After experiencing Ketut’s late night rafting arrangements, we decided to test him to the limit. The LP pointed out that some of the villages around Ubud were worth visiting, but quite difficult to get to. So I asked and not only did he agree to what I asked, he even threw in a few extra things.
So the morning started off in Batubalan. Although this is the central stone carver’s village, we had actually come here to see the morning performance of the Barong dance. Like the Kecak dance, the Barong is an epic tale of good versus evil. This time the hairy dog type dragon thing battles...
against the equally hairy witch Rangda.
Of course the story was more complicated than that, but they are the main players; the ones the audience ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ over. There are beautiful princesses (I think she was a beautiful princess) and her son...
and at the end the Rangda almost gets her wicked way by putting the Barong’s army into a trance and making them stab themselves,
but clever old Barong has made the knives harmless so what we see is a group of men screaming ‘HAY’ and depending on their acting skills varying attempts to stab themselves which range from dramatic to comically absurd.
All this is played before us with the soundtrack provided by the now familiar Gamelan Orchestra.
Nevertheless it was a jolly good fun and I rated it second after the Kecak. I guess I just like a good yarn.