Dreaming of Bali – The sounds of Indonesia

Welcome back to Gadling’s newest series, Dreaming of Bali. Visiting the exotic Indonesian island of Bali is truly a feast for the senses. First time visitors and expats alike frequently remark on this island’s rich tapestry of exotic stimuli: the brilliant orange glow of a sunset as it slides gently into the sea; the wafting scent of kerosene and crushed chilis at a roadside food stall; the soft vibration of a gong as it’s struck in a temple. These are sensory experiences that bury themselves in your subconscious, sticking in your mind long after your return from a journey – they are ultimately the impressions that help to crystallize our understanding of our travels.

Words are only one way to tell a story. Borrowing an idea from Gadling blogger Stephen Greenwood, I’ve tried to capture my impressions of Indonesia through the medium of sound. Embedded below are four “soundscapes” from my recent visit to Bali and the nearby island of Java. Click on play, close your eyes, and prepare to be transported far away to the islands of Indonesia:

Sitting on the beach at dusk, listening to waves crash on the beach – a symphony of frogs croak at the onset of dark:

A group of musicians practices their Gamelan performance at a temple in Ubud:

Walking inside Ubud’s morning produce market:

Most of Indonesia, with the exception of Bali, is muslim. Here’s the afternoon call to prayer in Yogyakarta, Indonesia:

Dreaming of your own visit to Bali? Read more about Gadling’s “visit to paradise” HERE.

[Flickr photos courtesy of ^riza^, didiz | rushdi and norhendraruslan]

Borobudur in Indonesia–a memory maker and other people’s photographs

This essay by Lisa Reed in the New York Times about her return to Borobudur with her nine-year old son reminded me of a couple of points. Mainly, I am reminded about how utterly spectacular this Buddhist temple complex is, and how fortunate I was to have lived in Singapore for three years so that places like this in Indonesia could be seen on a long weekend trip. I’m also reminded of picture-taking.

When I went to Borabudur, Yogyakarta, the city closest to it, was also part of the attraction. Friends recommended this city on the island of Java in Indonesia as a worthy jaunt for the history, the scenery, the food and the shopping. On all counts, my husband and I were pleased with our good fortune. I have great memories of buying an elaborate leather shadow puppet from the man who made it after visiting with him in his shop.

Borabudur was the centerpiece of a wonderful time and we were lucky enough to climb up its stairs early in the morning before the crowds came. We did not, however, get up before dawn to see the sun rise like Reed did.

However, like Reed, we did have the experience of people in Indonesia wanting us to be in their photographs. In Reed’s case, her son attracted attention. In our case, it was my husband.

In Asia he often looked like a toned down Gulliver in the land of Lilliputians, thus, he was the topic of many a conversation and a prized catch for a photo op. Maybe people thought he would bring them good luck, but whatever the reason, there he was on most vacation days in the middle of a group of Asians, smiling broadly, while they captured their image with him for their photo albums back home.

Borabudur, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built in the 8th and 9th centuries and is one of those places that is perfect for picture-taking with or without people. With its 72 rounded stone stupas and Buddha statues that mediate like calm sentries overlooking the valley that is edged by mountains, there is no end of an interesting angle.

Unfortunately, when I went to Borabudur, I was taking slides which are now stored in a box in one of our closets. One day I will go through them, but by reading Reed’s essay, I can see their angles. I seem to remember one with my husband in the middle of a group of Asians.

I’m wondering if the same people are looking at their albums from time to time asking themselves, “Who is this guy?”