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Embrace the creative side of you in Balinese Dance

Photo courtesy of Nusa Dua Beach Resort

We were recently enchanted when we had a chance to visit and attend to some of the Balinese Cultural Creation centre, located in Denpasar. We were so happy to get to meet the local actors and dancers in person and participate in different workshops. Walking through the complex we could experience how beautifully green the plants were and feel the odor of their flowers. The scent of earth, water, wind, and flowers imbued our senses and mind, leaving us in romantic space. My five year-old, especially, appreciated this chance to meet this side of nature she rarely get a chance to see at home, so she couldn’t be happier. Moreover, she was having his birthday party among the trees and on grass, and then she surprised me by saying that he would want to learn to dance Balinese Dance.

I was not sure what she was talking about at first, because she kept uttering and repeating “Balinese, Balinese,and Balinese”. This occurred after she had visited a local event that performed Balinese dance however I was not sure what it was, so I looked it up online.

It turned out that Balinese is a beautiful traditional form of dance, performed by Balinese people that have been part of their religion and their culture since ancient times. I have gotten so puzzled to know first-hand what this dance was all about, especially since there was plenty chance to attend different activities,both outdoors and indoors at one’s own convenient time. This represented an ideal opportunity to keep my son occupied by artistic yet dynamic activity, all year long.

As soon as I found Balinese Cultural Creation, I was impressed they offered so many activities and cultural activities, at such affordable terms, that I immediately booked a stay, to my own and my daughter’s amusement. Once we got there I was amazed at all the activities we could take part in so we both enrolled in a class in Balinese dance. From the minute I sat down to watch the dancers I was mesmerized, wishing to teach myself these wonderful invigorating movements, while my daughter was overwhelmed by excitement and joy. On the beginning I was clumsy with moves, but my daughter caught on like a pro, since kids are like sponge easy to adopt new skill when they are young and loving it.

Photo courtesy of Four Season Jimbaran

The instructors were particularly motivating and patient with us and everyone else, applying right balance of being friendly, yet enforcing everyone to learn the dance movements and rules correctly. However, this beautiful dance was hardly our only activity -we learned how to make a kit for example from beautiful natural materials. My daughter was successful and let his kit go fly in the sky, while I have not had much luck making it. I learned about Indonesian philosophy which includes learning how to dance as each step, each movement represented some deep insight into the nature of life and universal law surrounding us. The garments, the costumes, the colors all represent a unique aspect and harmony of life. My daughter and I learned a lot; more about the dance for her, and for me about the life philosophy.

Other activities that we participated in together included batik painting a t-shirt, with a paintbrush and colored paint, while my daughter was assisting me. She was such really enjoying showing off her artistic skills for the first time in his life. With paintbrush in hand, colors by the side we were ready – Balinese Art of batik painting is attractive with bright colors among lovely designs, traditional and quite unique. Philosophy, culture, and the respect for natural order can be seen through all their art, dance, and more.

Trying out and eating Indonesian cuisine meals together was also great fun, playing games with the other kids, and learning a new culture will definitely make my daughter more versatile woman when she grows up. I highly recommend everyone bringing your children to this kind of magical place. You will never be the same again, as it would leave you feel enriched, content, and more intimate to each other. The smile on my daughter’s face was what made the trip worth it.

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life–learn some as well as think some and also draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” – Robert Sharma

 

Indulge your ceramic interest at Jenggala Keramik

Bali is a most memorable destination hotspot for many international and local tourists. This is because the islands of Bali are graced with gorgeous and breathtaking scenery, bountiful cultures, delectable cuisines and cocktails in the various restaurants and bars and a place to explore and indulge in many watersports as amply availed by the various clear water beaches with fine white sands.

One of the reasons I was inspired to come over to Bali was to soak in all the knowledge I could regarding the vast Balinese culture. And as I went along visiting as many historical places as I could manage and talking to the indigenous people, it was brought to my attention to visit Jenggala where I could find and indulge in the Jenggala Keramik.

