Late last Saturday afternoon, after having earlier spent the day planting 100’s of bamboo plants in the banana field (of which I shall bore the pants off you about another time), the Irishman and I set off down to the beach for a walk.
Saturday promised to be an extra special day due to there being a full moon and a particularly huge full moon due to it’s proximity to earth. These Super Moons such as the one last Saturday, are when the moon is at it’s closest to the earth and are known as a perigee moon. This means that not only is it super huge and low in the sky, but also it’s gravitational pull is at it’s strongest. When we arrived at the beach, the tide was the farthest out that I have ever seen it in Sanur, and it meant that we could walk for miles across previously unchartered areas of sand that normally are underwater. Like two young children we picked our way through the corals and seaweed and watched the eerie sea slugs eyeing us up through the murky shallows of the warm tropical waters as we waded further and further out.
With the heat of the day now over we walked back up to the beach and made our way along the shore taking in the sights and sounds around us.
A group of around ten people had waded out into the sea, and the two priests amongst them were conducting a cleansing ceremony and purification. As they beat on their chests and chanted, I watched as people fainted into the water. It was a quite an extraordinary sight.
Further along the beach families sat in groups, their colourful offerings to the God’s placed in front of them, their hands held up in prayer, lost in their spiritual world whilst other beach goers bathed and splashed and laughed and shouted around them.
As the sun started to go down we kept on walking taking in all that was around us, the only westerners on the beach to witness such a happening.
We passed the beach temple and admired the offerings, and salivated at the countless warungs cooking delicious and mouth watering sate, bakso and nasi goreng. In the late afternoon sky, children flew their kites in the breezy sea air competing with one another as they swept and dived and sometimes collided.
We ended our long walk back in the heart of tourist Sanur, and stopped at our favourite bar for a drink. We don’t even have to order now, the sweet smiling waitresses just bring our Singapore slings to the table unasked. As we mulled over the events of the day and made plans for the next, the bar rat scuttled past us (see my earlier post Ratus Vagina) and suddenly the penny dropped that tables 5, 7, and 9 are all in the way of his rat run. There is a handy drain that he raced off into just past our table.
One of the things that I love most about Bali is it’s predominantly Hindu culture. The Moon and it’s phases plays an important part in the Balinese Hindu calendar so it’s no surprise that last Saturday was an especially auspicious day and treated with such reverence. Every Hindu household has it’s own temple, some of which are very grand affairs, others more modest and simple, but all of which have offerings placed in them daily. Small woven baskets with flowers, and grasses are bought by the women from the market each morning and to which are then added crackers, cookies, sweets, cooked rice and sometimes even cigarettes. An incense stick is then lighted and a prayer said for each offering given. These are placed in the offerings boxes, inside and outside the house, and at strategic points around the garden and plot of household land. Inside and outside every shop, every house, and on every pavement in every street in Bali, you will see these tiny baskets. On the beach, in taxis, in restaurants and bars, on the bus, in the trees, on the bridges, everywhere that you can think of, there will be an offering.