Namaste. Sawasdee Ka. Saibadee. Selamat Jalan...
Sunday, April 13, 2014
We're home. 26 hours after leaving we've traded the heat and humidity and lushness of Bali for the sweet chilly fresh air of Cardiff. Our family and friends have embraced us with their loving spirits, welcoming us back, excited to reconnect. Hugs and kisses abound. Such a charmed circle of interesting intelligent people. Trying to conquer our jet lag, still awakening at 3 am. Thank goodness for Ambien. Sipping our own rich coffee, organic salads, and excellent red wine. Home feels nice. We are lucky. And now the blog will retire until our next trip, wherever that may be. Travel keeps us young, fills us with new awareness and excites our imagination. Take a trip. You will be glad you did. Get outside your comfort zone, eat something exotic, feel challenged.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
So it begins, and so it ends, the last day. Tomorrow will be long. At least 24 hours of travel. It is never easy to cross oceans, continents, time zones. But so worth the effort. We've been blessed to have experienced this short sojourn in Bali. I always feel so enriched and rewarded being here. And so terribly sad to depart. Om shanti shanti shanti. May we all enjoy peace, love, harmony.
Thanks for following my humble blog.
Love, Lena and Ron
Saturday, April 5, 2014
So little time left, so much left to do. I've been through these emotions before, sad to be leaving and excited to be anticipating reunions with family and friends. Some days, after extremes of heat and feeling listless, headaches and fuzzie thinking, we admit we are ready to return home. Then it cools off, we enjoy afternoon coffee and dinners with friends, lazy days with no agendas or requirements, soft nights swimming in a darken warm pool under the new moon, and greetings from all of the Balinese we've met who recognize us and have enriched our stay...then I hate to think of leaving! We hired a driver yesterday and left early in the morning before it got too hot and went to see two sacred water temples. One, Gunung Kawi, was built in the eleventh century, carved into the rock face of a mountain deep within a valley of tropical trees and streams of water. Both men and woman have to wear sarongs wrapped around their legs as a sign of respect. We walked the 315 steep steps down the hill to see the temple. Sadly there were way too many people selling carved bone , sarongs, coconuts, food and drinks. They all have the same things and each call out to you to "buy something". It would be much more pleasant and tranquil without the intrusion, but this is the Bali way. Even so, the scenery was beautiful, almost like finding a hidden treasure at the end of a steamy walk. A priest dressed all in white walked the trail just ahead of us, and we were able to have a small whisk of sacred water placed on our heads for good luck. Then we drove to the next temple, a thousand year old natural spring called "Tirta Empul". People have been coming here to bath in the sacred waters to cleanse themselves of any bad spirits and refresh their karma. The water bubbles up from natural springs beneath the earth and is funneled into the pools via carved stone waterspouts. We were happy with another small dribble on our heads. From here our driver took us through tiny roads barely wide enough for one car and a passing motorcycle, through rice fields with long views of the valleys stretching all the way to Mt. Agung towering over the whole earth, it's apex shrouded in clouds. We stopped at a scenic spot for photos of curving hillside terraces of rice where unfortunately the tourist arrive enmass and traffic is heavy. We shot our photos and left, happy to be away from the rush of people and again driving along meandering hidden roads, seeing the real life of Bali. Simple, poor villages, chickens, stray dogs laying in the streets, straw roofed huts, dirt and trash, flowers and temples, and always the green fields of rice.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Today is Nyepi, known as the "day of silence". This is an important event in Balinese Hindu culture and marks the celebration of the Lunar new year. The airport is closed for 24 hours, the entire country is shut down. Youu are expected to stay within your compound and no one is allowed on the streets. It is very quiet and peaceful, a day of meditation and silence. They came around this morning with a print out for all of the guest with the following four rules:
1- NO TRAVELING
2-NO FIRE OR LIGHTS
3-NO WORK - NO MAKING NOISE
4-NO HAVING FUN
"It is the perfect time to retreat from the hectic world". "Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi"
The night before Nyepi there is a local parade with all of the Ogah- Ogah, which are huge sculptures of fearsome demons which are supposed to scare away the marauding bad spirits. The neighborhood kids and adults spend a lot of time and money building these works of art. They are then placed on grids of bamboo and some are so huge that 20-30 men are required to lift them up and carry them through the town. It is quite a scene with the coordination of transport, the gamelan "marching band" and the hundreds of people lined up along the streets. Carnival! Bali style! At the end of the night they are set on fire and hopefully any bad spirits will burn up with them. The following day, silent day, is to confuse the bad spirits into thinking no one is home and they will not enter your home, or town, and they will continue on their way for another year. As tourist we are extended the privelage of using electricity and being allowed to swim and talk quietly. It is most generous when the single, childless workers spend the night here so they can continue to take care of our needs. Now there is complete silence... Even the dogs are quiet!