Thursday, October 30, 2008

Morning beach walk

Early morning, before it gets too warm, people gather to talk, swim, prepare the daily offerings and tidy up in front of their warungs before opening for business. There is a lot of sweeping of the sidewalks, sand and grass in front of each, getting rid of fallen leaves, fronds and Fangipani flowers. Their sapu is made from 3 ft long coconut twigs tied together to create this most beautiful broom. Sometimes with a handle but mostly not, it seems to be quite an effective tool for Bali. The fallen Autumn leaves of New England would be a very different story...

Getting ready to make and assemble the daily prayer offerings.

Checking the surf before wave surfing and diving off the reef.

This morning dip can be anywhere from 10 to 25 local Balinese enjoying the water and a little conversation before starting a day on Sanur Beach.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SketchCrawl—10/26/08 Sanur, Bali

I have always wanted to do a sketchcrawl, but have never managed to get it together in Maine. So, Sunday (Saturday was moving day), I decided to do my own Bali sketchcrawl. Not knowing anyone here, I set off alone. Well, I'm never really alone because of the all the dogs and the people trying to sell me a sarong or a Rolex or get a massage right there on the beach path. 

It is Bali, so it was one hot sketchcrawl. Had to run for cover after these four sketches because I was starting to wilt.

How does she do that?

Planning her next Bali dog move...

The preferred mode of transportation in Bali.  There is a cool cream Vespa for sale in town...

Starting the day and life as a Bali dog.

Bali snack addiction

We have become addicted to these crunchy, slightly bitter, nutty wafers, which we buy in bulk and can't keep in the house for more than a day. Rice, corn, potato. I would ponder, as I crunched away? The girl at the check out said they were made from fruit. Fruit? No way!!! After much research, I have found that they are made from the small oval fruit of the Gnemon Tree, which contains a seed that is used to make these crisps known as Melingo Nut Crackers. They are also called Emping or Belingo and they are delicious!!! 
I am right across the street from Hardy's and Jerry is in Jakarta so that could mean Emping for dinner.

One more for the road

Another traffic sketch from our shopping expedition to Denpasar. I was quite impressed by the load he was carrying on his motorcycle and that Bali recycles...sort of...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A day on the road

Driving in Bali is enough to make anyone just want to walk everywhere. The drawing I've done was just the traffic in our lane ahead of us. Let alone the passing on the right, down the center and on the left. The oncoming traffic is the same. I spend most of my time with my teeth clenched, pressing the imaginary brake at my foot on the shot gun side and gasping with a startled and frightened high pitched intake of breath and then there are those Bali dogs...
Needless to say, I am quite an annoying passenger. I can't help it though, I'm scared! 
This was just a day going to buy hotel quality bedding from a gut named Yoga. A far cry from a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond, but you can not believe the deal we got!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's all about fish

Several of you have asked what is my reason for moving to Bali,  so I thought I would take this opportunity to give a quick explanation. Several years ago, I was set up on a blind dinner date with a friend of some friends. We've been together ever since. He is my "pacar". 

He owns a seafood business on the waterfront in Portland Maine and has for years. The business has grown to become a global enterprise. He is here to oversee a new start-up seafood processing business with Indonesian partners. The plan is to be here six months of the year for the next two years. So I am the partner who is taking the opportunity to live and experience a new and different culture with my best friend. I am hoping to be able to capture my experiences through my sketching and journaling. I hope you will join me.


This woman was gathering something along the side of the road in the thick vegetation up near the rice terraces. I kept wondering what she was finding amongst all those leaves.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

walking along the rice fields

Nasi (rice) means food in Indonesia. We drove through the terraced rice fields towards Mt. Agung on our way home from Manggis last weekend. People were out working in and along the flooded fields. It was also time for the ducks to do there thing—wandering around eating and fertilizing the fields and then when they get all fattened up, they eat the ducks. The cycle of life.

This is my first time at drawing a figure using a pencil contour drawing and then adding watercolor. Now that's hard! I need a life drawing class...

