|- Didn't have a very good night sleep. Woke up in the middle of the night because the bug bites on my legs were SO itchy that they actually hurt if I didn't scratch them. I jumped out of bed and got my Tiger Balm which eased the pain.
- Woke up to the sound of roosters making the worst noises known to mankind. Not only were they cock-a-doodle-dooing every 20 seconds but one of the roosters sounded like it was being strangled at the same time. Even my earplugs were no match for the horrible sounds.
- We had breakfast at the hotel and then I took a bunch of stuff out of my bag that I wanted to send home. The things I bought in Sapa coupled with the warmer clothes I bought have made my bag stuffed to the seams and I need to send some home. I've been carrying around the bag I bought in Sapa but because it is hand dyed, the blue dye is coming off on whatever clothes I wear, so it's not something I really want to keep around for the next month or so.
- We walked about 25 minutes to the post office where I got the prices for sending home my items. Two options: by air or by sea. By sea will take 3-4 months and air will take up to 1 month. I decided I wanted to send it by air but after they boxed my items and weighed it they told me it would be about $80 to send home this little box. I couldn't believe it. After my stuff was put in a box it came out to 2.3 kg and it was about $40 to send anything below 2 kg and $80 to send anything between 2-3 kg. There was no way I was going to pay $80 so one of the guys working there brought me into the back room so I could take some of the stuff out. Once we got to the back he measured the box with a tape measure, looked at me and just pointed to the paper where it showed the $40 price, nodded his head, and said “okay.” He wrote '2 kg' on the box even though I didn't end up taking anything out and I was SO thankful. It was so sweet of him to fudge the numbers a little bit and save me $40 in shipping costs.
- After the post office we went to a bookstore and we bought a map of Ubud and a 'Bali and Lombok' Lonely Planet book. Since we both have the big “Southeast Asia” Lonely Planet, it hasn't been very helpful with just a small section on Bali.
- We went to lunch and headed back to the hotel to change for the yoga class. We ended up taking a taxi to yoga because we didn't want to be late and it would have been about a 30 min walk to get there.
- The yoga class was great. It's at the yoga studio that most people go to in Ubud called “Yoga Barn.” The style of yoga we did was 'yin yang' which meant that the first half was a lot of movement and strength based poses and the second half was more deep stretching and mellow poses. The teacher was really good (a lot better than the teacher in Sanur) and the studio location was beautiful. Overlooked a beautiful green field with palm trees in front. Nice surroundings even though there was construction going on right outside the window.
- After yoga we walked back to the hotel but on the street that passes by the monkey forest. We decided we didn't really feel like going into the monkey forest / monkey temple area but we would walk by and see the area. There were a few monkeys in the parking lot and all around the monkey forest area (looked very similar to the type of monkeys that attacked us in Vietnam). The monkeys were hanging from telephone wires, on top of cars, walking along the street, and going after a couple tourists who were holding food.
- We took a scenic little road back to the hotel which was really beautiful to walk through. It was away from the touristy part of town, no clothing or souvenir shops, just rice fields and some local houses. The rice fields were gorgeous, so incredibly green. It's such a nice change from Vietnam where everything was so gray, even the things that were meant to be green were so dull in color (because of the weather).
- We relaxed back in the room for a little bit, changed clothes, got some Nasi Campur for dinner and then took a taxi over to the place where we saw a Balinese dance performance. The name of the performance was “Fire and Trance” but it is also known as “Kecak Fire Dance.” It's really hard to describe the performance because there were so many components to it and it was so unique. About 30 men came out all dressed in the same traditional Balinese skirt (yes, men wear a skirt type thing here in Bali), all shirtless, and all with white dots on their foreheads. They sat down on the floor in three circles (with the center open for the dancers) and started chanting and singing “chak-a-chak-a-chak.” I read in the Lonely Planet book that it is to imitate a troup of monkeys. The only music to accompany the whole hour long dance performance was these men chanting and “chak-a-chak-a-chak”ing. There were three Balinese women dancers who came into the center of the three layered circle to perform. I could not believe how incredibly intricate the dance movements were. Each movement, from their eyes, arms, legs, and most impressively, their fingers was so specific and choreographed. They were constantly moving different fingers up and down, side to side, even moving individuals joints of their fingers alone. It looked like they were double jointed in every joint. If you didn't know that it was all choreographed sometimes it just looked like their fingers were twitching but its really impressive to know that each of these tiny movements are purposeful. I'm not exactly sure what the story was behind the dance but there were three women, one extremely large man, one white furry beast, two weird looking things with masks that looked like they would be in that bar scene in Star Wars (Episode 4). All of the dancers had incense in their hair or in the headpieces they were wearing. At one point one of the beautiful dancers gave a golden flower in her hair to the extremely large man and then they went off stage. That's about all the storyline I got from watching it. At the end of the show the chanting men went onstage and about 10 women came out to sing next to them. Two little girls took the stage and danced beautifully for about 15 minutes. They did a traditional Balinese dance which was also choreographed very specifically and it was really impressive to watch the little girls dance for so long and remember all the specific moves. After the girls left, they brought out a giant bag of coconut husks and piled them on the floor in front of the audience. Then they doused the husks in lighter fluid (or gasoline) and then set fire to it all so it created a giant bonfire. A dancer pretending to ride a horse came out (the horse was just a wooden horse head and a tail in back with wooden sticks for the dancer to hold in the middle). He danced around the fire while the men on the stage chanted again and then suddenly he kicks the pile of burning coconut husks and dances on top of the burning embers. Two men came to sweep up the pile of now just glowing embers and then man does the same thing 3 more times. Dances around the pile then kicks the pile and dances on top of the burning husks. At the end he sits and is blessed by a holy man and is given holy water. The same holy man gave water to the two little girls at the end of their dance, and also to the women dancing at the beginning of the show. I think the holy water was meant to release them from their “trance.” It was a really interesting show and I'm so glad we went to see it. The beat that the men were chanting was stuck in my head all night. I was so upset though because my camera wasn't working that night (just wouldn't turn on) and so I couldn't get any pictures or video of the performance. Of course the camera started working later on that night after the dance performance. Figures.