Banter from Bali
First order of business today, I think I should call my scribbling a Bloglet, as in Booklet, not Blogette as in Crumpette – what do you think? I devised this new line extension of a Blog because I have been reading that writers should Blog daily for practice but I’m just too private to open up my innermost thoughts to any old surfer of the Internet. I await your feedback on the name of this new writing form – Bloglet vs. Blogette – or Blog by selection.
Yesterday our driver picked us up at 8:30 AM and took us to a theater where the parking lot was filled with tourist buses – VERY BAD SIGN. We sat through a traditional Indonesian play about good and evil (Barong vs. Rangda). Good and Evil is so predictable since good always wins. I’ll have to try a novel where evil prevails.
Today is a Hindu holiday in Bali. We woke up with offerings on our doorstep. I’m not much for organized religion but I am greatly moved by the philosophy behind the Balinese Hindu philosophy, called the Tri Hita Karana Doctrine, based on three harmonious relationships:
1. The Gods blessed life and created nature and all its contents
2. Nature offers sustenance to support the needs and activities of human beings
3. Human beings have an obligation to establish a traditional village structure, to build temples in which to worship, to hold various ceremonies, to make daily offerings, to preserve nature and to solve problems together
If one thinks of the family as a village structure, the home as a temple, the ceremonies as the milestones of family life, i.e. births, graduations, weddings, the love of nature and daily solving of external problems within the family then I am that kind of Hindu! As for the daily offerings…well maybe that’s what is collected by the IRS.
After the Barong Theater, we visited Ubud, with its many art galleries. We then went to the Sacred Monkey Forest with its many Monkey Temples and…well…monkeys. The monkeys who live here are long-tailed Balinese macaques. They are a colony of 35 males, 95 females and 170 young. Macaques are the most successful of all primates, after humans, although the latter premise is sometimes questionable. Males often act motherly and protect the young – for example – I got a bit too close to an adorable baby and a gigantic baboon-sized Alpha male chased me around. Believe me – that was scary. Death by Monkey – maybe a good title for a novel?
Our friend Eduardo Ramos-Gomez recommended lunch at Viceroy, outside of Ubud. The restaurant was suspended over a valley of rice paddies and palm trees. The food was delicious but, since it was 1 AM in New York, and the cool valley breeze relaxed me so, I fell asleep in Eberhard’s lap right there at the table. I’d probably still be there if I hadn’t been curious to see the volcanoes – last erupted in 1993.
We then went to see the beautiful volcanoes in Tintamani and the crater lake Batur.
Back at 6:30 pm – mangoes for dinner and another fantastic $13 massage.
Life is good. Selamat tinggal.