A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Tales from Ubud ~ The Apple of Bali's Eye

A collection of free short stories, essays, news, photographs, art and blog-posts from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Street art of a traditional Balinese woman drinking fruit juice by Sri Agung Ratnasari of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Urban art by one of Bali's very few female artists of a traditional Balinese woman sipping mischeviously on her fruit juice at Warung Kila in Mas, Ubud, Bali.
Commercial urban mural by © 2021 A.A. Sri Agung Ratnaswari.
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

Remember to keep in touch

Street art by Bali's 'Peanut Dog'

Graffiti art / The jungle wire / Long-distance communication & Covid-19
Keep in touch with the ones you love, even if it's by jungle wire

More innocent, pre-smart-'phone times. Totally enamoured with the trompe-l'œil jungle-wire telephone cable. Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Bali street art © 2018 Peanut Dog.
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

Times are hard for families kept apart by pandemic restrictions, stay in touch with the ones you love

Times are hard for families and friends kept apart by the pandemic – stay in touch with the ones you value and love. Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Bali graffiti art © 2018 Peanut Dog.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.


Ubud High ~ Contents

Jump to Bali's latest news, or read on for Ubud High's newest posts. If you want a Covid-free read, head down to The Ubud Handbook – or to Bali in the time of Covid-19 for a 2021 intro.

Take the weight off your brain and get lost in some Balinese art.

Bali 2020 is here. Leaf through the ancient blog from 2016 to 2018 – or go full-antique and dive into the prehistoric posts of 2013-2015.

And finally, today's Bali weather. Have a safe 2021.


Bali 2021 ~ The Tourist Ghost Ship

Covid-19 pandemic / Economic recession / Tourist economy / Unemployment / Bankruptcy

Blog ~ Bali & Indonesia in the time of Covid-19 by Ubud High
Balinese street art of a pirate ship flying the Jolly Roger on the wall of a bankrupt restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 2021

Balinese street art of a pirate ship flying the Jolly Roger on the wall of a bankrupt restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on May 27, 2021.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

➤ Bali 2021 ~ Bali & Indonesia in the Time of Covid-19

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Covid-19 street art on Bali by 'Wild Drawing'

Coronavirus pandemic-inspired urban art in Bali, Indonesia

Bali / Tourist industry & economy / Poverty / Economic recession / Bankruptcy
Street-art by the Balinese muralists 'Wild Drawing' and 'SLINAT' of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask against Covid-19 as she chooses between dollars and rice to survive the Indonesian economic crisis

'Tembang Ladang Gula' (2020).
Street art by the Balinese muralists 'Wild Drawing' and 'Slinat' of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask to guard against Covid-19 as she chooses between her vanishing tourist-dollars or growing rice to survive the on-going Indonesian economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.
Urban graffiti art by © 2020 Wild Drawing / Slinat.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ See more of Wild Drawing's wildest street art on Bali at Ubud High.

No money left to burn as Bali's tourist-dollars vanish during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis

Detail of 'Tembang Ladang Gula' (2020).
No money left to burn as Bali's tourist-dollars vanish during the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.
Urban art by © 2020 Wild Drawing / Slinat.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Street mural of the mythical Hindu bird-dragon Garuda offering a drop of life-giving water to a parched, damaged world as a Balinese-Hindu woman prays for his success

Detail of 'Tembang Ladang Gula' (2020) by the Balinese street-artist 'Wild Drawing' (WD).
Street mural of the mythical Hindu bird-dragon Garuda offering a drop of life-giving water to a parched, damaged world as a Balinese-Hindu woman prays for his success.
Street art by © 2020 Wild Drawing.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Street-art by the Balinese muralists 'Wild Drawing' and 'SLINAT' of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask against Covid-19 as she chooses between her burning dollars and growing rice to survive the incoming Indonesian economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus

Detail of 'Tembang Ladang Gula' (2020) by the Balinese muralists 'Wild Drawing' and 'Slinat'.
A Balinese woman ponders a return to the rice-fields rather than go hungry in an increasingly recession-hit Bali.
Denpasar, South Bali, Indonesia on September 5, 2020.
Urban graffiti art © 2020 Wild Drawing / Slinat.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ More from Bali's wildest urban artist – Wild Drawing – at Ubud High


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English-language news for Bali, Indonesia

Latest news & updates / Coronavirus & Covid-19 pandemic / Current affairs

Dateline: Evergreen
A young Lord Ganesha writes a chapter of The Mahabharata with his broken tusk at a stone-carver's shop in Batubulan, Bali, Indonesia

Twitter Digest

Scroll for news, views, links & free-writing on the Bali scene provided by @DurianLiftOff on Twitter.

Bali News Digest

If you're living on Bali or just passing through, you might want to keep an eye on the island's fast-changing place in the Covid-19 stakes.

  ❂ The Jakarta Globe and Reuters ~ Indonesia's news.
  ❂ Bali news ~ Coconuts Bali.
  ❂ For smaller island stories ~ The Bali Sun.
  ❂ Covid-heavy round-up of Bali's news that also covers Indonesian-language papers ~ The Bali Beat.

Pre-Covid-19, a troupe of Balinese dancers show a little attitude before a performance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

  ❂ Asia Times ~ Regular, heavyweight articles about Indonesia.
  ❂ Channel News Asia ~ Big-picture Asian views.
  ❂ The Jakarta Post ~ Indonesia's ageing grandaddy of English-language newspapers.

Crypto News Digest




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Newest Posts at Ubud High

The Bali Street Art Scene ~ Urban Artists in the Wild

Street artists / Murals / Bali / Graffiti / Canggu / Seminyak / Kuta / Ubud

Pics of the Day by Ubud High

Bali's street art for the masses – the most public of the island's art scene hidden in plain view on the walls of Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Ubud.

