It sounds cheesy, but the village of Ubud in the island of Bali in Indonesia was very colorful and vibrant. The Balinese are very warm, welcoming, and happy to explain more about their culture and how they live anytime you ask.
Art, Architecture, and Souvenirs
Ubud is a small quiet village in the mountains that attracts many tourists each year who seek a quiet and quaint getaway. It is rich with rice paddies, fields, and terraces, so almost everywhere you turn you will see beautiful landscapes of rice paddies. A lot of the goods in the market cater to foreigners such as cultural and ethnic dresses, fabrics, paintings, masks, specifically made for foreigners to take home. The island uses their culture and religion to sell and cater to tourists for money. I loved everything they sold because of their intricate creativity, but in a way I felt bad that the locals had to alter their ways of living in order to satisfy foreigners who come each year. Balinese women are not allowed to show their shoulders, armpits, and knees, but they create beautiful clothing and fabrics that female foreigners can take home to wear. Either way there are good sides and bad sides to tourism. Tourism gains more income for the economy, but it also gentrifies locals who cannot afford to live the same way they once did. Their resources diminish more and more and they are forced to work in order to satisfy tourism and not gaining much for it.
Every morning the Balinese create small offerings before breakfast of flowers, rice, cashews, and incense on top of banana leaves for the gods in front of doorways in homes, businesses, and temples. It shows their thanks and prayers before beginning their daily lives. This tradition is only done by the Balinese Hindu and no where else in the world. The Balinese Hindu believe in not only one god, but all Hindu gods. Their dress consists of sarongs and long sleeves making sure they cover their shoulders, armpits, and knees before entering any temple. During the day, many locals will wear western dress, but it is still inappropriate for women to wear things showing their shoulders, armpits, and knees. I later realized this fact a few hours after I got a few stares from people as we walked around.
Friends We’ve Met
We were very lucky to have met a few good people during our time in Bali as it had made our experience very enjoyable and unforgettable. The Balinese are very warm and welcoming and their happiness rubs onto you. Not only did we have a great driver Nick, we also met many locals and tourists. Since the village of Ubud was very small, all the locals knew each other and word was easy to get around. You tell one person and most of the villagers know what’s happening. Many locals hang out in the same areas by their neighborhoods and it was easy to just sit and talk with them. For some it was fun to meet new foreigners everyday and show them their culture, for others it was tedious. I can tell some want to live their lives in peace without having people take pictures of them and bother them as they pray or work in the rice fields.