Posted by: aitzko | December 7, 2009

I take the long way home. The very long way.

Whew, this one should be a doozy!

Well, last night I went to see a Legong performance at the ARMA museum, that place I went to a couple of days ago.  It included dinner, which was delicious – cucumber soup (spicy!), roasted chicken, fish sate, and fresh fruit for dessert.  The dance was AMAZING- ARMA is apparently known for having really talented dancers, and this totally lived up to my expectations.  The setting is pretty awesome – an open stage, a beautiful building behind them, etc.  This dance was performed with a full Balinese orchestra, which means a lot of percussive xylophone-like instruments, a few drums, a few gongs, and a flute.

Balinese dance is really interesting – it’s immensely graceful, but these graceful movements are combined with complex hand gestures that each have a symbolic meaning, and really intense facial expressions.  They open their eyes really wide, look rapidly from side to side… it’s really cool to watch.  And the hands?  There is something that they do that I can only describe as Balinese Spirit Fingers.  They wiggle their fingers, but only the third and forth ones.  Or, they’ll make a scissor kind of gesture, but not the way we do it – it actually looks really difficult.

You know what would be awesome?  If we had Balinese Dancing with the Stars.  Sure, Donny Osmond can do the Viennese Waltz, but what about the Kecack?  I would love to see him do some Balinese Spirit Fingers.

Anyway, it was an awesome performance, and I was really glad I went.  On my walk home, I got approximately 7 calls of “Taxi?”, and at that hour, almost everything is closed.  Sigh.  I have to say, it will be really nice to get to Tokyo and not be constantly asked  “Taxi?  Taxi?  Where are you from?”

When I got home last night, I let myself into my little cottage, and sitting there to greet me on the bathmat was a spider.  But not just any spider.  This spider was the size of a softball.  No joke.  HUGE.  So, naturally, I did the grown-up thing to do and went as fast as I could to the front desk, where I asked someone to squish it for me.  A very nice young man came to do just that, and I think he hit it once, but it scuttled under the bookcase.  He told me, “It no hurt you,” which I take to mean that it isn’t poisonous?  Awesome.

I was pretty much terrified to go to sleep after that, so I stayed up for a while with the lights on.  I also used a combination of packing tape and clothespins to make my mosquito net around my bed as secure as possible.  I’m still alive, so I guess things are good.

This morning, I got up to go on one of the walking tours detailed in my guidebook.  It takes you around the countryside around Ubud, a good stroll through local villages and ricefields.  Well, I was doing pretty well on my walk – I had navigated pretty well, and had gotten through about half of it.  The scenery was beautiful, and I had said hi to a few people along the way.  Unfortunately I got a bit turned around and wasn’t sure of the right way to go, so I stopped at a store and asked really quick.  The guy at the counter pointed me in the right direction, but another man standing nearby said “Ubud?  I’m headed that way!  You can walk with me.”

What he meant to say was, “I’m headed in the general direction of Ubud, by going through some rice fields, some jungle, up a muddy slope, through some more ricefields, through some more jungle, and over a bamboo bridge that I’m working on that will take us over a river ten feet below.”

Seriously!  Agung became my impromptu guide, and I had NO idea what was in store for me.  He was on his way to go work on the bamboo bridge that it turns out, he is actually building himself, and since it “wasn’t that much farther” to the road, he let me walk with him.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I am so not kidding – I was practically chasing after this very fit 57 year old man, up slopes, through rice fields… it goes on and on.  And yes, I crossed his “bridge, ” which was really like five bamboo poles about ten feet above a river.  Of course, it was all gorgeous – absolutely unbelievable scenery, but I didn’t take pictures – I was too worried about keeping up with Agung!  It was actually pretty funny – he apologized for laughing, but he just couldn’t help himself:  it was too funny, how clumsy I am!  No joke.  He was laughing at me because I kept tripping, and sliding in the mud.

Agung was very nice – he told me he has 6 kids, the last three are triplets, and they give him no end of trouble!  They’re about middle school age.  He has three grandkids already from his older children, and they all live with him.

Phew!  Eventually, Agung and I got to the road, and I dragged myself back into town, exhausted.  But what a morning!


  1. I could read about Agung all day! I have some awesome pictures in my head of your unexpected adventure…thanks for sharing such a great story!

    • i sure hope tokyo doesn’t have such treacherous terrain for us… we are in big trouble if it does 🙂 can’t wait to be there with you girls!!

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