Anjing bagus kecil

This little guy is about 6 weeks old. He and another puppy crawled out from underneath a warung (food stall) along the beach. They were so cute, but life is not easy for many of the dogs here in Bali. They must become very street/beach-wise or they will not survive. Many of them belong to local shop owners, but others are just mangy vagabonds. It is rare to see dogs leashed or tied up. Many of them need medical care for skin problems and all should be spayed. I worry about them all, especially when I look into their eyes. I know that is crazy, because it too much to carry around in my heart.

It's all about teeth

I am a little bit of a fanatic about my teeth. I brush twice a day and try to be consistent about flossing. I have had only one cavity in my life, never had to wear braces and I don't have gum issues. I get my teeth cleaned twice a year and I always get an "A". I am considered, by my friends, to be a little OCD when it comes to my choppers. Since living in this tropical climate I have complained about my teeth not feeling as clean as when I'm in the USA. Is it the water, food, humidity? I don't know, but I was quite pleased when I found Happydent at Hardy's. Isn't that just a great name for gum?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Manggis and the mangostine

We stayed at a lovely tranquil resort in the town of Manggis which is named after the mangostine. In the center of town there is a huge carved stone statue with a mangostine at the top and, of course, a black and white poleng cloth wrapped around the base. Probably the largest mangostine in the world. Along with all the lovely locally grown gourmet food, we enjoyed tasting a mangostine one morning. What a wonderful weekend. I didn't want to leave, but we had to get back. So, after a ninety minute hair-raising drive back to Sanur, the tranquility was gone, but the memories remain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Right at the Gado Gado stand

Currently our internet connection is inconsistent, weak, random and sketchy. Roadrunner it isn't! So to post to my blog, I have to walk about two miles to the nearest internet cafe. I take a right at the Gado Gado stand at the end of the street and walk towards town fending off all my new vendor friends as I go. Once you look you are dead and if you touch something you had better get your wallet out. Some remind me that I said "I'll come back" so reluctantly I agree to check out their wares. Before long they are wrapping sarongs around you right and left. They are the sweetest, nicest, gentlest people so it can be quite fun. I've bought/haggled a few things along my route. There is usually a lot of whining on both sides until we settle on a price. I bought a sarong today for $3. I wonder how low I can go...

Balinese remedy

We spent the weekend at a tranquil resort up the east coast of the island. The chef told us of this Balinese remedy for an upset stomach. The black and white frame symbolizes the polarity of positive and negative forces. The Balinese black and white poleng cloth is what inspired this addition to the journal page.

Poleng cloth: This cloth can be seen throughout Bali, usually tied around statues, tree trunks or large stones. The concept, rwa bhineda, is a view of mutual dualism that makes up the world. Two opposite things that depend on each other to exist, such as day and night, low and high, dry and rainy seasons, bitter and sweet and black and white. The Balinese believe that the balance of this mutual dualism will bring prosperity and peacefulness to mankind. The concept of balance is expressed perfectly by the poleng cloth with the number of white squares always being equal with the black ones.

To bike or not to bike...

This is a serious question one must ask before renting a bike and getting into traffic because it is CRAZY here!!! Cars, motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians, dogs, livestock and there are no rules!!! Everyone needs to be first. There is passing on the left, the right and down the center, to make a u-turn a pack of vehicles gets into position and everyone goes like hell and then there is the passing with on coming traffic ahead—I'm a nervous wreck. I saw these helmets at Hardy's the other day and stopped to admire and for a fleeting moment considered—it's not like anyone knows me here... 
So far, I'm still hoofin' it.

Anjing bagus #3

I take my 4 mile exercise walk along the beach early in the morning because of the heat. All my dog friends are busy combing the beach, playing with one another and scrounging for snacks—just being busy Balinese dogs. By mid day they have all found some shade and will nap until the coolness of the evening and then they get back to business.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Colorful Bali

I saw this boat on one one of my early morning beach walks. The color of the boat and the water were amazing. I don't even think I have the capabilities to create the turquoise color with my palette. In Maine, the water was many times more gray than blue and I usually used some artistic license to make it more blue. Now I have to figure out how to make turquoise! 
I am continuing to learn what life is like in this new land and  at times wonder how Maine will feel when I go back there in January...clearly, darn cold!

