Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Bali-daze

Originally uploaded by gr8wendini
There are 'auspicious days' according to the Balinese calendar, and they are listed for each month--the descriptions range from what days to get married, or start a business or even cut hair.
It’s been quite a powerful week around the full moon and the Solstice. One of these days must have said 'auspicious day to bury the dead' because we returned to Ubud with Brandi Gatlin (joining us until the New Year) to experienced a Cremation in town, burning body and all. We had heard about it from people in town, and from Hibiscus Cottages, where we stay in Ubud. Immediately we were swept up in the activity of following these huge structures (one shaped as a Bull to denote that he was a from an aristocratic family) to a temple down the road. Western tourists (including us) were there in sarongs and sashes to respectfully acknowledge tis ritual. The procession was grand. Part of the belief is for the pall-bearer types to twist and turn to confuse the ghost spirit. There was definitely critical mass of paparazzi--what an incredible and macabre event to document. It all became very real once the bull-shaped structure that housed the body burned away, and suddenly my lens only saw this man's calves and feet sticking out--I was momentarily paralyzed and the memory is bleached in my memory forever. No one was crying, the Balinese have a much more organic view of death as the cycle of life--and even embrace the children with it by planting little pinata-type treats in the burning, so the children can search for them later in the ashes.

My rented motorbike was stolen on the full moon, much to everyone’s surprise, so there’s a new underbelly of how things work in Bali that I am learning now.

‘Tis the rainy season. Imagine torrential rain pouring down, even flooding in some areas. Rain for days now. Carrie hosted Christmas Eve dinner—fun and festive. Christmas in Bali was quiet for us. Sweet gifts exchanged with Carrie, Cheryl and Brandi. We did the traditional rainy day things like watching movies and played Yahtzee and Scrabble. Carrie and Cheryl (!) practiced yoga at the house because it was raining too hard to go to class. I would update more with photos but bandwidth is an issue in Indonesia, especially Bali. Uploading, downloading—oh am I behind on my flickr…

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