.