Day 16: Around Ubud, before leaving on a jet plane tomorrow

Posted: June 10, 2010 in Cycle touring Mountain biking Bali, Indonesia 2006, 2008
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Monday May 22, 2006

The real Bali lies just minutes outside of Ubud.

Cultivating flowers while waiting for the rice to grow. Most Balinese are now finding that its not safe to rely on just one income, especially tourism which has had its share of ups and downs.

Most Balinese go through a painful tooth filing ceremony or ritual to get their incisors in line with other teeth. This is usually done before adulthood or combined with a wedding ceremony. Why? Sharp incisors belong only on animals and evil spirits and with a staunch belief in reincarnation, the next life as a lowly animal is one no Balinese looks forward to. Calling someone, ‘”Hey dog” is a great insult.

An estimated 10,000 ogoh ogoh of varying creepy-ness were made in early 2006.

We were also lucky to spot some surviving Ogoh Ogoh (most are usually torched) after Bali’s Nyepi celebrations, the island’s major purification ritual. Weeks before Nyepi is a busy time for all Balinese with religious objects being taken in long processions to be cleansed in sacred springs in remote locations. Animal sacrifices are made and displayed at crossroads and street corners where evil spirits are thought to linger. The night before Nyepi is the noisiest on Bali. Drums, gongs, cymbals firecrackers and paper mache Ogoh ogoh are used to rid Bali of bad luck and evil.

In stark contrast Nyepi day is one of total silence. Balinese eat in, keeping quiet, TV or radios are turned off, no one ventures out the front door. The streets are totally deserted with shops and offices closed. To take things to the extreme Bali’s airport shuts down for 24 hours. Absolutely no flights except for emergencies. Tourists are expected to stay indoors and dine in their respective hotels and staff camp overnight as they cannot go home. Nyepi enforcement volunteers will stop and detain any offenders especially motorcyclists, foreign or local. You’ll be told to push your motorbike home and collect your keys from village heads the next day. With Bali totally quiet as can be, it is believed that any evil, upon seeing Bali in this lifeless state, will be fooled into leaving the island forever. The days before and eve of Nyepi is great fun, but if you happen to be in Bali in March or April, be prepared to spend a quiet 24 hours indoors, preferably with a wireless connection.

The beach in front of Kudeta




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