Marigolds draped over stone gods sit peacefully in front of house temples. Their stone eyes conveying so much emotion with wrinkles and big teeth etched into their faces.
We walked the streets many times. Taking a ‘historical buildings of Ubad tour’ and parading down the central street one evening to Alun-Alun (Grand Square) “Astina”. We tried local foods, including exotic fruits we’d never seen before. A sharp taste of durian even stronger than its aroma. We were entertained by dancers and musicians at every turn. The Grand Square had four stages with concurrent performances. Multi-person dragons and wild looking hairy men danced and shouted as the night set in. A crowd gathered to enjoy the spectacle.
The evening was the formal opening of the ‘Folk Market’ by the Regent of Gianyar. Outside of the market was even more impressive, with hundreds of ancient bonsai. A competition was being held, showcasing these remarkable, almost mythical-looking trees.
The evening followed an eventful day at the Taman Nusa, heritage ‘theme park’. Traditional houses and people in traditional dress represented all different Indonesian cultures and times. My presentation in the ‘Intangible Heritage – The Heart and Soul of Heritage Interpretation’ workshop was well received (see previous article with full presentation).
More workshops were held the following day. This time at the Bali Safari and Marine Park. We boarded safari busses on arrival, and toured the park, photographing the exotic animals – from Indonesian hog-deer to African giraffe.
The tour was followed by a plenary on heritage leadership and discussion on new strategies for expanding audiences. The shift from managing cultural heritage ‘for people’ to managing ‘with people’ is one the National Trust moment has embraced and championed. The plenary ended and we moved to a theater, larger than anyone had seen before. The opera ‘Bali Agung’ was spectacular. Giant puppets and hundreds involved in the case. A gripping story line that jumped from Indonesian to English, live birds released and flying to their positions, water jetting from a moat around the stage, and 5 elephants in the act. It was truly spectacular.
That evening we were honored to dine at the Puri Gianyar Royal Palace, for the conference’s Gala Dinner. Music and dancing of course, and group photographs once again. It was lovely to catch up again with a growing number of Indonesian friends, who make us feel so welcome in their country.