along with the Kuta beach are are the principle destinations for tourist
visiting Bali. Personally I prefer Ubud for it's natural beauty and the many
artist galleries that it somehow supports. There are literal dozens of shops
that carry large outdoor sculptures. How they can fund a business with all of
the competition is difficult to comprehend. Too large to fit in your luggage
most must be destined for the homes of rich expats.
Ubud we saw a performance of the Barong which is probably the most well known
dance of Bali. It is also another story telling dance, narrating the fight
between good and evil. This dance is the classic example of Balinese way of
acting out mythology, resulting in myth and history being blended into one
The story goes that Rangda, the mother of Erlangga, the King of Bali in the
tenth century, was condemned by Erlangga's father because she practiced black
magic. After she became a widow, she summoned all the evil spirits in the
jungle, the leaks and the demons, to come after Erlangga. A fight occurred, but
she and her black magic troops were too strong that Erlangga had to ask for the
help of Barong. Barong came with Erlangga's soldiers, and fight ensued. Rangda
cast a spell that made Erlangga soldiers all wanted to kill themselves, pointing
their poisoned keris into their own stomachs and chests. Barong cast a spell
that turned their body resistant to the sharp keris. At the end, Barong won, and
Rangda ran away.
The masks of Barong and Rangda are considered sacred items, and before they are
brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with
holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be presented.