Life, News, Photography and Reviews from Ubud: The Apple of Bali's Eye

Tales from Ubud ~ The Apple of Bali's Eye

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Bali Blog ~ Pinned Posts

English-language media in Indonesia and Covid-19

File under: Media / Indonesia / Coronavirus & Covid-19

Dateline: Evergreen

If you're living on Bali or just passing through, you might want to keep a close eye on Indonesia's fast-changing place in the Coronavirus stakes.

For reliable, up-to-date news and views on Bali, try @Indounik on Twitter. And make sure that @Julia Winterflood remains on your map. You don't need to sign up or log in to read their posts.

For tear-drop-inducing story-telling – the funny kind – and nothing much else of importance, visit Chris Jones @EnswellJones.

And for a more in-depth magazine approach to the Ubud scene, check in to Ubud Now and Then – now and then.

Today's Cryptocurrency prices

File under: Alternative currencies

Dateline: Evergreen

Strictly for crypto nuts.

The Crypto Kings over at Twitter


Pic of the Day

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High

File under: Modern Balinese art / Murals and street artists
Mural by the Balinese-born WD, aka 'Wild Drawing', in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia

Outdoor trompe-l'œil mural by the Balinese street-artist 'WD' aka 'Wild Drawing' in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia on August 3, 2020.
© 2020 WD/Wild Drawing / Ubud High.

Street-art mural by the Balinese artist 'Slinat' in Ketewel, Bali

Street-art murals by the Balinese artist 'Slinat' in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia on August 3, 2020.
© 2020 Slinat / Ubud High.


Latest Posts

Latest tale from The Ubud Handbook ~ The King of Stink

File under: The Ubud Handbook / Food Talk

Dateline: Evergreen

‘SOFT, SUCCULENT, SPIKY and stinky, 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 that it's edible...’

[ ... » Read on for the full story of 'The King of Stink' in The Ubud Handbook » ]

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Coronavirus updates for Indonesia and Bali (July 2020)

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Bali

Dateline: July 23, 2020

In 60 days, the number of Coronavirus cases reported across Indonesia has risen from 33,076 to 93,567 – a hike of 182 percent. The number of registered deaths has surged from 1,923 to 4,576 – or 138 percent.

On Bali, cases have accelerated from 608 to 2,934 during the same period – a 382 percent increase – and the number of deaths on the island from Covid-19 now stands at 46 as opposed to just 5 on June 10. That's a surge of 820 percent.

This is like a slow-moving tsunami.

Source: [Jakarta Post]

Latest tale from The Ubud Handbook ~ The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

File under: The Ubud Handbook / Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Dateline: Evergreen

‘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 on for the full story of 'The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil' in The Ubud Handbook » ]

Pic of the Day

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High

File under: Balinese-Hindu temple ceremony / Trance and possession

Kerauhan – voluntary mass-possession and trance – during an odalan, or 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 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.
© 2020 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.
© 2020 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.
© 2020 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.
© 2020 Ubud High.

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The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Play this near anyone not wearing a face-mask in an Ubud shop

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Ubud / Face-masks

Dateline: Evergreen

Next time you're minding your own business in an Ubud shop and another foreign mask-refusenik comes your way, just play this video – as loudly as possible, and from about five meters away. ⇊

* WARNING: Extremely fruity Latina language. *

Let Teri do the heavy lifting for you. It saves on the blood pressure.
© Teri Valentina / Twitter.

Have a nice day!

Indonesia breaks record daily Covid-19 death-toll and surpasses China in cases

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia

Dateline: July 22, 2020
Aerial view of the Covid-19 cemetery in Pondok Rangon, East Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

Aerial view of the Covid-19 cemetery in Pondok Rangon, East Jakarta, Java, Indonesia on July 19, 2020.
© B1 Photo/Joanito de Saojoao.

Indonesia has hit a record daily death toll of 127 to conclude the deadliest week in the country's outbreak to date. Indonesia has now surpassed mainland China in its total number of Covid-19 cases, after recording 1,752 new daily infections on July 18.

Graphic chart illustrating Indonesia's Coronavirus cases surpassing those of Mainland China on July 18, 2020.

Graphic chart illustrating Indonesia's Novel Coronavirus cases surpassing those of Mainland China on July 18, 2020.
© 2020 Jakarta Post.

Indonesia's latest tally is 84,882 cases, while China reported just 22 new daily cases to bring its total to 83,644.

It's unclear whether Indonesia's most recent death count includes both deaths of probable and confirmed cases.