Street art and murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant

(Left & right): Balinese-flavoured street art by the urban artist ARTXPAN at Beach Garden in Canggu, Bali.
(Middle): Commercial graffiti mural at Old Man's bar in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.
Photographs by © 2021 Ubud High.

⇨ Take your fill of Bali's best street art, murals and graffiti in Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Ubud ⇨

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A Balinese Salvador Dali goes all film noir over a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud.
Surreal Bali street art by unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Bali street art of a traditional Balinese woman peering over a set of Trunyan skulls at Beach Garden near Old Man's bar on Jalan Batu Bolong in Canggu, Indonesia

Bali street art of a traditional Balinese woman peering over a set of Trunyan skulls at Beach Garden near Old Man's bar & restaurant on Jalan Batu Bolong in Canggu, Indonesia.
Urban Mural by © ARTXPAN.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Commercial mural of a kecak dance performance in an Ubud restaurant near the Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali, Indonesia

Commercial mural of a kecak dance performance surrounding a serving-hatch in an Ubud restaurant near the Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali, Indonesia.

Mural by unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Graffiti artwork by the street artist 'Wild Drawing' of a Balinese boy going hungry due to unemployment and the collapse of the tourist industry in Bali, Indonesia

'Covid-19 vs. Hunger' by the street artist 'Wild Drawing' of a Balinese boy going hungry due to unemployment and the collapse of the tourist industry following the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on Bali's economy.

3-D street art © 2020 Wild Drawing ('WD') of the 'Komunitas Pojok' art collective.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ See 45 more works of street & urban art, murals and graffiti on Bali ⇨

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Russian Instagram influencer drives motorbike into Bali Sea; deported for breach of Covid-19 health protocols

Russians in Bali / Indonesia / Immigration / Deportation / Covid-19 health protocols

Bali 2021 ~ Covid-19, crime and foreigners behaving badly on Bali

Sergei Kosenko, a Russian national and 'Instagram influencer' – who caused outrage in December 2020 after being filmed launching off a dock on a motorcycle and plunging into the Bali Sea for Instagram likes – was deported from Indonesia on January 24, 2021.

Sergei Kosenko, seen partying hard with hired models, was deported from Bali for breaking Indonesiam Covid-19 health protocols and conducting illegal business on the island

Russian 'social media influencer' Sergei Kosenko, deported from Indonesia after holding a party for more than 50 people at a Bali hotel in violation of Indonesian Covid-19 health protocols.
Image: Instagram.

Would you honestly buy a used hotel from a Smolensk native who looks like this?

Read on... ➤

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Balinese Hinduism / Buddhism / Shree Ganesh / Sri Ganesa / Dewa Ganesa

The Ubud Handbook / Religion Matters
Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Lord Ganesha comes in many guises – but is rarely seen in his alter-persona as the blissed-out four-armed patron saint of Balinese street artists. Complete with can of spray-paint, roller, a paintbrush... and what appears to be alpha-inspiration being leaked from his raised right hand. (The pet mouse is, of course, the elephant-headed deity's go-to form of transport.)

Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

The Indian Lord Ganesha certainly got around. First stop on his ‘round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati.

Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled to the brim with human flesh and blood, and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...

⇨ Read the full story: 'The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Kite-Flying Season in July ~ Bali, Indonesia

Trade winds / Bali's weather / Annual kite-flying festival & competition / Padang Galak

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
LGBQT-coloured kites for sale on Canggu beach, North Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Pandemic or no pandemic – if it's Bali in July, it must be kite-flying weather. A beach-side kite-seller adds to the colour and inclusivity in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Annual kite-flying festival and competition at Padang Galak beach near Sanur, Bali, Indonesia in July

In normal, non-pandemic times, each July sees a major annual kite-flying festival on the windy south-eastern beach of Padang Galak near Sanur, Bali, Indonesia. Competition is always fierce... and good-humoured.
Photograph © 2019 Ubud High.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Monsoon / Wet season / Best time to visit Bali / Rainy season diseases / Weather in Bali

The Ubud Handbook / Health Matters

There was a time when you could pick the best months to visit Bali, and miss out on most of the rainy season. But the days of setting your watch to a daily monsoon downpour have long gone.

Rule Number One on a rainy day? Don't get wet... ⇨

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

The eye of the storm: rain-laden monsoon clouds over Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © Ubud High.

⇨ Read the full story: 'Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Bali Street Art in Canggu ~ AllCaps Park, Art Gallery & Store

AllCaps Graffiti HQ & urban artists' paradise

Spray an' Pray AllCaps murals in Canggu and Mengwi, Bali, Indonesia

If you're on Bali, bored stupid with CovidWorld and in dire need of a quick, deep brainwash, drop by the AllCaps Park in Canggu to fill your eyes up with the bizarre, the beautiful and the downright off-the-wall murals, graffiti and street art there.

Street art at the AllCaps Park in Canggu, Bali

A lot of moving parts here.

Surreal, nightmare-induced street art at the AllCaps Graffiti Park in Canggu, Bali.
Urban Graffiti by unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

If you're looking for the AllCaps Graffiti Store & Gallery for your spray-paint supplies and an instant community of urban artists, you'll need to head out from Canggu – now known as 'Moscow Central' – to Padi Central on Jalan Raya Tumbakbayuh in Mengwi.

Street art at the AllCaps Park in Canggu, Bali

Street art at the AllCaps Graffiti Park in Canggu, Bali.
Urban Stencil Art by © SLINAT ('Silly In Art').
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

AllCaps Park in Canggu is a treat for the die-hard street art fan. The AllCaps Gallery & Shop in Mengwi is open daily, and very welcoming to complete strangers – with plenty of laid-back generosity of spirit that most artists are famous for.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Nyepi ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence

The Balinese-Hindu Saka New Year / Hari Raya Nyepi / Tanggal merah / Public holiday

The Ubud Handbook / Religion Matters

If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to figure out the night before, perhaps it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese-Hindu Day of Silence, and the first day of the Hindu Saka New Year is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget.

