Monday, September 14, 2009

The Sounds and Scents of Ubud, Bali

Our hotel, Alam Indah, is situated to the south of the main center of Ubud on the other side of the Monkey Forest. It is nestled in a rural area with rice fields and homes and a few other hotels. The bungalows are spread out amongst lush gardens. Our bungalow is two stories with two large verandas and windows that open wide to nature. Our bed has mosquito netting for the evening. And given that there are only fans and no a/c we sleep with windows open, netting drawn, and mosquito coils on. Fortunately the evenings are fairly cool in Ubud (although last night was a bit too muggy for our taste).

Given our “one with nature” living arrangements we have come to realize that rural Bali is anything but quiet. At the moment there are at least 3 different types of frogs making their nightly racket. There is one that goes tchittchittchittchit; one that’s got a slower raspier tsktsktsk: a “ribbitt” frog: and a croaker whos croak ends in something that sounds like a small fart…honest…like a teeny whoopee cushion. Then we have a cricket of some sort (or another frog) that sounds like a car alarm. And then we have the roaming gecko(s) whose voice pops up from above, below, and near with its chatter and then “uhoh, uhoh, uhoh”. Jerry thinks its sounds like “f*^k you; f*^kyou”.

So there you have the underlying amphibian orchestra. Now you have the confused rooster who will periodically crow at any time of night or day…but gets going full throat at 4:30 in the morning…just long enough to wake you up then he goes back to bed until around 6. But let’s not forget the dogs…often doing their 101 Dalmatian thing, where they appear to be barking to the next neighborhood dog (probably something about those damn monkeys in the monkey forest who get all the food and attention).

Then we move onto man made sounds. From the far distance come the sounds of the gamelan or rinkhik with the melodic clinking of bamboo traveling far distances. And tonight for the first time the sounds of kites are extending into the night. Yes, kites can make sounds. They have HUGE black kites that fly high in the sky and seem to growl (something to do with vibrating strings). I’ve heard them during the day, but tonight someone is flying one into the night!

The smells of the evening are really wonderful, even the mosquito coil adds a certain richness to the recipe. Wood smoke from fields, incense from spirit houses, tuberose from the small bouquets left throughout the house, fresh air as the breeze comes through the window.

1 comment:

gabybali said...

Annette! I'm glad you're enjoying Ubud and other areas you've been to!
I hope I can see you at Food Festival at Kuta Karnival next week (although it would be hard to do with thousands of people there :p)

While you are in Karangasem Regency, Taman Ujung Sukasada (Water Palace) is worth to visit, if you haven't so, here's some great pics my bf @bartcatapult took a while ago

GABY - Jimbaran, Bali