Jenggala Keramik is a ceramic warehouse where clay is given the utmost respect and treatment to create beautiful tableware and home ware pieces that many restaurants and homes all over Bali use. And as in the case of the international tourists, the exquisitely handcrafted products are a beautiful way to gift your friends and family back home or keep as souvenirs of your visit to Bali.

The clay for over thirty years that is used is the finest of its kind to create the wondrous formulas used to create and showcase their aesthetic products. Also various techniques are employed like casting and throwing on a potter’s wheel but for the most part are all handcrafted. The technique to be used depends on the intricacies of the product in question. A lot of time is given in the thought, design and quality control processes of each and every product. These ceramic Balinese inspired products are offered in a wide array of shapes and colors, in sets as well as in single pieces. A gallery with a wide inventory is right round the corner where anyone that wants to purchase a piece or two can go right ahead and do so. All of them are at affordable prices and there are discounts and promotions available making the shopping experience all worthwhile and interesting.

For the most part, my time at the Jenggala was spent participating in the ‘Make a Pot and ‘Color a Pot’ program that is provided by the Jenggala Keramik team to its visitors. And I must say that it was time well spent indeed in that well air conditioned space. It reminded me of all the fun I had making various home ware pieces out of soil with friends as I was a very little girl. The beauty of this program is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes, as a group or as an individual. I am pretty sure that many kids preferably of three years plus get a kick out of creating something using their own hands. For the adults, I believe that aside from being a fun way to spend time with friends and family, it is a very good activity for soothing oneself and get one with nature.

Everyone is given a chance to come up with their own design idea and the staff is always there to lend a hand if needed. I love that the visitors get to test and build their creative side. You are left to your own devices and you can create a mug, a bowl, a plate and so on. These have to be fired and so will be ready after four or five days. Hence make sure that your activity is well planned for so as to get to enjoy your final ceramic pieces. Your creation can be made as beautiful as you would want for paints and glazes are provided for your use.And if anyone is interested in having a one on one class, all can be arranged. All one needs to do is ask. I have found that large parties attending these workshops and they can be as fun filled as one wants them to be. So if you want to have a birthday party or anniversary party activity, then Jenggala Keramik is the way to go. All your guests will thoroughly enjoy themselves. Payment for participation is not set but depends on the number of pieces one wants to make or paint.

However if you are also one of those people that would rather feast with your eyes rather than participate directly, it is quite alright. A viewing area is provided for you to view whatever is going on in the studios.

My love for food greatly appreciates the fact that there is a café and restaurant a few minutes’ walk from the workshop and gallery where anyone can feast on the various mouthwatering Balinese cuisines on offer. So after a hard work on your special project, it is a great place to relax and catch one’sbreath with a very good cup of coffee in hand.

All in all, a visit to the Jenggala Keramik is one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun activity in Bali that will also draw them closer to Balinese history. Just make sure to secure a booking ahead of time so as not to be inconvenienced. It is also the place to be if you are looking for a venue to keep your guests entertained for whatever occasion you might have in mind. Visit Jenggala Keramik today and witness the magic.

 

Bus Access in South Iceland

South Iceland offers a rich amalgamation of attractive locations to visit as it has a reputation of being home to the most exotic natural wonders in Iceland. The area offers a splendid blend of glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs and how can we forget the multiple UNESCO listed historic marvels at Thingvellir. South Iceland is the most regularly and fervently visited tourist attraction. The joy of visiting marvelous locales of South Iceland would become twofold if you tour the amazing sites by bus. So, for your convenience, we are listing the top locations that can be easily reached by bus.

Hveragerði
HveragerðiHveragerdi or the Flower Village is the charismatic gateway town to South Iceland. It is situated in a huge geothermal area. The town features the largest array of greenhouses in the entire country and hence received the nickname flower village. You can visit a number of highly active hot springs that discharge colorful mud and warm water into the air, which needless to say is a rare feat. Also, you can enjoy trout and salmon fishing in the Varma River and berry picking during summers.