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

In pre-Covid-19 times, Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Purnama Beach in Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © Ubud High.

For a single day and a night during Nyepi, life on the small island of Bali comes to a bone-shattering halt. Work and travel is out of bounds, and for a brief 24 hours no-one – tourists included – is allowed to stray from their homes or hotels...

Sacred barong and temple effigies are carried in procession during a Melasti ceremony the day before Nyepi in Bali, Indonesia

Pre-Coronavirus, sacred temple effigies are carried in procession during a Melasti ceremony on Pantai Purnama the day before Nyepi in Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © Ubud High.

⇨ Read the full story: 'Nyepi ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Spiritual cleansing at the sacred springs in Sebatu near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Balinese Hinduism / Cleansing ritual / Religion / Spiritualism / Selflessness

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
Balinese-Hindu worshipers purify themselves with sacred water at a natural spring in Sebatu, Bali

Pre-Covid-19, Balinese-Hindu believers purify themselves with holy water at a natural, sacred spring in Sebatu the day after the Hindu Saka New Year in Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2019 Ubud High.

Balinese-Hindu offerings of rice, holy water, flower petals, cigarettes, sweets and candy on an altar next to the sacred springs at Sebatu, Bali, Indonesia

Balinese-Hindu offerings of rice, holy water, flower petals, money, cigarettes and sweets on an altar next to the sacred springs at Sebatu in Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2019 Ubud High.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Kajeng Kliwon ~ A Very Bad Hair Day on Bali

Balinese ceremonial day / The spirit world / Balinese-Hinduism / 'Niskala', or 'the unseen'

The Ubud Handbook / Religion Matters

Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen.

It invariably does.

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

Film poster for the 2019 Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali' starring Amanda Manoppo and Christ Laurent.

If you don't pray – or pay very close attention – Kajeng Kliwon is the day when you get run off your 'bike; or forget the pan on the stove until it melts; or your dog dies of a heart-attack; or a coconut falls on your head; or you leave your kids behind in the departure lounge; or your walls just fall down.

It's one of those...

⇨ Read the full story: 'Kajeng Kliwon ~ A Very Bad Hair Day on Bali' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Bali Rules ~ Road Traffic Accident (RTA) statistics for Bali, Indonesia (1996-2020)

Statistics for accidents, injuries and deaths on Bali's roads

Scooter and motorbike rentals / Motorcycle and car crashes in Bali, Indonesia

Check out the statistics for checking out on Bali's roads.

The only graphic content you're going to see in this post is of the chart variety. But if you'd rather not know what you're up against on Bali's streets, just keep scrolling – because ignorance, sometimes, is bliss...

Graphic showing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2020

Statistics showing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2020. * Numbers for injuries from 2020 are not yet available.
Source: Kepolisian Daerah Bali (KPD) ~ State Police of Bali Province, Indonesia (www.bali.bps.go.id).

There's a lot of fresh blood on the roads.

An exponential boom in tourism – and the corresponding wealth that it has brought the island – has also meant an explosion of traffic on Bali.

Graphic showing the exponential rise in the number of scooters, cars, trucks and buses on Bali's roads from 1996 to 2019

Statistics showing the exponential rise in the number of scooters, cars, trucks and buses on Bali's roads (1996-2019). Numbers for 2020 are not yet available.
Source: Badan Pendapatan Provinsi Bali (BPPB) ~ Government Income Department of Bali Province, Indonesia (www.bali.bps.go.id).

The number of vehicles on Bali has mushroomed from just over half a million to nearly 5 million in 25 years – with most of the new additions being motorbikes.

Whether you're driving a rental car or a scooter, 85 percent of your fellow road-users on Bali are motorcycle riders – and it's not rocket science that most people who are injured or die on the island's roads are riding a 'bike.

If you want to kill or injure yourself – or somebody else – on Bali, jumping on a scooter with no experience is a tried-and-trusted method. Driving your own rental car here without experience is a recipe for manslaughter.

Statistics for reported injuries caused by road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2019

Statistics for reported injuries caused by road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2019. Numbers for 2020 are not yet available.
Source: State Police of Bali Province.

What's the worst that can happen? You die.

What's the second-worst thing that can happen? You kill someone else, and things get very sticky with the police, the victim's family and the courts, and you go to jail and pay a lot of compensation before going home.

Bali sees a steady stream of about 500 road-deaths a year, which works out to about ten people a week.

The question is: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

Statistics for deaths caused by road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2020

Statistics for deaths caused by road traffic accidents (RTAs) on Bali from 1996 to 2020.
Source: State Police of Bali Province.

Keeping the rubber on the road ~ Hints and tips

  1. Hints and tips for riding a rental scooter ~ Surviving Bali on a 'Bike
  2. A tourist scooter-accident ~ It's Silly Season Again
  3. Balinese victim of a motorcycle crash ~ The Other Side of the Coin

⇨ See the full statistics: 'Bali Rules ~ Road Traffic Accident (RTA) statistics for Bali (1996-2020)' ⇨

It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a scooter, and crashing it, on Bali

Renting a motorbike on Bali / Motorcycle injuries, accidents and crashes

The Ubud Handbook / Getting Around
Mural by an anonymous street-artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter on a wall near Badung market in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Street art by an anonymous urban artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter on a wall near Badung market in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

I'm waiting for a friend on Jalan Suweta in Central Ubud. Three young Scandinavian women are at the side of the road clinching a deal on their new scooter rentals. They mount, and look non-plussed as they hunt for the ignition. The rental lady demonstrates how to switch their motorbikes on.

