“Your karma just ran over my dogma.”
My heart was pounding, palms clammy. It was time to learn how to ride a motor scooter in Bali. I was never much of a biker type, unless you count my mountain bike. But here in Bali, it is almost essential to rent a motor scooter if you want to see the sights. The roads around Ubud, on the other hand, are a story unto themselves. Ancient volcanoes carved deep valleys, while numerous rivers created even deeper verdant gorges. Roads twist and turn around blind corners, the effect akin to a roller coaster, and one can only marvel at the engineering feat required to keep many of these goat paths open for driving.
Training Day- Lee Trevelyan gives me a quick course on moto driving.
Motorbikes are very cheap to rent, less than $3/day long term, a full tank of gas costs less than $2 (Indonesia being a major world producer of oil). There are no shortages of places that will facilitate rentals for you; motorbike leasing companies seem to be on every corner here in Ubud.
by Elaine Weeks
on the road from the airport to our hotel,
curious monkeys scamper out of our taxi’s way
old women bathe naked in streams by the road
while costumed giants parade and glittering men and
women hoist golden parasols and streamers
elderly Balinese men in traditional dress – bits of rice stuck
to foreheads, cheeks, throats – climb onto our taxi
and pretend we are not there
whiz past limey green rice paddies and temples with menacing stone
statues wearing black and white checkered skirts
motor bikes loaded with families of four dart in and out
while horse drawn taxis plod along the edge
and women in borderline sexy traditional garb bearing
impossibly arranged towers of fruit and rice cakes on their heads
are temple bound
This is Bali.
Global Backpacking Journey, November 1986: Destination Ubud, Bali
Aboard the 5 1/2 hour flight from Melbourne, Australia to Bali, Indonesia, fellow passengers included young rowdy Aussie students whose main pre-occupation was to drink as much beer as humanly possible. Unable to avoid their ever louder conversations, Chris and I learned they were headed en masse to Bali’s famed Kuta Beach.
Lucky us! We landed in Bali just prior to Nyepi, or “Day of Silence” commemorated every Isaawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar. This is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated here as a day of silence, fasting and meditation and the day after Nyepi is celebrated as New Year. The day before the Bhuta Yajna Ritual is performed in order to vanquish the negative elements and create a balance with God, Mankind, and Nature.
Devout Hindu Balinese villages usually make ogoh-ogoh, demonic statues (once made of bamboo and paper but now the majority are skillfully carved styrofoam) symbolizing negative elements or malevolent spirits.
After the ogoh-ogoh have been paraded around the village, the Ngrupuk ritual takes place, which once involved burning the ogoh-ogoh but these days they may be destroyed in other ways to avoid burning the styrofoam; sometimes they are even sold to art collectors who ship them to other countries. Then, for 24 hours, from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, EVERYTHING STOPS! Even the airport shuts down.