 

Höfn í Hornafirði
Höfn í HornafirðiHofn town in Hornafjordur is home to the biggest glacier in Europe called Vatnajokull. The scenery at Hofn is breathtaking. The largest national park in Europe, the Vatnajökull National Park, is also situated here. You can enjoy diverse range of services over here including camping sites, restaurants, swimming pools, hiking trails, golf courses, shopping arenas and multiple museums. The much popular Lobster Festival is also being held every year in summer.

 

Jökulsárlón
Jökulsárlón The incredible Glacier Lagoon Jokulsarlon is situated on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park. To enjoy icebergs in a wide range of shapes and styles from charcoal black soot to powder blue chunks and white streaked logs to glass like translucent formations, there is simply no end to their versatility. The Skaftafell glacier hike is the tipping point of your glacier voyage at Jökulsárlón. It is a very popular and picturesque location, where various Hollywood movies have been filmed.

 

Laugarvatn
LaugarvatnLaugarvatn Fontana, located at the mesmerizing Laugarvatn Lake, is a very relaxing place where tourists get to relish the authentic Icelandic adventures and get a taste of the geothermal pools and natural saunas. There are three steam rooms that are called GUFAN. These steam baths are a treat for people from all age groups. The depth, size and temperature of the steam baths vary as these have been built over natural hot springs gradually since 1929 so you can expect the weather to be between 40°C (104°F) and 50°C (122°F). At the Grids, the steam rooms’ floor, visitors can hear and smell the boiling hot spring present underneath, which is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Vík / Mýrdalshreppur
MýrdalshreppurSouth Iceland’s most frequently visited tourist destination is the Vik and in its Mýrdalur district’s western part lays the Dyrhólaey at a 120meter high promontory. It is a popular location where the mystic rock arch is located. The major portion of the fourth largest glacier in Iceland the km2 Mýrdalsjökull glacier is also situated in Vik. Around 600m below the ice you can expect to witness one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, the dormant sub-glacial volcano Katla. Vik features a number of sea and land attractions such as you can enjoy salmon and trout fishing, horseback riding, dogsledding and ice-climbing on the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, snowmobile trips, sight-seeing in boats, wool center and fish farm, etc. It won’t be an overstatement that there are very few other locations in Iceland that offer such amazing contrasts of natural attractions than Mýrdalur.

Kirkjubæjarklaustur
Kirkjubæjarklaustur In olden times, Kirkjubæjarklaustur village was known as Kirkjubær, which means Church Farm. The name refers to the fact that this location served as an important farming estate. The name of the village is also used as a tongue-twister in Iceland because of its complex pronunciation. The Church Floor called Kirkjugólf is a well-protected natural pavement and a famous attraction in the village. It is a natural pavement at the basalt columns. The basalt columns’ shape has been modified by wind and waves and they give away the look of a paved church floor now.

Author: John Grotti

Email: johngrotti@yahoo.com

Le Marais – The City of Light

Le MaraisParis is full of wonderful treasures, but the Le Marais is one of the best jewels in the city of light. Spanning in the third and fourth districts, the Le Marais has become one of the most exotic and popular city of Paris. However, it is quite far from as being a gay area when it had just established a stronghold in the late seventeenth century. The Marais has a beautiful, palpable cosmopolitan atmosphere, where you will definitely feel very comfortable.

 

Actually, the gay community blends with the local artists and as well as the Jewish community, who have a good and strong presence. In addition, to this, the neighborhood is quite very lively. You can easily treat yourself to a bit of shopping and can purchase beautiful and elegant products. The neighborhood perfectly offers a good mix of the luxury labels, specialty boutiques and some beautiful thrift shops.