It really doesn't bode well...

⇨ Read the full story: 'It's Silly Season Again in Ubud ~ Renting a scooter and crashing it on Bali' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Anti-maskers on Bali ~ The Shame Game

Poster of an elderly masked Balinese farmer railing at maskless Western foreigners and tourists on Bali

Westerners / Face-mask mandate / Covid-19 Health protocols in Indonesia / Coronavirus pandemic
Poster shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks in Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Sanur in Bali, Indonesia

Public poster outside Ubud Market shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks and disobeying Indonesia's Covid-19 health protocols. Masks have been mandated in Indonesia since March 2020. Foreigners' adoption of masks is embarrassingly weak on the resort island.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on Feb 13, 2021.
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

⇨ Read the blog post: 'Marked for Life ~ Anti-maskers, maskless foreigners and Covid-19 on Bali' ⇨

Thought for the Day

Coronavirus & Covid-19 Pandemic

Coping

“Lots of people are feeling unproductive. But if you successfully infect zero people today with the virus, then you have already had an extremely productive day.”

From Dr. James Hamblin, M.D. over at Twitter.

Covid-19 pandemic street art by Wild Drawing

Urban art in Bali, Indonesia

Coronavirus / Couples / Long-distance relationships / Separation / Communication / Social-distancing
Street-art by the Balinese muralist 'Wild Drawing' on separation, communication and long-distance relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic

'Message' (2020).
Street art by the anonymous Balinese urban artist 'Wild Drawing' (WD) on separation, long-distance relationships and the importance of communication during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Denpasar, South Bali, Indonesia.

Urban Art by © 2020 Wild Drawing.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ See more of Wild Drawing's street murals and 3D urban art on Bali ⇨


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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Latest Tales from The Ubud Handbook

Durian ~ The King of Stink

The Durian Fruit in Bali, Indonesia

The Ubud Handbook / Food Talk

Soft, succulent, stinky and spikey, the durian fruit is canonised by some and demonised by many, many more. Known to its fans as the 'King of Fruits', it's heavily rich in minerals and vitamins and a sworn enemy of free radicals.

The thing is, not everyone's on the same page – and its critics don't pull any punches when it comes to the pong.

"Ungodly."

"Like a three-week-old dead cow in custard."

"On the third bite," says one hater, "it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way up." And from an international food critic: "Its odour is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions garnished with a dirty gym sock."

But for a durian dilettante?

The late chef Anthony Bourdain was a secret lover. Even the wandering 19th century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace went full food-writer on it in 'The Malay Archipelago', describing it as '... a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds combined with occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy.'

So at least we're agreed it's edible...

⇨ Read the full story: 'Durian ~ The King of Stink' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

Indonesia / Bali / 1930s / History / Bioskop

The Ubud Handbook / Culture Bites
'Legong: Dance of the Virgins' (1935) nudie-cutie film poster 1930s Bali

"Native customs, native music, native cast".
'Legong: Dance of the Virgins' (1935) bare native Thirties' film poster, Bali.

Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen. In Indonesia, they're its bedrock.

The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...

⇨ Read the full story: 'Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Diary of a Market Girl

Love, tragedy, suicide, motherhood and hope

The Ubud Handbook / Personal Stories
Scarlet flower petals used for Balinese-Hindu offerings for sale at a stall in Ubud Market, Bali, Indonesia

Scarlet flower petals used in Balinese-Hindu offerings for sale at a market stall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

“I don't know how old I am. I was born on Pagerwesi Day – a Balinese ceremonial day where we put out offerings for God and our spirits to protect our homes and compounds from evil. Pagerwesi means 'iron wall' in Balinese. That's how I remember my birthday. We didn't use Western calendars back then.

I think I'm about 49 years old.

I left school when I was nine. My parents had ten children, although two of them died – my younger sister when she was still learning to speak, and my older brother when he was about ten. We don't know why they died – they just didn't wake up in the morning...”

⇨ Read the full story: 'Diary of a Market Girl' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

An American Calonarang ~ Trance and Possession on Bali

Balinese-Hindu religion / 'Niskala' / The spirit world / Temple festival / Odalan / Possession and trance

The Ubud Handbook / Religion Matters

Now you know how Jim Carrey felt. Several nights ago, to celebrate the grand opening of the newly-renovated, Disney-style temple in Campuhan, there was a Calonarang ceremony – a spiritually-charged ritual drama where sacred masks are donned, souls are possessed by the unseen and deep trance ensues.

But this one was a little different...

⇨ Read the full story: 'An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali' ⇨

'Kerauhan' ~ Trance and Possession on Bali

Balinese-Hinduism / The spirit world / 'Niskala' / Temple ceremony / Odalan

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High

Pre-Covid-19, a Kerauhan – a voluntary mass-possession and trance ceremony – during an annual temple festival in Buleleng, North Bali.

Possessed Balinese-Hindu women dance and pray during a mass-possession ceremony at an annual village temple festival, or 'odalan', in North Bali, Indonesia

Possessed Balinese-Hindu women dance and pray during a mass-possession ceremony at an annual village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

A Balinese-Hindu man in deep trance during a mass-possession ceremony at a village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia

A Balinese-Hindu man in deep trance during a mass-possession ceremony during a village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

A Balinese-Hindu woman, possessed by a male spirit, dances while in trance during a mass-possession ceremony at an odalan festival in North Bali, Indonesia

A Balinese-Hindu woman, possessed by a male spirit, dances while in trance during a mass-possession ceremony at an odalan festival in North Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

A possessed Hindu woman is supported by family members during a trance ceremony at a village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia

A possessed Hindu woman is supported by family members during a trance ceremony at a village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

⇨ See the full gallery: 'Kerauhan ~ Trance & Possession on Bali' ⇨


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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Balinese Art, Artists & Paintings ~ A Guide

Art for Art's Sake ~ A Bali 'Art Attack

Balinese art / Traditional, Modern and Contemporary Balinese paintings

Paintings for sale ~ Direct from Artist to Buyer
Balinese painting for sale by the artist I. Ketut Murtika from Batuan, Bali, Indonesia

Untitled.
Painting by © I. Ketut Murtika of Batuan, Bali.
Photograph by © Ubud High.

