A Walk Around the Island

June 9, 2014

I dipped my feet on the warm water and shuffled the sand as the fish scurried away.

The earth was still wet from the night before but the sky showed signs of a sunny morning.

Good. I thought to myself remembering my misadventure yesterday.

I stumbled out of bed while grabbing my camera which was neatly placed next to my spectacles on the wooden table beside my bed. The road was empty except for a couple of people speeding off in their scooters.

I looked around and noticed a faint sound coming from somewhere in one of the houses. Chanting, yes the neighbors were starting their day with a prayer I presumed. In a way, it made my morning seem more magical.

After several dead-ends and a failed attempt to go back to the guest house, I find myself in a white sand beach overlooking Mount Agung in the distance. I took a deep breath and thanked God I ended up in a nice beach this time.

I dipped my feet on the warm water and shuffled the sand as the fish scurried away. Ah! It felt good.

There was a small pathway through the shallow water that lead to the other side of the beach. No resorts or restaurants, just some overgrown grass.

The Invitation

When I returned to the guest house, my hosts asked me if I wanted to go with them and see how Balinese people celebrate their birthday. Intrigued, I nodded my head and sat at the back of Komang's pink scooter.

On the way there, I made a short visit to a nearby attraction known as the Gala Gala Underground House. At first glance, it is what it is said to be. A house built below the ground resembling a cave. It was built by a priest who was inspired by a Hindu epic about the Pandawas being banished in the forest for gambling loses. For safety, they built a cave and lived in isolation.

The guide who took me around the cave said it was his father who built the underground house. I asked him if he had lived in the house himself but he just laughed and shrugged it off. Unsure of the meaning of that response, I decided to stop asking questions.

The Birthday Celebration

Komang wrapped me in a borrowed sarong before I entered the house. I quietly took a seat in a wooden chair observing the other guests in the sideline.

  1. Instead of balloons, cake, and candles, the place was filled with offerings and incense.
  2. Instead of the usual Happy Birthday song in the background, rhythmic chanting played in the air.
  3. Everyone was wearing a sarong except for the kids.

I was sweating too much from the heat that one lady with a baby approached me and asked me where I was from.

We talked about their life in the island and what we both did for a living. Turns out it was her baby who was having her birthday celebrated that day.

She explained to me that Balinese celebrate their birthday through a cycle based on their calendar. The cycle usually falls every 6 months so technically, they celebrate more than once a year. I found this article that explained the celebration very well.

The family that took me in and made me feel welcome in this little island. Komang, Wayan, and their little girl.

Driving Around

After lunch, Komang took me around the island.

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