I had just arrived in Bali and was staying with the delightful Mar Mut family just outside of Ubud. Their traditional mahogany colored wooden home was nestled amongst the lime green terraced rice fields with their serpentine water channels mazes and tiny local shops, that were more about socializing and selling goods, lined the edges of the country dirt road. This is a quiet slice of Ubud’s city life.

I took a ride to downtown Ubud to explore the cities shops, restaurants and to hopefully meet and talk to some locals. As I started the window shopping part of my walking tour, I was immediately captured by the intense and vibrant colors everywhere.

As I was admiring a vibrantly colorful window display, when a small pickup truck filled with vases of exotic flowers, baskets overflowing with fruit, many small delicately decorated boxes and three exquisitely dressed women pulled alongside the street. They immediately began their task and started to place their prizes on their heads. It was amazing to witness how skilled they were at the weight of the items and how expertly they placed on their heads.

I watched as they carried the treasures up the long staircase. When the truck was emptied, a polite man extended his arm to me and asked: “Are you ready?”. “Where are we going?” I asked and he said, “to the wedding, of course”. He escorted me upstairs and selected a front row seat for me. Immediately the mother of the groom came over to greet me, introduce herself and handed me one of the pretty boxes, which contained a piece of wedding cake, a napkin, a drink and some tiny pieces of candy

As the unexpected wedding guest, I was overwhelmed by their gracious hospitality. They’re sincerity touched my heart and gave me an invaluable lesson of how this culture embraces life. That special day will be treasured and remembered with a smile for many years to come.

Words and photographs by Shelley Pittman

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