vrijdag 16 december 2011


Bali: Tujoes of Puri Anyar Kerambitan

making the portrait of Fifi

For some years we are good friends with the royal family in Puri Anyar in Kerambitan. We have always great time there. Nice conversations. This time the prince/painter Tujoes made a portrait of Fifi. The shooting proofs the peace and harmony in which this action took place.


Bali: Our Dream Room in the Palace

(Puri Anyar Kerambitan) by Hans & Fifi

This room is really special.We found that from the beginning. Magical and mysterious. Special in the night. Then the imagination starts working. Illustrated by the paintings of the prince/artist of the royal family: Tujoes.


Bali: "Praying, playing & fishing" at

the beach near Kerambitan by Hans & Fifi

During our last visit in the Puri Anyar in Kerambitan prince Tujoes invites us to go to the nearby beach to see the sun going down. The ride with the jeep through the nice landscape is already special. And at the beach with the black sand and the rough sea we are happily confronted with "praying, playing & fishing". The fishing is fascinating: men going into the wild ocean with only a long wooden pole and a rope which connects them with the shore. Energetic.

Bali: "Songan - the volcano, the temple,

the lake (Batur)" by Hans & Fifi

After 5 years we bring a second visit to the Pura Hulun Danau Batur in the old village of Songan. We have there a special meeting with the local guide Ketut Pasek.


Bali: The Cemetary of Bali Aga village

Trunyan (lake Batur) by Hans & Fifi

In the year 2004 we became such curious for the special cemetary of Trunyan, that we decided to go there. Of course by boat on the lake Batur, already a great adventure. But the only possibility to get there. As Bali Aga (the original people of Bali) the people of Trunyan have other habits and traditions. One is treating the dead bodies. They are not buried neither cremated.


Bali: Pura Saab on Nusa Penida

(old temple) by Hans & Fifi

The Pura Saab is one of the most important temples on the island Nusa Penida. We go there on full moon. Nice trip in the mountains. In fact the temple consists of three temples. The friendly local guide and the "mangku" do a lot of effort to explain everything. And also our friend & driver Nengah Seta is great and so is our day. An unforgetable trip once again.

dinsdag 6 december 2011

My new story in "Ubud Community" of December 2011:

Dream or Reality (3)

text and image by Hans Smeekes

Same spot. Same time. Exactly on midnight our new friends Tu Tokeh, the gecko and Tu Kodok, the frog are appearing again in front of us, Fifi and me sitting in expectation on the big bed.

‘And ...,’ Tu Tokeh starts the conversation, ‘how was your full moon day?’

’Following your advice we went to the beach, we watched people praying and playing and were impressed by the coming together of all these things.’

‘Yes, that is Bali, the wholeness.’

‘Having a good time first in the small warung looking out over the black sand and the wild ocean we saw the Balinese people slowly arriving in a procession nicely dressed up carrying with them holy statues and many offerings.’

‘In the day they can walk around in a modern shirt and jeans, busy with daily life, but entering a temple or like here with a ceremony on the beach, the Balinese people experience the real Bali, it is the transformation,’ Tu Tokeh explains.

‘Yes then they are so beautiful, it is like they are offering themselves, it is like art,’ Fifi says.

‘That is what it is, the word Bali means offering and offering is beautiful and we use a saying here in the palace: art is beautiful and beautiful is art,’ Tu Kodok joins in with his croaky voice.

‘Once we heard an artist saying: everything on Bali is art, even co

mbing the hair is art.’

‘Yes the people live and love these things, to make everything beautiful, they move in an artistic way ... everything .... so they have this attitude to make everything beautiful - look at the gardens - it is culminating when going to a temple,’ Tu Kodok continues.

‘On our “businesscard” we put as a kind of brand name: “the art of living”,’ Fifi says, ’it is a joke because we are not selling anything and this we always emphasize when giving it, but in essence it implies our attitude in life. Once a woman reacted when we had given the card and had added: we only sell happiness, ”but you already did”. And this makes us very happy.’

‘After the ceremony,’ I continue, ‘we saw people entering the water, cleansing themselves and children having big fun in the water. In the meantime some sellers arrived. One was selling icecream with his well known happy sound to announce that he was there, another was taking with him on the sand a mobile barbecue to make saté, another one was selling kites in the shape of a plane, so soon the beach was becoming a fair. Boys had found a football to play with. Girls chasing each other. Mothers with little children going into the sea. Everyone so happy in the orange light of the sun. With on the background the rough and wild sea. With its accompanying noise. Here we felt the power of nature and at the same time the joy of life.’

‘Did you feel the sand?’ Tu Kodok and Tu Tokeh ask in unison.

‘Yes I took off my shoes, because I wanted to feel the water at my bare feet. But the sand was hot. I cannot imagine Balinese people can stand that heat. It is like walking on burning coal. So in my opinion this is a healing itself and then I had the sensation of the water, the cleansing.’

‘One man was almost entirely covered with the black sand, protected against the sun by a many coloured umbrella. Only his head, arms and toes were visible. We asked him what he was doing. The friendly man told us he had a severe motorcycle accident, one leg broken and this was a kind of therapy in the healing process. According to him it is a good method against rheumatism and arthritis. That kind of thing. The black sand seems to have this quality, because of the radiation.’

‘It is the volcanic basic, it is also why the soil is so fertile on the island. The advantage of these mountains. The volcanos give us food and have a healing effect. And the water is coming down from there. The birthplace of the rivers. That’s why the mountains are venerated, together with the water. The thrones of the gods, the source,’ Tu Kodok explains.