Epidemiologist Riris Andono Ahmad from Gadjah Mada University claimed on July 21 that Indonesia could see a shortened doubling-period for Covid-19 cases, possibly causing the country to become one of the worst affected in the world if there is no intervention.

Source: [Jakarta Globe | Jakarta Post | Jakarta Post]

Pic of the Day

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High

File under: Pollution / Landfill
Cows graze amongst rubbish on the island's largest garbage dump in Suwung, South Bali, Indonesia.

Cows graze among rubbish on the island's largest garbage landfill site in Suwung, Bali, Indonesia.
© 2020 Ubud High.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Latest tale from The Ubud Handbook ~ Ganesha the Globetrotter

File under: The Ubud Handbook / Religion Matters

Dateline: Evergreen

‘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 Vinayaka and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati, before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maha Rakta Ganapati. Now Maha Rakta 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.

By the time Ganesha turned up in Cambodia in the 5th century after a couple of hundred years on the road, bronze statues and stone sculptures show him as having left behind ten of his twelve arms, his large pot belly shrunk to a more modest paunch.

Next stop Vietnam, no doubt on a shoestring, before a short sea-voyage with merchant guides to Japan where it only took him another 400 years or so before he was promoted to Principal Deity in Shingon Buddhism and re-baptised as Kangiten or Binayaka-ten...

[ ... » Read an extract from 'Ganesha the Globetrotter' in The Ubud Handbook » ]

Back to Contents ↺

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Marked for life

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Bali / Ubud / Face-masks

Dateline: July, 2020

It used to be that, in Ubud, 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 see another rider near you without a helmet, stay very, very far away. Because a person who has no regard for their own head has absolutely none for yours'.

The same applies to anyone near you who insists on not wearing a face-mask. Stay far away, because they are an active vector of Covid-19, and you can be sure that they don't care whether you live or die.

Stupidity and selfishness in Ubud – chiefly among the young white group – has been taken to another level. Consider these people as driving an SUV with roll-bars while heavily drunk and wearing Indy-500 safety gear. They may be young enough to weather a bout of the Coronavirus. You, or your neighbour's mum, might not.

The silver lining in this pandemic is that it visually marks out the unconditionally selfish; the (malignant) narcissists; the sociopaths; and the psychopaths among us.

Never has it been easier to instantly recognise people who only mean you harm.

Back to Contents ↺

Pic of the Day

Photographs from Bali by Ubud High

File under: Balinese dancers / Ubud
Pre-Covid-19, a troupe of Balinese dancers show a little attitude before a performance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Pre-Covid-19, a troupe of Balinese dancers throw some shade before an evening performance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
© 2020 Ubud High.

Six specific symptom clusters for Covid-19

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Research / Symptoms

Dateline: July 21, 2020

British scientists analyzing data from a widely-used Covid-19 symptom-tracking app have discovered that there are six distinct presentations of the disease, each distinguishable by a cluster of varying signs and symptoms.

The findings, from a team at King's College London, could help doctors predict which Covid-19 patients are most at risk and most likely to need hospital care.

It may help you to be aware of these symptoms.

The six main Covid-19 symptom-clusters are:

1. 'Flu-like' with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain and no fever.
2. 'Flu-like' with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever and loss of appetite.
3. Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat, chest pain with no cough.
4. Severe Level One ~ Fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain and fatigue.
5. Severe Level Two ~ Confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion and muscle pain.
6. Severe Level Three ~ Abdominal and Respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Patients displaying Levels 4,5 and 6 symptom types are more likely to be admitted to hospital, and more likely to need respiratory support.

[Source: Jakarta Post]

Thought for the Day

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Coping

Dateline: July 17, 2020

"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 James Hamblin, M.D. over at Twitter.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Latest tale from The Ubud Handbook ~ Diary of a Market Girl

File under: The Ubud Handbook / Personal Stories

Dateline: Evergreen

‘I DON'T KNOW HOW old I am. I was born on Pagerwesi Day – a Balinese ceremonial day where we put offerings out for our Gods 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 on for the full story of 'Diary of a Market Girl' in The Ubud Handbook » ]

Back to Contents ↺

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Way to go ~ Indonesia's 'New Normal' immigration sweep

File under: Indonesia / Bali / Immigration / Foreigners

Dateline: July 16, 2020

On top of Immigration's sudden 'New Normal' reversal of emergency-stay visas for foreigners caught in Bali during lockdown, there's a weirder cloud on the horizon for visitors to Indonesia.

The Immigration Directorate General is waiting on President Widodo's green light to launch a surveillance system that has been developed to track foreigners during their stay in Indonesia.