The last time major economic disasters hit Bali – the 2002 and 2005 bombings – many of Bali's artisans and artists packed up their easels and chisels for good. Silversmiths became taxi drivers to put food on the table; painters became barmen; wood-carvers became hotel sheet-changers as the bottom fell out of the market.

The result? A generation of Balinese art that was never made.

The impact of the Coronavirus on Bali's artists and their families is crushing, and tourists won't be back anytime soon to fill the gaps. The Balinese economy is running on fumes. There is no social security and no emergency bail-outs to speak of on Bali.

'Mohamed dan Nelayan' (Mohamed and the Fishermen) by the painter Made Tubuh of Batuan, Bali, Indonesia

'Mohamed dan Nelayan' (Mohamed and the Fishermen) by Made Tubuh of Batuan, Bali, Indonesia.
Painting by © I. Made Tubuh.
Photograph by © Ubud High.

And so to A Bali 'Art Attack at Ubud High – a commission-fee-free area for Balinese artists to showcase their work, and to hopefully sell a piece or two in the process. For young artists, it's their lifeblood; for the old, their pension; and for relatives of artists who have passed away, a chance for their families to swap some very tasty, bequeathed art for food.

All artists' or representatives' contact details are provided in each portfolio. Please contact them directly for enquiries, payment, collection or delivery.

Dig deep, or just enjoy the free market scene...

Om Swastiastu.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Traditional Balinese Paintings by Ida Ketut Sutama

Bali 'Art Attack / Traditional Balinese painters / I. Ketut Sutama of Kutuh Kaja, Ubud

The Ubud School of Painting / Balinese Hinduism / Ceremonies, harvests, markets and traditional Balinese life

A series of colour paintings converted to gallery-quality tritone prints for sale – by the traditional Balinese artist I. Ketut Sutama of Kutuh Kaja, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Traditional colour painting of rice fields, farmers and Balinese village life, by Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Traditional 'Ubud Style' Balinese painting of rice fields, farmers and Balinese village life, by I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
150 x 100cm, acrylic on canvas.
Artwork © 2020 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Traditional colour painting of rice fields, farmers and Balinese village life by the artist I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Black-and-white tritone version of a traditional colour painting of rice fields, farmers and Balinese village life by the artist I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Original 150 x 100 cm acrylic colour painting on canvas.
Artwork © 2020 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Traditional black-and-white painting of an evening upacara, or Balinese-Hindu ceremony, by I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Traditional-style Balinese painting of an evening upacara – a Balinese-Hindu ceremony – by I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Original 90cm x 70cm painting in colour. Acrylic on canvas.
Artwork © 2003 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Traditional black-and-white painting of an evening upacara, or Balinese-Hindu ceremony, by I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Full painting of the evening Balinese-Hindu ceremony by the artist I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Original 90cm x 70cm painting in colour. Acrylic on canvas.
Artwork © 2003 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Traditional Balinese painting of farmers harvesting rice in Ubud padi fields by I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Traditional Balinese painting of farmers harvesting rice in Ubud padi fields by the artist I. Ketut Sutama of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Original 100cm x 75cm artwork in colour. Acrylic on canvas.
Artwork © 2016 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

'Memotong Padi Tradisi' (A Traditional Rice Harvest) – a traditional black-and-white Balinese painting of rice-harvesting in Ubud by the painter I. Ketut Sutama of Bali, Indonesia

'Memotong Padi Tradisi' (A Traditional Rice Harvest) – a traditional black-and-white Balinese painting of rice-harvesting in Ubud by the painter I. Ketut Sutama of Bali, Indonesia.
Original 65cm x 50cm painting in colour. Acrylic on canvas.
Artwork © 2014 I. Ketut Sutama.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Three Sketches by Wayan Turun ~ Christ's Nativity, the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and the Temptation of Christ (1956/'57)

Bali 'Art Attack / Traditional Balinese painters / Wayan Turun of Ubud

Ketut Lasia / Made Parsita / Rudolf Bonnet / Christianity on Bali / Protestant Dutch missionaries / Zendingserfgoedhuis in Holland / The Potomack Company, USA

A tale of three biblical stories sketched by the Balinese-Hindu artist Wayan Turun in the 1950s – and found, by chance, in a village framer's shop in Peliatan, Ubud.

Gridded preparatory pencil-on-paper sketch of the painting 'Christ Walking on Water to His Apostles' at the Sea of Galilee by Wayan Turun of Bali

'Christ Walking on Water to His Apostles' (1956) by the traditional master Balinese painter Ida Wayan Turun of Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud, Bali.
Preparatory 1956 pencil-on-paper sketch with ruled grids of a painting completed in 1957 of Christ walking on water to save Peter and the apostles from drowning in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Courtesy of the private owner.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Pencil-sketch on paper with grids of Christ's Nativity in Bethlehem by the traditional painter I. Wayan Turun of Tebesaya, Bali, Indonesia

'Christ at His Nativity' (1957) by the traditional Balinese artist Wayan Turun of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Preparatory pencil-on-paper sketch with ruled grids of a 1957 painting of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
Courtesy of the private owner.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Untitled preparatory pencil-sketch with grids by the painter Wayan Turun of Tebesaya, Bali, of a holy man with female monster

1956 untitled preparatory pencil sketch on paper using the 'grid system' or 'grid technique' by the traditional Balinese painter Ida Wayan Turun of Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud.
Courtesy of the private owner.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Balinese Paintings at the ARMA Gallery – the Agung Rai Museum of Art – in Ubud, Bali

Traditional, modern and contemporary works of Balinese art

Paintings by Kasta, Meja, Budiana, Sugi, Turas, Kayun, Bendi, Pugug, Liyer, Pendet, Kaler, Kwandji, Kandel, Djodjol, Londo, Tagen, Regig, Tubuh, Baret, Mokoh, Turun and Asta

Ubud's ARMAThe Agung Rai Museum of Art – is home to over 200 modern and traditional works of art that paint Bali's story in ways you've only dreamed of.