‘The man in the black sand invited Fifi to accompany him, because she suffers from arthritis.’

‘You did?’

‘No way,’ is Fifi’s fast reaction, ‘I like more to sit quietly in the warung with a cup of Bali coffee.’

‘We wished the friendly man in the sand good luck and soon our attention was attracted by the fishermen arriving. Some started to be busy untwining the nets and we were mostly struck by three men entering the rough ocean with a long wooden pole and a net.

The big waves were taking two of them away holding the pole. Up and down. The third one stayed close to the beach, holding a long line, which was connected to the stick. Smaller and smaller became the two brave men. My eyes were fixed on the spot where they seem to disappear. The sun was already going down, making golden lights on the water. The lights were dancing. From a moment I saw many colours, like coming out of a golden pot, the holy grail.’

‘Then my eyes were fixed on the black sand, which also changed, from black in all kind of shades. I realised this is Mother Earth in all her appearances. And we are the children ...’

‘Sometimes,’ Fifi says, ‘we say to each other: are we really on Bali or is it a dream?’

‘And now talking with you, a gecko and a frog, is thís not a dream?’ I wonder.

‘Maybe you are in óur dream,’ Tu Kodok reacts with a mysterious smile.

At the same moment we are looking at an empty spot ....

Dream or reality? Whatever, as long as we are enjoying ourselves. The art of living.

Hans Smeekes

zaterdag 3 december 2011


Bali: Five Old Temples in Payangan

(Sri Markandya country)

by Hans & Fifi

As "The Young Archaeologists' as we call ourselves jokingly we are this time on a remarkable journey through rural Payangan. In fact following the spiritual journey of the holy Sri Markandya many years ago. In search of five rather unknown old temples. Related to each other and in relation with Sri Markandya. Erected by him or his followers yes or no (because it is not sure), most important are the knowledge and ideas of the holy man. Specially coming to life by the friendliness and hospitality of the local people. Many thanks them. And to our big friend Gung Kak (A.A. Ngurah Muning, curator of the Puri Lukisan) as being the best guide there is. And last but not least to our brother/driver Dewa Cerick who brings us everyhwere. He knows all the small roads of Bali. A real great experience again, which we like to share.

Pura Murwa Bhumi in Pengaji
Pura Er Jeruk in Semaon
Pura Puser Tasik in Ponggang
Pura Puseh in Penginyahan
Pura Alas Anker in Kerta


Bali: The Placenta Grave

("setra ari ari") of

Bayung Gede (Bali Aga)

by Hans & Fifi

Remarkable in the Bali Aga village of Bayung Gede is the way how to keep the placenta. Normal tradition on Bali is to bury it in the homeground of the parents of the father. It is considered as one of the so called "four brothers". Here in Bayung Gede this brother is kept in a coconut shell hanging on a tree in a graveyard of placenta (setra ari ari). In 2009 we are going to take a look.
Great was the friendliness and hospitality of the local people.
Thanks for that.


Bali: Pura Penataran Kacang Bubuan

in Bangkelasan Mas (old temple)

by Hans & Fifi

"The Young Archaeologists" in search of the Pura Penataran Kacang Bubuan in Bangkelasan (Mas). A temple with an history (in the area was a fight between the puri Negara and the puri Peliatan long time ago), explained by I Nyoman Suweca (also told why the temple is called "kacang bubuan") , at whose home we we were enthousiastically welcomed by him and his wife. When we left his housecompound it was like having met a friend.


Bali: The Sarcophagus

(old stone coffins)

in Margatengah Payangan

by Hans & Fifi

"The Young Archaeologists" on tour again. Now in search of the "Sarkofagus Margatengah". Old stone coffins, in which important people some 2000 years ago were buried in.
Already the trip to the site was fantastic, through the beautiful and sometimes remote landscape of Payangan.
Normally the artifacts are to be seen in a museum on Bali, but here they are shown in the field, where the people discovered the interesting archaeological sarcophagus. Many thanks to Pak Gedang, who showed us around. Again a great experience!!!


West Bali #2 The Monkeys of

Pura Pulaki

by Hans & Fifi

Pura Pukaki is one of the six most important temples of Bali (the so called "Sad Kahyangan"). Built at the foot of a blackstone hill, facing the beach. The home of many holy monkeys. It is said that when the holy Danghyang Nirartha, who is the founder of the temple, early 16th century, coming from Java, entered the forest of Pulaki he was escorted by the macaques. And so the monkeys became his guardians.
It is located not far from Pura Melanting (see the other video), 60 km west from Singaraja.
Pulaki is also the name of the realm (a kind of Shambala or Sangri La) where the "gamang" are staying. Immortalised by Nirartha and so invisible for the visible world. Beyond them his daughter (Bhatari Melanting) and some thousands of people of the village. Sometimes they appear as white tigers or special monkeys. Dogs seem to bark without reason when one "gamang" comes close.


West Bali #1 Pura Melanting

(next to Pura Pulaki)

by Hans & Fifi

Part one of our trip to the west: the Pura Melanting, built on the feet of a rocky hill (near Banyupoh, 60 km west of Singaraja) , where specially the business people are going for praying for good business and protection. It is also the temple of the goddess Bhatari Melanting, the daughter of the famous holy Danghyang Nirartha, who came from Java round the 16th century. The temple in his form today is designed by Ida Bagus Tugur and houses a beautiful pond, spectacular dragons and a "pelinggih gedong" decorated in a rainbow with many colours. Already the steps to the temple are alreay stunning, as both sides are decorated with impressive nagas and lotus flowers, to show the path to the goddess.