Sunday, August 05, 2007

three-a-day season

Rainy season officially ended on Wednesday and I can tell you this, three-showers-a-day weather has arrived. And yesterday we realized that our dawg is definitely not a hot weather dog and hence we shouldn't play ball with her in the park in blazing midday sunshine (UV index 7) when the temperature is 30 C + 5 more degrees of humidity. We felt horrible when she needed to lie down and concentrate on her panting half way through the 10 minute walk back afterwards. She recovered quickly in the airconditioning at home, lying on the cool kitchen tiles.

Whilst speaking of Grace-chan, I will segue into some Bali dish (finally!). During our trip, little furry-face had her own personal dogsitter who stayed with her at our house. I think she was spoiled by a lot of companionship because the first week after we returned and we went back to work (I'm still working full-time with the two part-time jobs), she caused a little bit of trouble every day for several days; chewing this, breaking that, etc. But by now her separation anxiety seems to have resolved itself again.

As for our trip, I really should've blogged about it when it was fresher and especially not at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night after a busy weekend (I'm sleepy!). But I will just color a quick overview.

I had not originally been interested in visiting Bali. Aran and I have a List of the places we want to see while we're in this end of the globe and frankly Bali wasn't on it. However, when we were about to start planning our July vacation, we discovered that the weather in our first choice destination (Thailand) was extremely bad at that particular time. We want to see Northern Thailand (Chang Mai, the golden triangle, etc.) and this without mudslides and floods. So Bali came up when we looked at a climate map to see where it wasn't rainy/typhoon season.

Then I started reading about Bali and I became more and more excited. The country is full of beautiful ancient (Hindu) temples and palaces, lush vegetation thanks to many tall volcanoes and mountains. And that's aside from beautiful beaches, some infamous and 'happening', others peaceful. I also read about the art (woodcarving, painting, batik, etc.), music and dance. PLUS everyone everywhere raved about the friendliness of the Balinese.

Well it's all true and then some. Aran and I were both so happily surprised and enthralled by everything. Hindu since around the 1st century AD, the Balinese live and breathe their religion. Theirs is a Hinduism interwoven with a focus on local and ancestral spirits. Several times a day most Balinese pray and make offerings (often mini trays made of palm leaves laden with food and/or flowers) at their family temple. The traditional Balinese house is actually a compound where an extended family lives. This family property is surrounded by a (beautiful, ornate) wall, inside of which are several small buildings (kitchen, dormitories, etc.), including a wall-less common/gathering area, and most importantly, the family's temple.

Aside from these daily gestures of devotion, the village temple is also regularly visited by colorfully sarong-clad villagers, due to the frequency of all sorts of village celebrations. We were fortunate to see a village in the midst of a cremation ceremony (see my photos of it). And this is not to mention other temples, either that of local rice fields or the large ancient ones associated with key geographic sites.

The beauty of Balinese Hinduism is that it's vivid and dramatic, full of music, dance and color. It also produces very kind and community-oriented people who are proud and well-informed and happy to share info about their culture, religion, lives. And despite having to work very hard to feed their families, are still genuinely warm to tourists.


Hi Carol,
Welcome home to you & Alain. Glad to hear Grace is ok. Wow I just viewed the pics you've got on your website now of Bali - it sure looks beautiful! I'll be interested in reading more on your blog....
Love, Edie
Thanks Ede. If you came to Japan, you could fit in a side trip to Bali too...
yay nice to read! :)
that sounds like such an amazing trip! i studied hinduism briefly in university and it was really interesting! thank you for sharing your experience with us - now maybe we can all add bali to our list of places to visit!
Hey sis!
Gorgeous photos! Have you called National Geographic yet?! With your writing & photography (it should be in a magazine)!
Glad you guys had a good time. Where to next?

Hi Carol,

Very interesting description. Thanks a lot and waiting for more, if possible. Wonderful pictures.

what a great description.. sorry i'm reading so late
i loved it and it sounds like you really got a chance to enjoy it..
i love the photos
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