File under 'Rare Left Field'. Give your legs a break – let your eyes do the walking.

The painting 'The Frog Dance' in the ARMA Art Gallery, Ubud, by the Balinese artist I Ketut Regig of Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia

'The Frog Dance' in the ARMA Art Gallery, Ubud, by the traditional Balinese artist I Ketut Regig of Peliatan, Bali, Indonesia.
Courtesy of the Agung Rai Museum of Art Foundation.
Photograph by Ubud High.

The painting 'Circle of Life' at the ARMA Art Gallery by the Balinese artist I Dewa Nyoman Sugi of Mas, Bali, Indonesia

'Circle of Life' at the ARMA Art Gallery by the Balinese artist I Dewa Nyoman Sugi of Mas, Bali, Indonesia.
Courtesy of the ARMA Foundation.
Photograph by Ubud High.

Durma And The Hermit by the Balinese artist Anak Agung Gede Raka Turas of Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali

'Durma And The Hermit' at the ARMA Art Gallery, Ubud, by the traditional Balinese artist Anak Agung Gede Raka Turas of Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali.
Courtesy of the Agung Rai Museum of Art Foundation.
Photograph by Ubud High.

⇨ See 30 more works of mind-bending Balinese art at the ARMA gallery: 'The Agung Rai Museum of Art, Ubud' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Urban Art, Bali-style

Bali street art in Ubud, Ketewel and Denpasar

Street murals, graffiti and contemporary Balinese artists
Street-art mural by the Balinese art collective 'The Pojoks' in Ketewel, Bali

Street murals on the side of Kulidan Kitchen by the Balinese street-artists 'Timmy Turtle', 'SLINAT' and 'Gus Dark' in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia on August 3, 2020.
Urban Art by © 2020 Komunitas Pojok (The Pojoks) Street Art Collective, Bali.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Surreal, cock-headed street art by an unknown urban artist on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Bali

Tolerance is exhibited and practised at every level by the Balinese people – one of the most patient, accepting, and most forgiving races I have ever come across.

In this slightly sarcastic take, an alien-headed foreigner carries a cockerel's head on a stick, a pink balloon and a sign appealing for tolerance at a sacred level.

Less 'om', more 'um'.

Surreal, animal-headed Bali street art by an unknown urban artist on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Street art of a muzzled dog-man tired of being hounded by gossip in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Tired of being hounded by gossip?
"Don't talk about me."

Urban Art by © 2014 'Peanut Dog' of the Komunitas Pojok street art crew in Denpasar, Bali.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ See more: Bali street & urban art in Canggu, Seminyak, Denpasar and Ubud ⇨

Street Art & Graffiti at Taman Festival, Bali

Murals & Urban Art at the abandoned theme park of Taman Festival Bali, Padang Galak, Sanur

Urbex / Tagging
Mural by the street-artist SLINAT of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask to combat air pollution and the Coronavirus at Taman Festival Bali theme park, Indonesia

Street art by the urban artist SLINAT of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask to combat air pollution – and now the Coronavirus – at Taman Festival Bali theme park in Indonesia.

Street Art by © 2019 SLINAT.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Mural of a traditionally-dressed Balinese woman wears a gas-mask to combat air pollution and the Coronavirus at Taman Festival theme-park in south Bali, Indonesia

Defaced street mural by the urban artist SLINAT of a traditionally-dressed Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask to combat air pollution – and on a subversive level, to protect against erosive tourism – at Taman Festival in Bali, Indonesia.

Urban art by © 2019 SLINAT.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Urban art, murals and graffiti galore at the derelict and haunted Taman Festival Theme Park in Bali

Urban & street art, murals, tagging and graffiti at the derelict – and most definitely haunted – Taman Festival Theme Park, Bali. Just watch your step...

Photographs by © 2020 Ubud High.

⇨ See more: Street & urban art at 'Taman Festival Bali' ⇨


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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

New-Age Tourism on Bali ~ The Me Tribe

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Self-healing / Gurus / Wellness / Healers / New-Age tourism

The Ubud Handbook / Tourism & Self-Enrichment
Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

Advert for crystal-infused eco active yoga-wear – for the conscious yogini who is intent on manifesting abundance and exploring her divine feminine – in a quiet Balinese village twenty minutes' north of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Man buns, camel-toes, hipster beards and Buddha tattoos flood the downtown Ubud scene. Not enlightened yet? Then you're late to the Conscious Party.

Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti BoogieŽ at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...

⇨ Read the full story: 'The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Ecstatic Dance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ecstasy / Bliss / Trance / Wellness / Self-healing / Music / Party / New-Age tourism

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
Ecstatic dancers in mid-flow, as the journey begins at The Bali Spirit Festival towards wellness and self-healing

Pre-pandemic, a posse of female dancers bliss out during an ecstatic dance session in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

In non-Covid-19 times, ecstatic dance sessions are regularly held at The Yoga Barn™, the Paradiso Vegan Cinema Ubud, the Akasha Restaurant, and the Ubud Yoga Centre. It's also a mainstay at the annual Bali Spirit Festival held each year in Ubud. Music is usually "... progressive and underground-experimental – combining deep forms of dubstep, grime, trap music, drum-and-bass, techno – and new and innovative genres of electronic music that have yet to be defined".