See the numerous art galleries that are located throughout all the Marais. These walls are quite beautiful as framed by genuine artists. To start exploring the area the perfect place to start is to just take a metro to the Bastille unless you walk from the Notre Dame and as well as the Hotel de Ville. Musse Carnavalet, Musse Picasso, Institut Sudedois and the Le Carreau du Temple are some of the exotic nearby destinations that you can see in the Le Marais.

Freelance Writer: Sue Ann Klosterman Becker

Email: klostermanbecker@gmail.com

A week long fun at Visakhapatnam

However, there are countless tourism places in India. One may find cities of Historical forts, temples, battle fields, beaches, hills, caves, etc, yet there are cities like Visakhapatnam where one may find plane, hills, ocean and historical temples in a single city, even caves are nearby.

Varahlakshminarsimha templeVisakhapatnam is well connected with national capital Delhi, City of joy “Kolkata”, IT hub Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. One may travel by train to enjoy multiple days journey or may reach by air within two hours. I spent one week with my family there. AC Hotels are available from Rupees one thousand onward for double bedroom. We reached there in the morning and stayed at Hotel Krishna near railway station. In the evening, we hired an auto and started sightseeing from religious places. That evening we spent in Varahlakshminarsimha temple and Rose hill church. Autos are available from Rupees three hundred onward for this trip.

Deity Darshan Next day, again we hired the auto for day long trip in Rupees twelve hundred. We started the day with Deity Darshan at Simhachalam temple which is around ten kilometer from railway station. Then we went to Film City. The road is adjacent to sea and it’s nice to see the film shootings on the way. The film city has a film museum which includes all the film making equipment there. This film city, located on Bheemli Beach Road, is built on the top of Rishikonda hills serves an enticing bird’s eye view of the Bay of Bengal. Dr. D. Ramanaidu, the owner of this film studio, was conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in the year 2010. He is highly respected for his contribution to the Indian Cinema. His name is in the Guinness Book of World Record for producing films in maximum number of regional languages. On 18th February 2015 at the age of 78 this genius passed away after a prolonged illness.

Rishikonda BeachNext stoppage was at Rishikonda Beach. As always, we enjoyed the coconut water and local shopping. The calm blue water of this beach is a sight to sore eyes, and you can indulge in some quiet, peaceful time with friends and family here. You can take a walk along the stretch of the sand, and the sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful here. Then, Zoo is also there at walk-able distance. It was great pleasure for children. Next, we went up the hill to visit VUDA park at Kailashgiri. There we had good food for lunch and toy train riding. It is also a best place for children. Kailasagiri is a hill top park. The hill is at 360 feet and it overlooks beaches, forests & the city. It is one of the best tourist spots in the city for a bird’s eye view of the bay. The Kailasagiri Park is well known for its panoramic view, peaceful atmosphere and its scenic beauty.

Vishakha MuseumThen we headed towards Vishakha Museum. This route is well connected to city’s most popular beach “Ramakrishna or R K beach” where Kursura sub-marine museum, Kali temple and Matshyadarshini aquarium are located. Kursura sub-marine was isolated by Indian Navy years back and now turned into museum at sea beach. If you are in this city, stop to witness the only Submarine Museum in the entire of Asia. Matshyadarshini aquarium is just a fish collection where we have seen variety of fish live. The Aquarium has many marine varieties including the long horn cow fish, butterfly fishes, surgeon major, peacock wrasse, the lion fish, stone fish, red squirrel fish, perch dusky, trigger fish, clown fish, damsels, sweet lip rabbit fish, angels, electric ray, porcupine fish and many more.

It was 9 pm, almost 12 hours journey with lot of fun so we came back to our hotel.

Author: Prakash Vir Sharma

Email: prakash2484@gmail.com

Prakash Vir Sharma

Quick Stop at Bangkok

This trip gave me a face of Thailand that perhaps only few have seen. I met some local people and had a sight into rural life. I found that Thai people are very down to earth, kind, and actually wants to give everyone insight into real Thai culture.

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