A chicken or two, anyone?
Balinese women have good posture, balance, and above all, are strong as an ox. Traditionally, they are the ones who do the heavy labour, like (I kid you not) road works. We saw quite a few women carrying offerings on their heads that day, but I think this lady takes the cake.
We drive further into the foothills, and was greeted by the sight of Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest peak.
This is a rare sight in the middle of the monsoon season, as most of the time the peak is shrouded in cloud.
On the footpath, we saw a lizard, hogging a patch of sun. It kind of looks like a bluetongue but it definitely doesn’t have a blue tongue.
We walked along a rushing stream – rushing because of the high rainfall received in the monsoon. Along side it were the ubiquitous shops, however most of the shops were closed on festival day. We certainly enjoyed the peace and lack of crowds that morning.
We’re going into the jungle now. We visited an area called Goa Gajah, or Elephant’s Cave in English. The cave, near Ubud, was used as a shrine since the 9th Century, although these steps down to the river were built much sooner. I can imagine monks and pilgrims resting in this cool place.
Surrounding the village are the rice fields. The Balinese has self-sufficient when it comes to producing rice. A traditional Balinese family is allocated a plot in which to grow rice. The surplus either goes to the village or to the government.
Bali is also a volcanically active place. The northern part of the country is full of peaks above 1,000m, the highest being the 3,142m high Gunung Agung. We’ll visit a volcano later.
Along with the flags, umbrellas, and gamelan, a mainstay of a procession is the barong – a creature from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. It’s a smaller, less dynamic form from the barong one sees at a Chinese new year procession. I guess they’re just a lot more laid-back in Bali.
Another wonderful water lily, this time larger and whiter.
We came upon a procession for Kuningan, the festival day, as we made our way through the village. On festival days, everyone from great grandparents, to young kids, get dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ and process from their family compounds to their village temple. With their colourful sarongs, flags, offerings, and mythical creatures, it was a vibrant sight.