Religion is a huge thing here, and aside from the daily rituals like the precious little offerings you see appearing every morning in the form of little baskets of woven banana leaf filled with flowers, rice, incense and other things certain gods might like, on each doorstep, driveway, altar and random places with holy meaning, there are big ceremonies nearly every day.
It’s all so delightful and they all look so vibrantly colourful and beautifully bright.
Another thing I find very fascinating are the kites, I think they’re supposed to work like scarecrows. I see so many of them! Really high up in the sky, like birds of prey.
I still wonder how they stay up that high.
I mentioned those sweet little houses you see here everywhere. In between them are tiny patches of bright green fields, sided with swaying palm trees. As you drive by they seem like llittle ricepadies in between.
But when you take a closer look behind the houses you’ll find they’re actually huge, and they’re all connected back there. So it’s actually more like the narrow road and little houses are cutting tiny lines and holes in the field stretched out over the entire island rather than the other way around.
A more peculiar thing is the contrast between rich and poor here. Many Australians and other western people moved here and own huge houses with several locals for staff, are being driven around in SUVs, have their little surfcourse or are just sipping their little coktail on their beach loungers.
And all the locals seem to do is serve.
And all those white folks might have something to do with the amount of pets.
I mentioned how it takes us an hour to get from our villa to Legian, maybe 15 kilometres away; Kuta traffic is just crazy!
And I mentioned those narrow windy roads. Motors and scooters rush down them like it’s nothing; looks like fun!
So this afternoon Emma and I take the scooter she’s rented but hasn’t dared to use yet; and she’s having me drive it now, to find ourselves a hostel in Kuta for Sunday night.
We leave at 3pm, well aware that it’s a long way; might take us an hour to get there. And we want to be back before dark at 6pm.
The first challenge is that traffic I mentioned. And other than windy, roads go up and down. Pretty soon we’re at a traffic light going uphill and with a long line of cars and many scooters in between waiting. I’m having trouble keeping the bike up straight and not sliding back down!
More even than in Vietnam I feel tailgated and pressured by the other drivers
Second challenge is to find our way. The windy roads make it impossible to keep track of direction. The ripcurl drivers take a different road everyday, because they have to pick up someone else or just to avoid traffic. And it’s hard to say which was supposed to be the way there or which is supposed to be the way back, or which turn to take how. We take wrong turns thrice going in and every time we’d both feel like “Yes, we must be on the right one now! No, wait. I don’t recognise this at all…” We almost give up when we finally find Kuta’s main road.
The hostel I found in Lonely Planet is a hard find, hidden in a backalley. And when we finally do find it in that charming neighbourhood, the lady of the house explains to us in very practiced English that she’s fully booked. “There’s a big ceremony, you see.”
We try another one, that’s more expensive and where we feel less welcome, so we tell the landlord we’ll think about it.
So we give up and start back home.
Another challenge. Traffic grew even busier, it’s getting dark and it’s now even harder to find our way. We seem to be going in circles and don’t recognise anything we see anymore. When we finally do get home it’s well past 6pm. We’ve made these scenarios where they’ve gone out searching for us, but no one seems to have noticed we were lost and we join the dinner table without questions asked.
The excitement of the day has worn us out. After dinner we try to revive ourselves with a little yoga on the grass in the backyard; doesn’t help. We then try a dive in the pool; even that doesn’t help. A chickflick from the couch it is then.