Don gathers us at Puri Saran for meditation and toning. Instead of taking the second morning dance classes, I choose to wander with my cameras. Out on the main street I run into John, who launches into an enthusiastic account of the Museum of Modern Balinese Art--Museum Puri Lukisan--just down the road from Puri Saraswati. He's entranced with a mandalic painting he saw there a few days ago.

Intrigued, I go with him to the museum. It's so early, at 8:30 a.m., that no one has gotten out to the ticket office by the road yet. We saunter on down the road into the grounds, across a bridge over a ravine, and up a hill toward the museum's three buildings. We walk around the lush grounds, a small tropical park with lotus pond, fountain, statues, and flowering trees and shrubs.

We meet a workman who tells us we can go in the middle building. The other two will be open in a while. John's excited. This is the building that houses the paintings. We take lots of photos, using flash, as we can find no signs that say we can't used flash. No one stops us.

John's mandala impresses me, too. Modern Art in Bali means anything done after 1956, apparently. Next we visit the sculpture and wood carving displays in another building. I take some shots here, too. I'm hoping these pictures will turn out. My 35mm Nikon is autofocus. I placed the lens very close to the glass of the cases and shot the pictures at an angle with flash. I do know the flash bounce won't come back into the camera, but will its autofocus work through glass?

Back outside we take some gag shots of John and then me, leaning against a silly-looking statue. Then John shoots me as I balance on one of the stepping stone pillars forming a path that crosses the pond to the fountain in the center. I have to be careful here, as the rock slabs wobble on their pedestals. I don't want one of them to dunk me in the stagnant algae-clogged scummy water.

After "doing" the museum, John and I backtrack to the photo lab. There we meet Joan who's also depositing some more film. We all agree that we can't believe how much film we've used so far. We eat lunch at the Lotus Cafe and discuss what we want to do next. I decide that I really do want to buy those peacock feather earrings in a shop on Monkey Forest Road that I'd seen in all their iridescent glory.


So the three of us head in that direction. We notice how hot it's gotten, but just then some clouds come scudding over to rescue us. Then I find the earrings. But I'm so disappointed this time. It's the sunlight that brings out their sparkling beauty. I decide not to buy them after all, as I'd probably never be wearing them in a sun-drenched setting. I'm so glad that the clouds doused not only the heat, but also these earrings' fire BEFORE I'd bought them.

We three wander along slowly, poking into several shops. Somehow John and I misplace Joan. After looking around for her in the adjacent shops, we keep going and gawking at all the goodies in the shops. Once more the sun beams hotly on us. So we retreat to the shade of a tiny café to wet our whistles.

I see they offer lassi--a yogurt drink. I haven't had a real lassi since I was in Egypt in 1996--four years ago! I slowly sip a fruit and honey lassi. John's thirst has grown to giant-sized--he downs a large pineapple juice and then a mango juice. We sit and talk for a while, as now it's gently raining. John orders another pineapple juice! I tell him he'll wash away, right down to the stream at the bottom of the road. I drink a small bottled water. When the rain stops, we head back toward the main road.

We pick up our pictures and head back to our bungalows at Puri Saraswati. There's Joan out on the veranda laughing at her pictures! We share our pictures. Fatigue overcomes us. We don't want to have to waste time napping, when there's so much to do and see. But we do have to give in to our bodies. It's probably the heat that's doing us in.

After our nap, we're off to Puri Saran for more gamelan lessons. I choose to wander around the lovely grounds, shooting pictures of the tropical flowers and re-taking some shots that hadn't turned out well the first time. Hardest to take are close-ups of the orchid flowers with this autofocus. Maybe this time I have figured out how to do it.


Supper at our favorite Lotus Café again. Then climb on board the minibuses for the short ride to the neighboring village of Pelliatan to see a women's gamelan and children's dance performance. Balinese women and children don't perform the sacred Barong and Kris dances, those being reserved for the men!

The women really get into the essence of the music with love and high spirits. The children just blow me away! Polished professionals, nevertheless they pour their whole innocent essences into their performances. From this normally desirable vantage point, I can't capture the whole troupe at the same time. This is a disadvantage, as I don't know where to focus when! Again my muscles cramp as I film the hour-long performance. Oh for a tripod!

Back in our room, packing, Joan and I agree that we don't want to leave Ubud. Who needs the beach, anyway? There's so much here we haven't had a chance to see and do. I discover as I round up my stuff, that the empty three-suiter I'd brought along with the fully-stuffed carry-on and equally full camera bag, is no longer empty. Goodness! If there's anything to buy at the beach, where will I put it?!

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