The system will involve a QR code that is "attached to foreigners' passports or visas and detect their movement by tracking their transactions in public facilities, such as hotels and restaurants, and ticket purchases for public transportation".

How exactly is that going to work? Does the QR code incorporate a trackable chip, or will you need to produce your passport and have the code scanned every time you want to buy a Coke at Circle K? Will a foreigner have to surrender bank-card details before they're allowed into the country? And what happens to the QR code once you've gone home?

Unless a foreigner is required to carry their passport at all times – stupid, as losing it is disastrous, and a photocopy (at least on Bali) is still sufficient for most things – just what will it involve?

Why are they developing this? Well, "... in part, to respond to cases of foreign fugitives escaping to Indonesia". So what are the other parts?

If you think this sounds far-fetched, or that it contravenes every basic right you have as a human being, then you could be in for a rude awakening. Indonesia has a history of sudden, far-reaching sweeps of foreigners from time to time, and it may be that Covid-19 – and 'foreign fugitives' – are the convenient, catch-all catalysts for an incoming cull.

Indonesia's in the middle of an ocean or two, and things happen fast at sea.

Bear in mind that there is an elemental maxim for all foreigners who live in Indonesia: you have no rights here whatsoever, and you never will. Sorry to burst your bubble.

And if you think that you do have rights here, and are ready to stick your neck out for them, then you should probably just leave the country before you get yourself into trouble.

They may as well open a tattoo parlour at the airport and ink us up with an indelible bar-code on our foreheads before we hit the beaches.

[Source: Jakarta Post | Coconuts Bali | The Bali Sun]

Back to Contents ↺

Coronavirus update for Indonesia ~ Cases and deaths

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia

Dateline: July 10, 2020

According to government figures, there have been 70,736 Coronavirus cases across the archipelago to date – with 3,417 deaths. A month ago, on June 10th, Indonesia recorded 33,076 Covid-19 cases and 1,293 deaths from the disease.

Put simply, the number of Coronavirus cases in Indonesia has risen by 114 percent in 30 days, and the number of deaths has jumped by 164 percent.

Indonesia is currently following the Covid-19 case/death trajectories of India and Brazil – large, heavily-populated countries with limited or poor healthcare facilities, high rates of poverty, and extremely low Coronavirus testing rates per capita.

Daily new confirmed cases of Covid-19 comparing Indonesia, The USA, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and Ital

Daily new confirmed cases of Covid-19 comparing Indonesia, The USA, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and Italy.
© 2020 OurWorldInData.org.

Daily new confirmed deaths from Covid-19 comparing Indonesia, The USA, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and Ital

Daily new confirmed deaths from Covid-19 comparing Indonesia, The USA, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and Italy.
© 2020 OurWorldInData.org.

[Source: Jakarta Post | OurWorldInData.org]

Coronavirus update for Bali ~ Cases and deaths

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Bali

Dateline: July 4, 2020

From just under a month ago, official Coronavirus cases on Bali have risen from 608 on June 10 to 1,797 today – or a surge of 195 percent in 24 days.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 on Bali during the same period has risen from 5 to 18, or a 260 percent increase.

We're going the wrong way.

Bear in mind that these are government figures, and don't count unreported cases, or Covid-19 deaths that may have been confused with an abnormally high number of dengue fever fatalities on the island.

Back to Contents ↺

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Going full-Covid in the name of heart-centred love and light

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Bali / Ubud / New Age Tourism

Dateline: June 25, 2020

Self-styled Syrian Guru-stroke-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-Covid-19 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.

Social media is a double-edged dagger with a karmic twist. Post-event pictures pinned to Facebook and Instagram quickly make their way onto the Twitter desk of Bali's Immigration Department.

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 sing and chant during a mid-pandemic, post-lockdown 'Ecstatic Kirtan and Bhakti' session near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on June 18, 2020.
© Facebook.

Wissam Barakeh, founder of Om and super-spreader of Light and Love, is arrested by immigration officials for violating Covid-19 health protocols; Barakeh doubles-down on his sword, lies about the photographs taken at the event, accuses 'envy people' with 'low vibrations' of trying to shut down his business – and is promptly carted off.

Barakeh is currently being held behind bars at Immigration's leisure as his deportation is 'postponed until a flight to Syria becomes available'.

Oh.

That may be some time, considering most air-bridges out of Bali are shut.

Plenty of time to learn how to live in harmony with his fellow inmates, not think about tantric sex for a while, shed the ego, and hone his communal bathroom skills.

