• Tara B. Vasi

Day 3/42: Bali, Indonesia. Kuta to Kubutambahan, Homestay, EARTHQUAKE, Fried Bananas

Even with all the activity of the day before, my thoughts still keep me from a solid night of sleep. When I would close my eyes, my head would spin as if I was dizzy, I learn Hayley got very sick and decided to go back to the UK instead of continuing on her journey to Bali. Maybe I am just stubborn, but I would have to be extremely ill to cancel my travels. I hope she is ok.

We are supposed to head out at 9:15am, so I order coffee and get some take away breakfast. Balinese coffee tastes a bit sour to me, but maybe it was an off batch. I am super excited to explore Bali. My bags are packed. I am ready to go.

For whatever reason we do not leave until 10:30am. I try to keep my impatience to get going contained and fill the time with meeting the new group. The guys walk up to me separately, introduce themselves, and we chat for a bit about this and that. I approach the women myself and introduce myself. They all smile and say hi. There are more people in total this trip and far more Americans. There are three guys from New York that don’t know each other, but all live in the city within 30 minute from another. There is girl from Florida. There are three young people from Norway. There a guy from Sri Lanka! The rest are women from Sweden, Ireland, and the UK. Our Bali tour is the last leg of their month tour, and I definitely feel what its like to be outside of the OG group. Its ok, we are still warming up to each other, plus, I am pretty used to being on the outside at this point and its something I have grown quite comfortable with.

Our bus was huge and I was thinking how much my last group would have appreciated it. We all had an open seat next to us and the air con was top notch. We drive 2.5 hours to our lunch stop. We stop at a G-Adventures supported Bali Community Training Lunch program. The initiative supports and assists people living with disabilities in Bali to find independence and manful employment through training in the hospitality sector. In Hindu-Bali it is a societal believe that being born with a disability is a product of “bad karma” and the foundation is working in the community to break down those stereotypes. Many of the disabilities are a result of a polio outbreak in Bali many years ago. We were given a tour of the grounds and four person shared bedrooms. They played music for us and then served us a buffet style lunch. We shopped in the gift shop and gave donations to support their foundation. I bought a white glass beaded bracelet. There were wooden seashell napkin holders and it reminded me of napkin holders I would make as a kid. I would use left over 2x4s sections as the base. I would paint them and two big seashells bright colors and glue the big sea shells standing up to create a napkin holder. I’d have yard sale in the front yard and sell them to the neighbors. Even from a young age I was a creative little entrepreneur! Lol Everyone at the foundation was extremely kind and grateful for our visit and donations.

We drove another 2.5 hours on a windy road up and around the mountainous jungle. It started to downpour. When we got close, we had to move into two vans to take us the rest of the way because the roads were too narrow and too slick for the big bus.

We arrive at the home stay and are greeted by beautiful men and women in traditional Balinese fashion. They hand us a full coconut to drink.

The homestay is in the jungle. There are statues, wooden carvings, bright flowers everywhere. We learn about the homestay and our options for activities for the next day. They assign rooms, have us drop out bags, and return to the main area to dress us in Balinese Garb so that we could truly embrace the culture as we visited temples and were blessed by the local priest. The outfit included a Sarang, a long sleeved ice shirt, and a belt for the women, and a sarong, belt and head piece for the men. I do not feel comfortable in white lace anything.

The owner showed us how to make flower offerings and told us that they prayed and gave offerings three times a day and depending on the day of the week the sizes of the offerings vary. She told how two days a year they have silent days where you cannot speak, use fire, work and even the airport is shut down. We walked to our first temple with our flower offering. We sat in two rows with our offering in front of us and a lit incense stick. Everyone watched the priest and the owner of the homestay give a pubic offering, but I was called to close my eyes and meditate on my breath. I find the energy in temples to be extremely purifying and my mind needed it. I got pretty smoked out by the incense, but the idea was there.

They blessed us each with holy water and placed rice on our forehead and our chest, unifying the universe to our mind and our hearts.

We received red, white, and black cotton strand bracelets for luck, health, and happiness. The guide kept telling us to clear our mind and I mentally responded, I’m working on it, bro, every day.

We move on to the next temple just down the road. I don’t know why but I felt uncomfortable walking by Balinese men, women, and children while wearing their traditional clothes, smiling and waving. They didn’t seem to mind me playing dress up.

The temples is massive and has many layers. The guide tells us about the stone gateway/entrance consisting of masculine and feminine sides, the dragons symbolizing prosperity and fertility and the square alters that capture negative energy before it enters the temple. He tells us that in Balinese hinduism they have utmost respect for the connection of universe to people, people to people and people to the earth. He goes onto talk about how an animal is tied to a stone column and sacrificed every six months. I ask him about all the trash and why they do not consider animals to be apart of the earth. Soa argumentative. I know. He said people walk around and pick up old offerings from the day before and there wasn’t any trash this morning and that they only make the animal sacrifice once a year, so its not a big deal or disrespectful. I determined that was a lie.

We notice a rumbling sound coming from the metal shed and then the vibrations explained. Then all of the sudden the entire earth is shaking below our feet. The guide says very nonchalantly that it is an earthquake. We all go wild because we have never felt anything like that before. Ive felt an earthquake in CA before but it was like a 2 on the Rickter scale. We wait for the aftershock but there isn’t one we can feel. One of the guys was having his thirtieth birthday today and I said that was a welcome gift to Bali from the universe.. Come to find out the earth quake was a 4.9 on the Richter scale.

We head back to the homestay and collect ourselves and meet for dinner. I spend the majority of the night getting to know the birthday boy. He has some great ideas about a t-shirt company and eventually wants to buy land to host yoga retreats. Dinner is absolutely delicious. My favorite was vegetables mixed with peanut sauce and jackfruit soup.

I ate a piece of bbq chicken and that was delicious too. For desert we had fried bananas with brown sugar and chocolate sauce. They also brought out a birthday cake and we sang happy birthday to Derrek. It was the owner of the homestay birthday too, so we sang again for her and shared the cake with everyone even though she insisted we have it for ourselves. They had Balinese dancers come and perform a few traditional dances for us. The woman were wearing pretty heavy make up and I realized that so other Balinese woman I had seen that day was wearing makeup. The dancers tried to pull me on the dance floor, but I told them it was a hard no. They finally gave up and moved on to the next girl, but no one wanted to get up and dance.

The the earthquake at the temples and the fried bananas were powerful moments today.


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