Sunday, July 24, 2011


If you're vegetarian or squeemish you had better skip down to the Volcano bit......

I found out (to my dismay) that the Balinese sacrifice animals at ceremonies. I was very shocked by this actually because they are such loving people. However, this is their culture and their belief's are very deep rooted and unshakable.

My first experience with this was at the Cremation Ceremony we went to with Ketut's family a few weeks ago. One of the boys brought along a small duck and small chicken (they were just a few weeks old and very cute). They were stuffed into fully enclosed woven flax baskets and taken to the ceremony we had at the sea. I didn't think anything of it until later and I asked Ketut what happened to the duck and chicken in the were thrown into the sea, for the awful as it is, it's what they do here, you just have to turn a blind eye and forget it.

Carrying on with the sacrifice theme, last Saturday they had a follow-on ceremony from the Galungan one 10 days prior (their Christmas). This one is called Galungan and Kuningan. They go to the Temples and pray and cook lots of food and get together. In Tulamben they also sacrifice animals. Tulamben is the only village apparently to do this and no-one can really tell us why...

Anyway, our lovely neighbours (Nyoman and I Luh) had their big family celebration at home which included animal sacrifice. We just had to put out of our minds what they were doing behind us but we were wondering how on earth they were going to kill: 1 cow, 2 pigs, 1 dog, countless chickens and 1 goat without there being blood and guts everywhere!

Well, they did and apart from the squeeling pigs when they were caught, we didn't hear a thing and we certainly didn't go looking at what was going on!  It was all very clean, quick and tidy. We were amazed.

Offerings at our little temple...

There were offerings made at our 2 little temples in our yard, which included flowers, food and some dead birds (I think they were little chickens but I didn't look too hard).

It's all in the experience of life in Bali...mostly fascinating...sometimes disturbing...

The area where we live and teach (Tulamben-Tianyar) has a huge Volcano at its doorstep - mighty Gunung Agung which is around 3000 metres high. Gunung Agung last erupted in 1963-64. The locals say it's now dormant but the internet says it's still active...I'll side with the locals and hope it doesn't decide to wake up like the other 10 in Indonesia have!

The 1963-64 Eruption (from Wikipedia)
"On February 18, 1963, local residents heard loud explosions and saw clouds rising from the crater of Mount Agung. On February 24, lava began flowing down the northern slope of the mountain, eventually traveling 7 km in the next 20 days. On March 17, the volcano erupted, sending debris 8–10 km into the air and generating massive pyroclastic flows. These flows devastated numerous villages, killing approximately 1500 people. Cold lahars caused by heavy rainfall after the eruption killed an additional 200.

The lava flows missed, sometimes by mere yards, the Mother Temple of Besakih. The saving of the temple is regarded by the Balinese people as miraculous and a signal from the Gods that they wished to demonstrate their power but not destroy the monument the Balinese faithful had erected".

Reminders of the eruption are everywhere with huge lava boulders scattered throughout the countryside and right into the ocean at Tulamben where we live. Apparently Tulamben was a very big village back then, but not so anymore.

Anyway, onto brighter things...Brent had an idea
to get the children to make some 'Prayer Flags'
(like in Tibet) to hang around the school, so we
went shopping for fabric and pens and got them
to draw/write whatever they wanted onto the
squares and now they adorn the school - they look fantastic and certainly brighten things up.

Tianyar is a poor village with most families creating incomes from fishing or salt. The salt beds are interesting... They rake out the ground in front of the ocean into little earth 'boxes' then fill them with sea water and let the sun evaporate the water so then there is only salt left. They also use big conical containers that they have built out of bamboo to do the same job. So, this is where Sea Salt comes from!

Collecting sea water


Cutting Coconuts

There are some fascinating sights along the way.  The other day I was sitting having a coffee on our upstairs balcony and I heard a rustling in the trees and there was this guy motoring up the coconut tree like a monkey!  It is sooo high up there and they clamber around it like a jungle gym!  He cut off maybe 6 or so coconuts (watch out below!) and clambered down again.

Man at top of Coconut tree
Palm Trees
Collecting Palm Oil

 Then the other weekend we went for a ride to explore the area behind us and towards Mt Agung and came across this guy up a Palm Tree collecting Palm Oil.  It's amazing what the do and how they do it.

Brent and I are off on "holiday" on 2nd August.  Bet you're laughing at that - a holiday from the holiday!  We certainly aren't on holiday during our normal weeks here.  It's very much routine and work just like at home, except we don't get paid for it and we can be a bit more flexible with time and it's nice and warm (hehe!!).  We have been here 100% for the kids with the odd day off here and there when they have ceremonies and holidays themselves. 

We are both looking forward to seeing a different part of Bali and having a break from the routine. So, I won't be blogging for probably 3 weeks, until we're back.  On 2nd August we go to Singaraja to get our Visa's renewed and then will head away from there.  Our main problem at the moment is trying to get a rental car.  There are plenty of people who will rent you a car but there's no insurance which we aren't prepared to take the risk on, especially here!

Till next time, Namaste xx

No comments:

Post a Comment