Wissam Barakeh during a press conference at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Wissam Barakeh at a press conference at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Hot tip while you're in hot water with officials on Bali: don't turn your back on the proceedings, because your paperwork might just take fright and disappear for another month.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

Wissam Barakeh in jail at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.

Wissam Barakeh, in his new House of Om, at the Department of Immigration in Bali, Indonesia on June 25, 2020.
© Department of Immigration, Bali.

If this hits a bone, you might also like 'The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil' over at The Ubud Handbook ... »

Back to Contents ↺

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

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

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Bali / Ubud / Tourism / Face-masks

Dateline: 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 own island.

Out of the white contingent, 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 rat's ear 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.

Out with the old and brown, and in with the new – more often than not young, Russian – wave of white sea-foam.

As the Coronavirus catches fire 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, and your breath is potentially weaponised.

Brown lives matter, too.

Back to Contents ↺

Indonesia records most Coronavirus cases and deaths in South-East Asia

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia

Dateline: June 18, 2020

Indonesia is now the nation worst hit by Covid-19 in South-East Asia, surpassing Singapore's 41,216 cases to take the number one slot with 41,431 cases and 2,276 dead.

While the two countries appear to be neck-and-neck in the region's race, there's a glaring discrepancy.

Singapore has been aggressive and transparent in its testing, contact-tracing, preventative measures and hospitalisation from the get-go – with just 26 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

Which means that Indonesia's official mortality rate – at 2,276 and rising – is roughly 8,600 percent higher than its city-state neighbour, despite a similar number of cases.

Something isn't right here, at all.

Indonesia has tested 1.2 per 1,000 people out of a population of 267 million – one of the lowest testing rates in the world – and the country currently ranks 30th in the number of Coronavirus cases worldwide.

Indonesia has also just been scored as 'moderately unsafe' in the latest Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment report, hitting near the bottom in terms of government efficiency, quarantine efficiency and emergency preparedness.

In the same study, Indonesia ranks 18 out of 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific region – lower than Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Mongolia.

[Source: Jakarta Globe | Jakarta Post | OurWorldInData.org | Jakarta Globe]

Indonesia's 'New Normal' ~ First milestone of 1000 daily Coronavirus cases hit

File under: Coronavirus & Covid-19 / Indonesia / Bali

Dateline: June 10, 2020

According to government figures, Indonesia hit a personal daily best in the Covid-19 stakes today with a record 1,043 new cases registered across the archipelago, and 40 deaths.

Outside of the capital Jakarta, emerging new hotspots include South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, South Sumatra – and East Java, where infections have risen by a staggering 334 percent since May 10.

The official current national tally stands at 33,076 cases with 1,923 dead.

To put these numbers into perspective, let's do a little digging.

In March 2020, there were 4,400 burials in Jakarta compared with 3,100 during the same period in 2019 – a rise of 1,300 unexplained deaths in the megacity, and a jump of nearly 42 percent above the monthly average.

Back on Bali, 5 people have now officially died from Covid-19 – up just 4 since the resort-island with a population of 4,2 million recorded its first death over three months ago on March 3, 2020. Total number of infections: 608.

Indonesia has one of the lowest Coronavirus testing rates in the world.

Do your own maths. Nothing is what it seems on the Island of Dreams.

[Source: Jakarta Globe | Jakarta Post | Detik.com]

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

File under: Bali / Ubud / History

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 the night.

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.

© 2020 John Storey.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Last Word

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High

© 2020 Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2020 John Storey. All rights reserved.


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

Chapters and Excerpts:


Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso

Ubud 'Art Attack

Reading's a Beach


Religion Matters

An American Calonarang

Road Test

Volcanic!

Ganesha the Globetrotter


Getting Around

It's Silly Season Again

The Other Side of the Coin

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

A Walk in the Park


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Dinosaur Talk

A Journey to Deer Island

Bali Tales


Food Talk

The King of Stink

Divine Rice


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

The Eternal Wash Cycle

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Odd Man Out

Throwing a Sickie

A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

From Ubud With Love


Hints & Tips

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

A Lot of Hot Air

No Butt-Cheeks Please, We're Balinese

Getting Ratty

It Wasn't Me, Guv... Crime and Punishment on Bali

In Sickness and in Death

Photographing Bali

Dengue Fever Roolz

Things that Bite and Sting ~ The Insect Kingdom vs. You

Snakes Alive!

Once Bitten Twice Shy ~ The Story of Rabies on Bali

Monkey Talk


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

A Beggar's Banquet

The White Herons of Petulu

A Line in the Sand


The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

The Ubud Handbook

And finally, the weather

Today's forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Check here for your 7-day weather forecast for Ubud and Bali.