Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my 10 most guilty pleasures in Bali, part 2

…continued from my 10 most guilty pleasures in Bali (part 1)

6. get my dose of Haagen Dazs

It’s foreign, it’s exorbitant, it’s even unhealthy but what the heck, I want this sinful indulgence: Haagen Dazs. Best place to enjoy this American delight – don’t be fooled by the Scandinavian-looking spelling – is at the eponymously named café in Kuta Square, just a few paces from the complex’s flagship department store of Matahari. Scoops are about $2 and sundaes with magnificent sounding names like New York brownie special and the Royal Monte Carlo start at $5. I told you it’s obscene but I want it.

Haagen Dazs
the shop can create special sundaes for you based on your selection of ice cream!
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/640s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO100, +1.0EV

the Royal Monte Carlo
the Royal Monte Carlo made of rich tiramisu and coffee ice cream with layers of walnuts and almonds chunks
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/30s, f/5.6, 50mm, ISO 800

7. watch the sunset at Tanah Lot

It may be trite and over-marketed but the hype of the sunset of Tanah Lot is well-deserved. Little can be said that won’t scream a photographer’s dream: a temple perched on a small mushroom of a rock island in the roaring surf facing westward to the Indian Ocean, with hillside promontories to boot. Nothing could be more picturesque. Or romantic. Our wedding dinner was held here so this will always be a special place. I still visit this place whenever I can. Never, never boring.

Tanah Lot
golden sunset at Pura Tanah Lot, Tabanan, Bali
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/200s, f/4.5, 31mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

the sun sinking behind the Tanah Lot temple

8. watch a cultural performance

For first time visitors, do not leave Bali if you haven’t taken a slice of Balinese culture. Seek and enjoy a traditional dance performance. There are numerous troupes in the towns of Ubud and Gianyar with regular scheduling (ticket should be about $5 a person). I know that a lot of these view-for-pay performances are commercially adapted to the needs of the tourists, meaning they are distilled to be short but flashy, but they provide an insight to the psyche of the Balinese. I have friends in Bali so I often egg them to take me to a banjar or village with a temple anniversary or a rite to celebrate so I get my fix for free. The Balinese live through arts and when they congregate, they entertain their children, the youth and themselves by showcasing homegrown dances, songs and other arts. Foreigners are welcome all the time. All you need is just politely ask to come in.

Kusumba performance
local girls entertaining a communal gathering in Kusumba, Klungkung
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/80s, f/7.1, 33mm, ISO 200, -1/3EV

the fan
on occasions, festivals are organized with free public performances like the one here in the annual Nusa Dua Fiesta
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/5.6, 180mm, ISO 1600, -1.0EV

9. play badminton or tennis

With photography taking most of my free time in Bali, I admit I no longer could squeeze my obligatory couple of hours of sports. There was a time when I was a tennis nut. I even have a tennis racket which I deposit at a friend’s house in Denpasar which must be gathering dust now. On occasions, I go to a badminton courthouse in the big city too and practice on my smashes, lobs and drops. Honestly, if there is one country where you would like to be drilled on your badminton skills that would be Indonesia. People live and breathe badminton and you could only learn from the best.

Patty Schnyder
when I don’t play tennis, I sometimes would be a spectator. A WTA tournament is scheduled usually between September to December, participated by big names like Patty Schnyder
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/160s, f/5.0, 230mm, ISO 1600, -1/3EV

Lindsay Davenport
… and Lindsay Davenport
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/640s, f/8, 255mm, ISO 1600

10. shop at Sukawati

I confess, I am an inveterate souvenir shopper. I’ve graduated from little disposable trinkets to functional houseware and supplies. Handicrafts from Bali are essentially conversation pieces in the Philippines- they are different, colorful and gorgeous. From handwoven bamboo fruit baskets to full relief Ramayana carvings, Bali has a lot to offer and there is no better location to scour for treasures than the biggest and liveliest art market in Bali- Sukawati. I actually enjoy getting lost in the jumble of stores, whether inside the main art market building or in the surrounding streets. There’s another building just across which houses food comestibles and household items catering mostly to the locals and the goods there are worth a try. Just one caveat: be careful on overspending. Think about your baggage allowance, which nowadays are at 20kg domestically and internationally within Asia. Too bad. There’s just so much to buy in Sukawati. All the time.

Sukawati baskets
brightly colored fruit baskets for sale at Sukawati, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/250s, f/8.0, 24mm, ISO 400, -1/3 EV

ikat blankets anyone?
ikat blankets can be a bargain if you know how to haggle
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/20s, f/2.8, 7.1mm

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Anonymous said...

#6 the ice cream looks very very very sinful and must be very very very delicious!

Farl said...

it is and more! I'm salivating now LOL!

ayumi83 said...

Tanah Lot really beautiful place in BAli


Farl said...

ayumi- just went to tanah lot yesterday and there was a big temple anniversary ceremony. people were crossing the temple despite the knee high tide! talk about dedication.