15 February 2015

Bali For Thanksgiving: Third Times a Charm!!

I love Bali. And Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays . . . Every year for the last 3 years that I've been living in Singapore, I have made my way to Bali for the Thanksgiving holidays. It's about a 2 and a half hour flight, so it's totally worth it.

The first year found me river rafting and batiking with friends. The second year found me totally relaxed, eating Thanksgiving dinner from a bathtub filled with flowers out on a deck above a river while watching Elf on my laptop.

This year found me almost completely alone, except for a yoga instructor and a masseuse. I had my very own villa, and I also went back to Widya's Batik Studio, where I had gone during my first trip.

My hope for the holiday weekend was to get a lot of writing done for a little side project that I am working on . . . I kept thinking, private villa: what else would I do? Yeah, right! Do you know how much fun it is to have your own tiny pool? And to be able to schedule a massage or yoga whenever you want? Or take a shower outside, in the rain? I was completely spoiled, and felt like I was living in an upside down, mixed-up world.

The first night I was there, I got in touch with a teacher I met during my second visit to Bali. She runs creative classes in Ubud for community children. And she had recently moved the studio to a new space. It was in one of those really cool dome-style tent structures. She had invited me to a bowl-playing performance. It was super interesting and completely out of my comfort zone.

Many people know that I do not relax very well (or at all) . . . So when I was told that we would be laying on our backs in the dark listening to the performance, I got a little concerned. How long was this performance going to be? Will there be bugs? What if I fall asleep by accident? 

It turned out to be really interesting. And so light, airy, and spatial sounding. It's kind of hard to explain, but have a listen! You can even hear all of the chirping bugs outside! It was magical! And, yes, there were bugs. A cricket was on me for the entire performance . . .

When I got back to my villa, my Thanksgiving dinner was ready to go. Talk about amazing! It was incredible . . . The food at this place was just spectacular. And the staff was so friendly! They even organized a wonderful Gamelan performance. Just for me! Two music performances in one day! (Love Bali, LOVE!)

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful, frothy latte by the pool. I wrote for a couple of hours before heading off to my batik appointment.

I don't know how much you all know about traditional batik. But it is an all day affair. It takes anywhere between 6 and 8 hours . . . Maybe even up to two day trips, to complete a piece. Mine take about 8 hours because I'm less fussy about how things come out. I let the batik do what the batik is gonna do . . . 

I loved being back at Widya's studio. There are so many animals around that I tend to get distracted easily. I didn't ask where the cow had gone that was there before. I'm pretty sure he became a meal . . . Or several. But there were bunnies, purple and pink colored baby chicks, dogs, and koi.

I loved that this hen found it necessary to sit on her babies to keep me away from them. I didn't know that hens did that . . . But every time I went near her, they would scurry under her for protection.

The most tedious and time-consuming part of batik is waxing the drawing onto the muslin. My goodness it takes forever! I tend to be a color girl . . . So I will generally do whatever it takes to get me to the colorful part. So I tend to speed through the wax process. (You might see some drips in that picture above.) Finally after a few layers, I was ready to add the color.

I really liked the design I chose this time. It was Ganesha, but I switched up the background. I combined a honeycomb pattern with giant palm fronds. And then attacked it with color. 

I splattered dye onto the ends where the design wasn't, the tops and bottoms of the piece.

Here's a quickie video of the acid bath and boiling water that the piece goes through after it has completely set in the sun.

I loved how it turned out! My mother was the recipient of this piece for Christmas. My sister received the last piece I created at Christmas 2012. Just look at that purple! 

I ended up getting back to my village just before a light rain began.

I went to the house just above where I was staying to visit their pigs. They were quite talkative, so I had to see what all of the chatter was about. I'm telling you: one of these days I will get a pig or two!

Due to rain, I spent the rest of the evening in my space. I worked on writing and drinking coffee for the next couple of hours. It was perfect.

On my last full day in Bali, I woke up really early so that I could go into the village for the market. I hate shopping and malls, but markets are completely different. I could walk around at markets for hours at a time. I love all of the colors and the foods and items for sale. Lots of the items that I took pictures of are used in religious customs as offerings.

After my early morning visit to the market, I decided to go on a walk around the village. I spent about 2 hours walking around taking pictures. 

It was such a gorgeous day and I was completely surrounded by green and beauty. More days like this, please!!

And that was it! My Thanksgiving weekend was over . . . Generally speaking, it takes me two blogposts to cover Bali each Thanksgiving. But since the bulk of what I did was write, walk, and eat marvelous foods, I felt the pictures could do more for this post in one take then spreading it across two. 

In case you are curious, here are the links to my other Thanksgivings in Bali.

2012: blog 1 and blog 2
2013: blog 1 and blog 2 

Up next? A countdown of creative happenings from 2014 . . . Enjoy!

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