Balinese daily prayer offering

The Balinese are Hindus, but their form of the religion is unique to Bali. They are very devote and create these daily offerings to the gods. The offerings are made each day and are left at temples shrines, entrances to homes, hotels, store fronts and always on the dash board of a taxi. They consist of a palm leaf made into a small tray (4"X 4") filled with gifts to the gods and a stick of incense to lift it all. All are filled with rice and flowers but can include, fruit, grasses, sweets, a Ritz crackers, and even a little plastic bag of soya sauce. They are so beautiful and I didn't do this one justice with my painting. I will try another, I am sure, as it is part of everyday life, now.

Anjing bagus #2

Walking home from the beach the other day I saw this Bali dog sleeping at the entrance to a temple. Clearly part Alaskan Malamute or similar, I couldn't help wonder about how hot it must be with that big fur coat. He seemed perfectly content to be where he was and barely flinched while I sketched him. In the mean time, I have shed all my northern New England clothing for tank tops, skirts and flip-flops.

Lunch at Cafe Batujimbar

The Cafe Batu-Jimbar in the center of the town of Sanur has wonderful food in an open air setting. It is quite artfully done with teak tables, a wall made of coral and wonderful orange umbrellas. It appeals to expats—lots of salads, coffee drinks and across the street from Hardy's, but that's another post. We had lunch there the other day, waiting for the call on our new home in Bali—we got it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

anjing bagus #1

"Anjing bagus" means "good dog" in Indonesian. In Maine speak it would be a "wicked good dog". There are so many dogs here in Bali and they are all about the same size (medium), short hair, pointy ears though the direction varies—both up, one up/one down, both down and some are sideways, pointed nose and they range in every color and pattern imaginable. Sad, but true, some have better lives than others. They are either sleeping anywhere and everywhere or they are very busy doing what Balinese dogs do. This sweet little guy belongs to the family who owns the little warung (food stall) at the end of the street. They also have an older dog and a few chickens along with an assortment of drinks and snacks. I probably won't eat there.

It's a damn big planet

It took us 24 hours to get from Maine to Bali. We flew business class where the seats flatten into beds, they feed you on china and wine isn't a small bottle with a plastic cup dangling over the top. Also, they begin the flight by giving you these cute little pouches filled with socks, eye shades and tiny tubes of toiletries. The shades are drawn,  a meal arrives, people sleep, other meals arrive and more sleeping—unless you are me...
Loosing all track of time as we crossed time zones got me thinking about when was brushing before bed and when was brushing in the morning. So to avoid any chance of morning breathe no matter where we were over the planet I took my tiny toothbrush and tiny tube of paste and brushed my way around the world. I used the whole tiny tube.

Friday, October 3, 2008

a fiver

After an early 8 mile walk, breakfast at the Porthole on the waterfront and a sad goodbye to my very good friends, I set off to organize and pack. I couldn't resist doing one last EDM challenge before we leave. A 50000 rupiah note is only worth about $5. Something I will soon have to get used to.

Goodbye Patti and Elizabeth. Thank you for that one last walk and for being such wonderful friends. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

View from my studio in Portland's Old Port

I have finally moved into the condo in Portland, where we will be living when we are not in Bali, Indonesia. I am tired from packing, moving and unpacking. Now it's time to pack again for our trip to Bali. We leave in three days. We won't be back in Maine until the beginning of January. I will miss fall and the holidays, but most of all I will miss my dog. That part is killing me.
No energy for sketching but after setting up my studio yesterday, I managed this quick sketch of the view out my window. This move has put all sketching, drawing and painting on hold. I am looking forward to getting back into it when I settle in on the other side of the world.