An elderly ecstatic dancer considers her next move during an ecstatic dance session in Ubud, Bali Indonesia

An elderly female ecstatic dancer considers her next move during an ecstatic music and dance session in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

Extract from 'The Truth About Ecstatic Dancing at The Yoga Barn' in 'Balilicious' by Becky Wicks:

‘... I was quite happy just to keep bopping quietly on the spot, you know, not attracting any attention as I worked through my issues – but the petite, middle-aged lady next to me felt the sudden urge to scream at the top of her lungs. With no-one else in the room making any sound at all, she made me jump by deciding, somehow, that it was time for her to writhe on the floor at my feet, yell at my ankles and then get up and beat the walls of the yoga studio like a blood-thirsty zombie in a horror film.

Seriously, she was doing things I wouldn't have done on wine. Even the really cheap wine that's mostly chemicals. Obviously, this lady must have been very stressed...’

If you want a big, fat belly-laugh, go and read the whole story over at www.beckywicks.com. It's accurate, and very funny.

⇨ Satiate your inner cravings for ecstatic dance, conscious music, self-healing and inner wellness at the Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Indonesia from April 5-10, 2022 ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love & light at 'The House of Om' with Wissam Barakeh

Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort / Kirtan / Bhakti / Retreats / Events / Coronavirus & Covid-19

June 25, 2020

Self-styled Syrian Guru-stroke-NLP-Hypnotherapist comes to Bali to set up a Conscious Community & Holistic School Resort – The House of Om – and bills it as 'a labor of love' that 'brings together like-minded, heart-centered individuals who share the same vision of creating a new way of living in harmony with others'.

With you so far.

Mid-Coronavirus pandemic, said guru promotes an Ecstatic Kirtan event at his 'beautiful Sky Shala' for a 'bhakti celebration of community' – and encourages his acolytes to 'invite as many friends and family as you want! Our intention is to gather more than 100 Bhakti & Kirtan lovers in order to co-create an amazing celebration together!'

Sixty-plus camp followers turn up – maskless, and mostly in their twenties and thirties – and pack the Sky Shala like canned herring as they chant and sing and om and spit onto each other's backs...

Attendees at The House of Om during an Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti session near Gianyar city in Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020

Attendees at The House of Om during a mid-pandemic, post-lockdown 'Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti' session near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

⇨ Read on for the full story of Wissam Barakeh and 'The House of Om' in Bali ~ Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love and light... ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Watsu® Water-Healing & Wellness at The Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Watsu® / Water / Healer / Therapy / New-Age tourism

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
A Watsu therapist conducts a water-therapy session in a swimming-pool at the Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A Watsu healer conducts a water-therapy session with a female patient in a swimming-pool during The Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.


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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Bali ~ Diana Darling's 'You Missed The Best Of It'

Bali / Ubud / History / Expatriates

Dateline: Evergreen

If ever you've wondered whether Ubud has always been a town of Havaianas flip-flop shops, all-you-can-squeeze-in spas, self-help havens and wood-fired pizza ovens, then you're right to wonder.

Because it had a life before you and me.

Diana Darling's 'You Missed The Best Of It' will fill you in – in a nice way – on everything from wasted hippies to government censorship, naked beach-walks, lumpy mattresses and fireflies that danced their way through to the dawn.

Excerpts from 'You Missed The Best Of It' by Diana Darling

"It used to flash out everywhere – at springs and by dusty roadsides, on stone steps, in magical drawings on cloth. It surged up through trees, bounced on fireflies, and glowed at the bottom of a dirty glass of arak. It danced in public. The Balinese were playful with the holy in those days, with their rough trance and bawdy ritual theatre. Their religion was an unselfconscious, multi-dimensional gorgeousness, which to the Balinese was just ordinary life.

Cultural tourism – conceived by prominent Balinese in the 1970s – was a strategy for somehow sharing their culture with tourists without ruining it. In those days, Balinese culture was a rural way of life with a peculiarly spectacular way of engaging with the spirit world. Then, slowly, what a tourist could see of the culture became obscured by the visual noise of new buildings and traffic jams; and the tourism product shifted from 'culture' to self-indulgence..."

Put on your space-travel sandals, grab a latte and give it a read.


Pic of the Day ~ Balinese-Hindu offerings

Full-moon ceremony / Purnama on Bali

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
Flower petals, offerings and incense lay scattered on the ground after a Balinese-Hindu full-moon ceremony in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Flower petals, offerings and incense lay scattered after a Balinese-Hindu full-moon ceremony in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

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Indonesia and Bali in the Time of Coronavirus ~ A 2020 Covid-19 Round-Up

If you're interested in how Ubud, Bali and Indonesia have fared in the Coronavirus stakes, keep reading for a short, bitter taste.

Good luck.


Shutting up Shop ~ Bankruptcy and unemployment in Ubud

Covid-19 pandemic / Tourist industry / Economic recession / Unemployment

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
A montage of shops and businesses that have been temporarily shuttered or gone bankrupt due to the Coronavirus pandemic in central Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A montage of shops and businesses that have been shuttered temporarily or gone bankrupt due to the Coronavirus pandemic in Central Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on October 8, 2020.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

'Covid-19 vs. Hunger' ~ 3-D street art by Wild Drawing

Urban art inspired by the Coronavirus pandemic

Indonesia / Bali / Economic recession / Unemployment / Poverty and hunger
Street art in South Bali of a Balinese boy going hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic

'Covid-19 vs. Hunger.' (August 2020).
3-D street art by the urban artist 'Wild Drawing' of a Balinese boy going hungry due to unemployment and the collapse of the tourist industry following the catastrophic effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on Bali's economy.
In an abandoned warehouse underneath a bridge on the Ngurah Rai By-Pass in South Bali, Indonesia.

