Heat and humidity greet us this morning as we pull open our wooden Balinese doors and step out.
We head up to the main pavilion for breakfast and see staff preparing for the start of a majour holiday in Bali. Small handwoven reed baskets of food offerings and flower petals are being prepared and placed at the two shrines that are on hotel property. These are laced with burning incense and the air is filled with a sweet smell. More of these little offerings are made during the day, culminating with prayers later on. We finish our breakfast and head into the streets to do some exploring. At every doorstep or entrance to a building are these baskets of offerings and beautiful hand-woven hanging reed banners.
A Firm No
Just outside our hotel, we are stopped by an intrepid young salesman trying to get us to attend the opening of a new hotel in Jimbaran Bay. Every ten feet we are offered a taxi or are honked at for a taxi. A firm but polite no is all that is needed. We peruse some shops (many shops and restaurants we pass on our walk are already closed for the holiday) and end up at a sarong shop and buy seven! All for the incredible price of $12 CDN. Our friend Eric in Sydney gave us two sarongs as gifts on our last night in AU and these will add to our collection.
We head back to the hotel, sweaty and hot, having walked for about 3 hours. We plan to rest and head out again after lunch, but the pool is so alluring that we spend the afternoon relaxing.
As part of today’s cleansing celebrations, there would ordinarily be noisy parades designed to scare evil spirits away for another year. These parades feature huge carved sculptures of various gods and spirits, called Ogoh-Ogoh, with everyone banging a drum or somehow making noise. They have been banned this year for fear that, with the upcoming Indonesian general election, they will end in riots. After dinner we do head out anyway, hoping that although the parades are cancelled there will be some celebrations to observe. We are lucky – just as we get to the main road miniature Ogoh-Ogoh’s are gearing up outside the temple. We watch and listen, fascinated, and take some photos – everyone happily poses! We join the procession with the other foreigners, following the tail end – for about 50 metres, where it heads into the grounds of another temple and quickly dies. We hang around waiting for something else to happen, and when it becomes clear nothing will, we head back to our hotel for a swim and a beer.
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