We again knew that day 4 was going to be another busy day. We took another tour, and we squeezed in as much as we could in 8 hours time. First stop was the Barong and Kris show. It basically showcases a story from the Mahabharata revolving around Rangda, a Balinese king from the tenth century. It’s beautiful to watch from both a visual and auditory point of view, even if most of the time you don’t understand what’s happening on stage. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears.
It’s got gods and demons and kings and the whole shebang, but the scene that stole the limelight was a BIZARRE portion involving, hang on to your seats, A MIDGET STRADDLING A DEAD EVISCERATED WILD BOAR SPORTING A RAGING ERECTION. The most fun you’ll ever have in a cultural show:
The finale of the show involves a group of men who go into a trance and plunge their sharp keris (a wavy sword) into their bare chests. They really plunge it hard and they twist it around like madmen. You’d wince a bit if you’re squeamish, but they are supposedly protected by a spell which leaves them unscathed after the dance. One man will go into the trance deeper than the others, and he will practically pass out, to be revived by the priest/shaman. It’s quite intense to watch.
After that, our main activity for this day was a visit to the Bali Safari and Marine Park. When I was a kid and our dad would take us on trips around the world, I always made time to go to the zoos, which included some of the best in the world: Berlin Zoo, San Diego Zoo, etc. So I made sure to visit this zoo/theme park.
It’s a pretty large place where you can walk around and check out the animals, but the highlight of the place is the actual safari, where you ride a bus and it takes you around to visit the animals in the “wild”. Turns out there’s a better deal, where you take an all terrain vehicle and you get to feed the animals, but it’s more expensive. It was a nifty experience, although it’s a fake safari, but good enough for city slickers.
We also had some close encounters with some of the animals. Here’s my long-lost son from an affair I had years back:
Then there was majestic albino tiger. I literally gasped when I saw it up close, because it was stunningly beautiful and exuded strength and nobility. Of course albinos never survive long in the wild because they’d stick out like a free meal for predators. This tiger wouldn’t have reached adulthood and would’ve been eaten as a cub by predators since they’ve lost their natural camouflage.
After that, we then proceeded to Uluwatu, by a cliff, for a sunset Kecak dance. I’ll try to upload a video of a portion of it, because you need to see and hear it to appreciate how incredible it is. The show lasts for an hour, telling the story of the Ramayana this time, with male performers chanting all throughout. Rumor has it that James Cameron took this as inspiration for the scene in Avatar where they were trying to revive the Sigourney Weaver character. What’s incredible about this show is that it transpires during sunset, so as the dances progress, the skies are getting darker, and it culminates in the climactic fire dance when the night is full blast. Exhilarating!
After that, we enjoyed a nice seafood dinner by a beach in Jimbaran then went home for our last night at the resort.
I forgot to post pictures of one beach we went to during day 3, so I’ll include it here as a postscript. We also went to an iconic beach in Bali called Padang-Padang, a small beach near the roadside, famous for being one of the places where the movie “Eat Pray Love” was filmed in. It’s a surfer’s beach so you see a lot of them in droves. It’s also a public beach, so you see as much locals as you see tourists. It’s got a hippie vibe to it. Here’s a view from street level; you need to go down a steep flight of stairs to go down to the actual beach:
And here’s a photo of how it looks like sea level.
(to be continued in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia)