Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My 4D3N Holiday in Bali - Day 2 Part 2

Please note that I wasn't able to take pictures for some of the events during my Bali trip so some of these were sourced via Google.

After our little shopping escapade, we then proceeded to the Bangli Region to see an ancient Hindu Temple 45 minutes away from Denpasar. A Monarchic Temple, the structure consist of terraces representing the mountainside and serves as a symbol of fertility.

Again we had to wear a pink sash around our waist as well as a dark blue sarung (its like a batik loin cloth) before we could enter. We were lucky that day as a prayer procession was taking place heading towards the temple, so we got to see some of the preparations done for this festive occasion

Rows of terraces line the main temple with two main stairways leading to the temple courtyard inside.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My 4D3N Holiday in Bali - Day 2 Part 1

Please note that I wasn't able to take pictures for some of the events during my Bali trip so some of these were sourced via Google.

Day 2 started out quite pleasant enough as I had enough time to sleep, but not enough to recuperate from my aching muscles. Taking a shower was already a feat but breakfast was nice. We checked out of Rani Hotel at around 9:00am to continue with the tour to Kintamani, Besakith and Lovina.

But of course if you have been to a tour organised by a reputable company, each tour will take you to some shop where you can look at unique things distributed from that home nation (except Hong Kong where I remembered the guide took us to a sweatshop - boy, was I mad. A real waste of time). Sika asked us for our preferred choice of handicrafts and we told him we didn't mind seeing silver/gold and wood handicrafts.

So we went to UC Silver jewellery (quite popular in Malaysia) where we got to see how they created their masterpieces. The trip there reminded me of Japanese animes where the houses are located on narrow road like the one below.

This is where I started noticing that every traditional household or businesses seem to have a rock altar located at the front of their premises.

We were led inside the main hall, passing through this narrow corridor until we reached the first workshop where they worked on silver ornaments and jewelleries.

This is their Quality Control Room where they inspect every single finished pieces.

Then we were led to the adjoining room where these people worked on silver, gold, jade and pearl jewelleries. As a scale modeler, the first thing I noticed were their tools. They were using simple hand made tools made of wood with wires attached to develop some of the most magnificent looking jewelleries I have ever seen (and here I am using advanced tools for my hobby .. blush)

After witnessing the manufacturing processes and stringent control of quality jewelleries (which I thought was amusing cause some of these "sculptors" were working with one leg balanced on their chair, and they were churning out masterpieces), we were taken to the shop area. Yup, this is where the Tour Guides get a commission for every sale made, and there's no obligation to buy.

I managed to snap away two pictures in the shop area when I was told camera was not allowed in there (for fear a rival company may "emulate" their designs), but I did manage to get permission to take pictures of the non-jewellery sculptures in there.

Instead of a banister, they used these which to me was a good idea. And they're so life like.

Upstairs they had these wooden carving representing a traditional Bali annual festival that had been passed on for generations. The proprietor did explain to me what each sculpture represent but for the life of me, I can't remember them now.

Next its off to the Wood Handicraft. But before we proceed there, I have to put up a NSFW Warning (Not Safe For Work) as some of the wooden sculpts there are ... erm .. quite interesting.

My 4D3N Holiday in Bali - Day 1 part 2

Please note that I wasn't able to take pictures for some of the events during my Bali trip so some of these were sourced via Google.

Next on the itinerary was the Uluwatu Temple, a mysterious holy temple built with solid rocks,  perched precariously along the limestone peninsula of Bali on top of precarious cliffs with a mesmerizing seashore below overlooking the Lombok Straights. The structure was significantly expanded by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan in the 11th Century. Another sage from East Java, Dang Hyang Nirartha is credited for constructing the padmasana shrines and is claimed to have attained Moksha here. Even more remarkable than the temple itself is its location, perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above the roaring Indian ocean waves. There are more steep headlands on either side and sunsets over Uluwatu are a sight to behold

Along the way, we made a quick stopover at a hillside Villa for tea, and I didn't realise this quick stopover would leave such a lasting impression on me. The view there was simply captivating, beautiful, serene. I felt like I was in a love movie or something.

Of course I didn't expect to see the cliff side ocean when we reached the villa. The entrance looked more like a gateway to some beautifully maintained park.

We followed the pathway toward the rest house, and along the right side were the luxurious villas that were still under renovation. A mixture of ancient and modern architecture, it was a pity were couldn't have a look inside.

As we approached the rest house, the first thing I noticed was the sound of ocean waves, and the sound was a little loud, so I expected a beach nearby.

I didn't expect this. We were literally on top of a cliff overlooking one of the best looking seaside views ever. There were no ledges to cling on as you literally step close the edge of the cliff looking down. Did I mention I was terrified of heights? The winds there were strong and cooling, and the view did manage to calm my nerves .. a little.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My 4D3N Holiday in Bali - Day 1 part 1

Please note that I wasn't able to take pictures for some of the events during my Bali trip so some of these were sourced via Google.

It was 27 April 2011, and I was dreading this day. Yeah, my trip to Bali was all planned up by my wife (she's really meticulous there) and despite my reluctance, I decided why not. The trip means so much to her. And here's the best part - we only managed to pack the night before, so I was a little concerned about leaving something important behind. Of course I was also reluctant to go cause there was always that question if I could access the net from over there.

Guess I'll worry about all that when I'm there. The trip to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) airport was smooth and I was still really sleepy as I had slept in late.

We boarded our plane, an's Boeing 737-300 (image below is of a similar model) at around 11:30am and the first thing I noticed was that the flight steward and stewardess spoke fluent Indonesian (a Malay language variant) so I guessed they were Indonesians. The plane was only half full so we had our row of seats to ourselves, which was pretty neat seeing how compact the seats already were.

And I really enjoyed the flight as we were seated just ahead of the wing, literally next to the engine. I could feel the power of the Rolls Royce engine and even sense when the Captain powers up or throttles down. The only thing I didn't enjoy were the air turbulence. Yeah, nearly spilled my hot coffee.

The flight lasted almost three hours but it didn't feel like 3 hours ... OK, I fell asleep midway only to be awaken by a rough nudge when we were almost there (didn't help I was snoring too). Touchdown was fun. I was looking out the window when the plane was descending and the first thing I noticed was .... there's no land. I didn't see any ground on the left or right side of the plane. It was still the ocean.

The plane got lower and lower and lower ... and just as I was about to hit the panic button, I saw land, then within a few milliseconds the plane's wheels touched the ground. Figures, exotic land equals exotic airport landscape. The runaway literally extends out toward the sea. Neat idea if you really think about it.

We disembarked via a ramp from the plane through the terminal so I didn't really noticed the view until we were on the long corridor leading toward customs when I saw the seaside, and the waves. I was instantly captivated. Them waves are HUGE!