Friday, October 22, 2010

Bali: Ubud-- Eat, Prey, Love (yada, yada, yada)

After leaving Amed, we headed for the central village (actually collection of villages) of Ubud.  Ubud is in the heart of the terraced rice fields and craft centers of Bali.  It is a nice location to use as a base to see many other parts of Bali, while taking in some really good restaurants upon return to base. 
Ubud has also become the rage as the place to visit following the book-come-movie, Eat, Pray, Love.  (Apparently Ubud is the "Love" segment in this trilogy).  Sure enough, there are many tourists in Ubud, and many Westerner expats who have come to Bali to find themselves, or to lose others.  Admittedly I haven't read the book, but the story line seems strikingly similar to that of  "Under The Tuscan Sun", which helped boost the "coolness" of having your own villa in Tuscany.  Ubud may be going down that path too- on the cusp of becoming a resort area for the mega-wealthy and chic, who have villas built in the middle of rice fields.  It is illegal for foreigners to directly own land in Indonesia (we were told), but a common means around this is to find a native Indonesian to proxy ownership for a "sponsor".  We ran into at least two circumstances like this (one in Amed, and one in Ubud).
In Ubud, a wealthy American had sponsored the construction of a vacation villa on the compound of a Balinesian family (our driver in Ubud).  The property had beautiful vistas of rice fields out the back.  In exchange the property, including the housing of the Balinese family had obviously been upgraded with an infusion of money, and was one the nicest compounds in the village (Kampong).  The arrangement appears to work well, but I suspect only when the sponsor is a benevolent one.  It is likely many of the resorts in Bali are constructed under similar sponsorship.
Your own villa--  Like it?  This large villa, located in breath-taking green, terraced rice fields outside Ubud is for sale.  The villa is currently owned by an American.  Do you suppose s/he's tired of the view, or had a set-back with the recent economy recession?

Balinese House--  Gusty our driver, in front of his family house and compound.  Gusty was seriously proud to stop and show us his house and introduce us to his family.  Gusty and his family have obviously benefited from the sponsorship of "Sue and Don" from California.  Gusty's son is attending university, and the house and grounds are top notch.  Each family, dependent upon their financial abilities, have a temple within their house complex, which is used daily for many "ceremonies" of the Hindu religion.
Family house--  This is Gusty's family house.  There are similar structures on the compound, which is shared by Gusty's family, his brother and family, and his mother, as well as sponsors Sue and Don, while in residence.
Family Temple--  This is one portion of the temple on site within the family compound.

Offering Temple--  This is a portion of the Hindu temple, where offerings of rice and other items are made daily.  This is also used for special ceremonies.
Sponsor House--  At the back of the property is "Don and Sue's" house.  The sponsors spend about 6 months in Bali each year.  The house is beautiful, with much carved wood and stone, craftsmanship that is a Bali specialty.  Although not quite as ornate, Gusty's family house in the compound is quite nice.  While in residence, Sue and Don eat with Gusty's family, who do the cooking.
Sponsor House, Side View
The view from the back of the property


  1. I'm catching up on my reading!
    I read the book, and saw the movie...My favorite part was the EAT section!!! The Bali section was beautiful, in terms of the scenery, and the love story, but again, I'd rather to to Italy and spend a month eating and drinking...

    Again, thanks for sharing insights into the cultural realities... Sometimes I wish I had a benevolent sponsor!!!!

  2. ps.. Gusty is wearing a boatload of more clothes than the guys in the movie!!!