Street Art © 2020 Wild Drawing (WD).
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

What Pandemic? Maskless tourists in Canggu, Bali

The Covid-19 pandemic, tourists, social-distancing, face masks and anti-maskers on Bali

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High
Tourists lounge at a beachside bar during the Covid-19 pandemic with little social-distancing and no masks, Bali, Indonesia

In Canggu, on Bali's south coast, Western foreigners and Russian tourists lounge and chat at a beachside bar during the Covid-19 pandemic with little social-distancing and no face masks, on November 6, 2020.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.

Indonesia reported 5,444 confirmed Coronavirus cases on November 13, 2020, setting a new daily record by breaking the 5,000 mark. There have now been 15,148 official deaths from Covid-19 in Indonesia, although some epidemiologists believe that real numbers may be 3-10 times that figure.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Marked for Life ~ Anti-maskers on Bali

Maskless foreigners and tourists / Face-masks / Indonesian Covid-19 Health Protocols / Ubud / Canggu / Seminyak / Legian

July 7, 2020

It used to be, on Bali, that you could spot a person who cared less about your life from fifty yards away. The old adage went something like this: 'If you're on a motorbike and you see another rider without a helmet, stay far away. Because a person who has no regard for their own head has none for yours'.

Homicidal selfishness on Bali has been taken to a new level. In public, according to the Head of Bali's Public Order Agency, the majority of habitual non-mask-wearers are Caucasian, and predominantly Russian or Russian-speaking.

Captured wild jungle pig in Java, Indonesia

A captured wild jungle pig in Java, Indonesia.
Photograph © Ubud High.

⇨ Read the full story: 'Marked for Life ~ Russians, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, maskless foreigners and Covid-19 on Bali' ⇨

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Breathwork, Ubud-style ~ Kill your neighbour, kill me

Maskless Western foreigners and Russian tourists / Face-masks / Anti-maskers / Bali / Indonesian Coronavirus & Covid-19 Health Protocols

June 22, 2020

Just for fun, I sit outside a busy Circle K on Ubud's main street for an hour, and I count how many people are wearing masks. After all, we're at the kick-start of an airborne pandemic on Bali that's just lifting off, and I'm wondering how Ubud's New Abnormal is cracking along.

Numbers can be boring.

775 people pass on 'bikes and on foot. Out of these, 611 are local – and 568 are wearing masks. That's 93 percent who are toeing the line on their island or country.

Out of the white crowd, 94 out of 164 are not wearing masks. Which translates as 57 percent of white people in Ubud, in a random hour, who couldn't give a pig's fart whose island they're borrowing – or who they interact with while they shop asymptomatically, or whose parents or grandparents they kill on their once-in-a-lifetime Corona lockdown holiday.

A semi-dressed pig in her underwear wearing a cartoon crown

A semi-dressed pig in her underwear models a cartoon crown as she wanders the streets of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

Out with the old and brown, and in with the new wave of ice-cold, off-white sea-foam.

As the Coronavirus catches light across Indonesia, wearing a mask in public isn't optional, or a personal lifestyle choice or a political branding here – it's law.

It's official: you're not special because of your skin colour or nationality, and your breath is potentially weaponised.

Brown lives matter, too.

[Permalink: Breathwork, Ubud-style ~ Kill your neighbour, kill me ⇨]

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Yeah, bro, like... anyway

Maskless Western foreigners & tourists / Anti-maskers / Face-masks / Indonesian Covid-19 Health Protocols / Coronavirus / Ubud / Bali

August 19, 2020

Go to my favourite Ubud optician's to pick up a new lens prescription. There's a sign on the door that forbids entry without a mask. There's a 20-something maskless foreigner inside. I open the door and point the sign out to him.

Me, from the doorway:
– "You know you need a mask to be in here, right?"

Him:
Empty stare followed by inane, gap-toothed grin.

Me, fishing in my bag:
– "Would you like a mask?"

Him:
– "Naa, y'aright man."

Me:
– "You from the States?"

Him, looking four-percent-embarrassed:
– "Yeah."

Me, feeling like pushing his head hard through the glass display-case:
– "Well, that figures. Pretty big death-toll you got there at the moment."

Him, beginning to realise that I kind of despise him. Inane grin falters – but only for a second, before he leans over the display-case and speaks and spits into the sales-girls' eyes.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Brown lives matter, too.

[Permalink: Yeah, bro, like... anyway ~ Maskless foreigners, face-masks and Covid-19 health protocols on Bali ⇨]

⇨ For more adventures in Covidland, see Wissam Barakeh and 'The House of Om' on Bali ~ Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love and light... ⇨

Back to Contents ↺

⇨ More 'Bali 2020' blog posts: Indonesia and Bali in the Time of Coronavirus ~ A 2020 Covid-19 Round-Up ⇨


© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.


The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
Young female beggar from Muntigunung, Bali, on the streets of Ubud

A beggar from Muntigunung on the streets of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
Portrait by © Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.


Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a smartphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

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Bali's Street Art

Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.

Street art and graffiti murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Bali's Graffiti Artists & Street Murals in the Wild...


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Religion Matters

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

.. ➤ ..


An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

.. ➤ ..


'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

.. ➤ ..


'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

.. ➤ ..


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

.. ➤ ..


Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

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Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

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Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

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It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

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The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Commercial street art mural of a Balinese man sitting astride his Norton motorcycle as his wife hovers with daily offerings

‘She starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

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Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

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Scorpions, Mosquitoes, Hornets, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails on Bali

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

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Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

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Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

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Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

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From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

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A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

Wooden cock bottle openers, Ubud Market, Bali

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

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The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

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Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a cellphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

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And finally, the weather

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia