Greeting spring

Hibiscus behind each ear

This Balinese statue with a hibiscus behind each ear made me think that this is how we should greet the coming of the spring.

I saw many a statue adorned with flowers when we arrived in Bali. I don’t know if there is a particular significance to this gesture but it appealed to me a lot.

~ Spotted Cow

Top loads

Woman in the countryside

The Balinese women and men amazed me, carrying loads on their heads. It could be anything from laundry to garden produce to earth & stones.  I wonder if if they suffer from pressure headaches or stiff backs? They certainly manage to shift around bigger loads than I can with my ergonomic backpack.

~ Spotted Cow

Carrying loads on their headsNo hands !

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra


This monkey looks like it is imploring the heavens for extras. Food, that is. The little rotters are bold and will take any edibles off you.

The photo was taken at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. It’s my contribution to this week’s Extra, Extra theme in the Weekly Photo Challenge.

~ Spotted Cow


Weekend away book

I’ve got a weekend away coming up and I like having a book, especially as my work involves reading a fair chunk of technical information.  I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t have a Kindle. I’ll admit that it’s efficient not to have the bulk when you want to take 6 books with you, and I do like portable technology. But nothing quite replaces the physical energy of turning pages.

Chiara over at runs a project encouraging teenagers to read. She’s an avid reader herself and I like her recommendations. She also has an adult reading list, including one on books to read when you’re travelling.  I like the sound of the top choice, The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke – an unfathomable suicide mystery in Bali of the narrator’s sister. Intriguing. I know that they read it in her book club recently and were absorbed by it.  That’s it. I’ve clicked and when it arrives in the letter box, it’s going in my bag. And I’ll be one less book behind on my One Book A Month new year resolution. Done and done.

~ Spotted Cow


To market, to market …

Ubud, Bali

… to buy a fat pig.  You can do just that at the Ubud public market. There is a stall that sells suckling pig or babi guling, the local specialty. The market is located across the road from Ubud Palace in a multi-storey building full of stalls that spill over into the car park and onto the street. Vendors sell flowers, fresh produce, cooked food, fruit juices, sweets, temple offerings. Get up early, and by early I mean around 7am, otherwise you’ll miss the good stuff. Remember to bring your camera. Many of the vendors are happy to pose for photos, especially if you ask them nicely.

Spotted Cow

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Monkeying around in Bali

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a must-do in Ubud. It’s a lovely green forest with pathways, strewn with Balinese sculptures and lots of monkeys scurrying around. The monkeys are long-tailed macaques, for those in the know. They are everywhere and they are not shy about coming forward, especially if there’s fruit on offer.

Beware if you are carrying plastic bags. The little – and big (!) – mischief makers aren’t embarrassed about tearing apart your shopping bag to get at what they think are food parcels.

There is a small temple in the forest.  Ladies, if you’re not appropriately dressed, they’ll rent you a sarong to tie around your waist.

Spotted Cow

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