After a long days commute from Bangkok we finally arrived in Bali. A good 10 minutes of haggling and we had our ride sorted up to Sanur to Di Kubu Homestay where we would be for the next 4 nights. I like Homestays in Bali. They are a cheap way to stay in decent accommodation as well as getting to know some of the locals a little better. £11 a night gets the two of us a good clean room with a shower and toilet, our breakfast and our own little stove and cooking area within a family compound set back in the small lanes away from the busier main tourist road through Sanur. The family we are with are lovely and their two sons absolutely adorable. We arrived fairly late but still managed to find a Warung (Balinese for somewhere to eat) not too far away and enjoyed a well earned meal and a couple of bottles of Bintang to wash it all down. I've struggled to settle into the time difference and this night was no different tossing and turning until the early hours, I'm sure I'll settle down soon enough.
The next day was a fairly lazy affair
Now we had read up before we left Bangkok on what was happening in Bali this time of year and somehow got our dates and days mixed up. The Balinese New Year is called Nyepi and we had read that it was on the 8th but the info was wrong and when we checked with the family it was the 9th so we still had an extra day to go. What we didn't read anywhere is that there is a celebration the day before Nyepi called Ogoh Ogoh! What a name indeed, like something out of Joe versus the Volcano
The statues and dances are impressive to see. Big scary beasts, some 20 feet tall which are built on bamboo frames and carried and maneuvered by each group. Some smaller than others with kids as young as 4 or 5 all doing their part to join in. As always the tourists in Bali are encouraged to come along and join in with the locals to support the kids and it's such a fantastic spectacle I can't see why you wouldn't want to it. It's something I've never experienced before but I'm glad I have now. If your ever here around this time you can't avoid it and I recommend joining in as much as possible to make the most of the experience. Talk with the locals and the kids about what they are doing and they reward you with their openness and encouragement
Well earned rest is exactly what we got. The following day as I said is called Nyepi and is the Balinese New Year. It's a strange one as well as it is a day of silence. Nobody is allowed out on the streets at all. Everywhere is closed for the day, all streets lights remain off and the airport even closes for 24 hours with no flights in or out at all. Local village leaders (Pecalang) are the only ones allowed to out to patrol the streets and ensure that nobody is breaking the silence and running about. It's a strange yet interesting day and the idea behind it is to give a day back to nature. A day of self reflection and inner peace. The only exceptions are for emergencies and women in labour!
Tomorrow, the day after Nyepi is the equivalent of New Years day here and is also known as Omed-Omedan or the "The kissing Ritual" and is practiced by the youths to celebrate the New Year. It's been a really interesting couple of days so far experiencing these new things. Tomorrow we will be hiring a scooter for 10 days or so and heading off round the island to new places we haven't sampled before. I can't wait, I love the freedom of being off on a bike and it makes all the small places off the beaten track so much more accessible. It's cheap as well. we have haggled a price of around £1.70 a day for the bike and we are leaving our big back packs with the family here at the homestay so we can travel light and easy.
Well off to cook some food now and to keep quiet! Until next time...
First days in Bali:Ogoh Ogoh and Nyepi
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia