Bali – April 2013 – Part 1

April 3rd

It is our 3rd day in Abiensamal at Cozy Wayan. We are about 45 min scooter ride from Ubud now.
The first day we stayed at their small room. Second day we moved to a bigger room.
There is a smell that comes and goes from time to time, a strong smell we haven’t identified yet… Pig’s shit, chicken shit? Human shit?
The room is amazingly beautiful. Gardens, flowers, butterflies all around, The shower? So lovely…The sounds of nature, the insects, frogs and birds are different than Hawaii. Pigs, roosters, dogs barking… We are getting used to it now.
It is lush and much more cooler than Ubud. Yeah…We breath fresh air for the first time since we arrived.

The boys take us to the Lake Temple. We take an offering and collect some holy water for my next painting.

Then, we headed out to the original Monkey Forest

Driving through the small streets in the Village of Taman…what do you do when you run out gas? there is no gas stations -only small shops with vodka glass containers full of a yellow liquid – we soon find out is gasoline no regulation whatsoever, no safety, available in every corner, every street… Welcome to Bali.

Back in Hawaii, Lynne said to us: “you’ll love the smells in Bali, everywhere you turn there is yummy smells and colors, the smells are magnificent”

Ha!

The smells we experience here are more like…Chicken poop, Pig’s poop, dirty clogged water, the smell of dead rats left in cages for days, stinky resin from trees, durian, chemical detergent in towels and sheets, black diesel smoke, sewer, human shit, burned plastic, smoke, and then, occasionally, a nice incense.

Huge pot holes in the streets, everywhere!
You have to be so aware, so mindful, so in the present moment. There is tons of cars, scooters, dogs, roosters coming from every direction. There is people walking and suddenly, big piles of drying rice every few minutes in the middle of the street

People smile. People laugh at everything. It seems as if there is an overall “All is well” in the middle of chaos. It’s refreshing and shocking at the same time. It makes you laugh and it confuses me at times

These are our NEXT DOOR neighbors / the loud, super stinky thin but cute piggies

Once more, it brakes my heart to see how people treat their animals. These pigs were in a very small concrete cage, they had scars and red spots from trying to push their gate with their nose, they’d cry and cry for a long time – very little food was given to them. 😦

It was beautiful to see how one of the female pigs would put her nose on top of the other pig  to console her… it was the only time she would cease crying.

April 4th & 5th

The last day of Galungan and Kuningan is here. Ayu, Wayan and the kids are getting ready for it. They stay up late making offerings and they are excited about the celebration
We came home and August, the older kid, was making pork balls for the offerings.

They have invited  us to the procession tomorrow.

The whole village goes out on the streets with their best attires and lots of offerings. They bless each home. They believe today the Gods visit the land and the good triumph over the evil .They go to the temple and pray and get blessings.

We started painting in the morning and were too inspired to interrupt our journey. We’ve been looking forward to have some peace and relaxation…
We didn’t make it to the procession but we took a motor ride through the village in the afternoon wearing the traditional balinese attire.
We are the only westerners in the village so everybody stare at us and SMILE. Smiles and more smiles. They are excited to say one of the few words they know in english “hiiiii”

Bonkasa it’s a beautiful traditional pure town

A little taste of the Village

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April 6th – Visiting the Green School

We were invited by Avara, our wedding priest, to an Assembly at the Green School. She owns “Food Lab”, the raw food restaurant at the school.We didn’t know what to expect, but we went with an open mind.
The restaurant was super yummy, the school incredibly beautiful. The School system, well, controversial.  Some say it is a school for the rich and it is not “really” giving to the children of the Balinese community. Only 10% are Balinese children. The other 90% is children from all over the world. When you talk about the school with the locals, they seem not to be too happy about how expensive and how difficult is to get in.
I agree, yes, it should be more open to the community but I think is a good start.
It is a culture shock for the Balinese who are not used to caring much about the environment. Kids that attend this school are exposed to such different lifestyle.
I love that things like this are beginning to sprout. It is inspiring and it is just the beginning.
More expansive stuff is to come from here and this is truly exciting!

More info: www.greenschool.org

April 7th through 10th

It’s been so good to be in the country! Lovely Bongkasa. Every time someone ask where we are staying and we say “Bongkasa”, people exclaim “Bongkasa???!!, how did you find a place there?”It is such a small untouched cute town, there is no hotels, restaurants, nothing…just locals.

We go to town every 2 days or so – just to grab food and do some yoga – the rest of the time, we stay home or do little things around this little town –
Daniel had a little surgery on his gums and a deep tooth cleaning so he is getting some rest. I’m taking care of him, writing, painting… it is so good just to not have to cook, clean or even make the bed! Ha!

——-

A WALK ON THE RICE FIELDS

The birds love to suck on the juicy, milky rice so the farmers either go around yelling, hang all kinds of things, including plastic bags, or make natural amazing scarecrows to keep them out!
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IMG_2867There is water flowing, like little rivers, in almost every street in front of every house, through the rice fields, abundance of water that is.
People bathe themselves in these waters, poop in these waters, throw trash in these waters, wash their clothes in these waters, cook with these waters, do everything with these waters…
Some water passages look clear, some stink! some are full of plastic bags, some are muddy…still water is so holy, so important, so essential.
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—-

MEET THE SCARECROWSIMG_2891IMG_2892

THE VOLCANOES, on a rare clear morning

We’ve been looking for a place to do our wedding ceremony with no much luck. We envisioned a place in nature but so far, we’ve found nothing. It’s been a journey!

Fantuzzi called us singing a song “Happy wedding to you!”-“Happy wedding to you!”
“I think there is going to be no wedding here Fantuzzi” – I said – “ We can’t find a good place” – “You worry no more my dear, I will help you find the place- Let’s have tea tomorrow and talk about it” he exclaimed with certainty

A few days later, he introduced us to Made, the owner of a beautiful house in Ubud in the middle of the rice fields. Just a walking/scooter path takes us to the house. No streets, no cars. Peaceful indeed

As soon as we entered the house, we knew it was the right place. A gorgeous Ganesh statue in the front, lovely spacious gardens, bamboo structures, great Feng Shui.

I have to say it was really hard to come to an agreement with the guy, I went through a whole range of emotions, feeling disappointed, discouraged… the guy would say yes, then maybe, then he wouldn’t answer his phone, then he wanted more money that we could pay, Gosh! I was about to give up again. Avara, the priest, gave us some other options and we started hopping around looking for a second plan. Finally, the guy made up his mind. We secured the place with a down payment and sure enough we not had the place secured but a full service of flowers included!

Our potential second plan, “The Springs”

At Clear Cafe

Holy Water, incense and offerings

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and outside, the BALI Dogs do their thing!

Back at home, Wayan called the coconut climber. We drink huge young Bali coconuts and relax in our beautiful cocoon back again.

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