Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bali HI Jinks on Jalan Raja Ubud

Bali Hi Everyone, Welcome To Blog 2

I said I would cover the big funeral in Ubud in this blog, and I've been die-ing to tell you.

This was indeed a very impressive affair, the buildup to it no doubt taking weeks. I've found out that the Balinese calendar for these sort of events has to happen on certain days for spiritual reasons. Their calendar is influenced by both the sun and moon, their weeks are made up of 3,5,7 days which all run at the same time and even funerals have to wait for the correct day and time (some weeks have the same name for each day, go figure?).
This Royal funeral structure, 25 metres high, must have weighed quite a lot. It even had the casket at the very top with a live jockey directing the proceedings, with a wireless microphone. 
On the morning of the day I could hear PA announcements through the night (2 a.m.). Early morning rain clearied up on cue for the tourist digital cameras and iPhone onslaught later.

As usual the drummers pretty well set the scene and drove the energy of the proceedings.
I loved the rhythm of their "In Pause Mode" I recorded this hoping to attach it to this blog, but so far can't manage it.

The lady on the left, dressed in Bali womanly finery, low/high heels. The man in the middle in jandals, ceremonial sarong, black leather bomber jacket. The man on the right in standard military style clothing, black polished shoes. With this variety of dress I feel right at home.

They built it this way, then had to lift it and rotate it 90 degrees to load the royal corpse
which was quite a theatrical moment.

I was told it took 10 villagers with teams of people to carry the structure by manpower the 1km to its final stop, where it was lowered to a safer level and the whole structure burned.
Here is a short video on YouTube

I walk past this every day, ain't life grand.
Nice ice. Thanks! Planted by hand.

A sight for sore eyes. breakfast, prepared for cycling and going to the Sukawati Market. 
(or maybe it's the socks that made my eyes sore).

Remembering my last overseas cycling experience, I think, best get a helmet.  Three cycle hire shops later, this is not a common request in Bali, so I ignore my common sense (I do this all the time, it's my default setting). After setting the seat height on maximum off I head. Within 30 seconds of cycling, and a sharp swerve to the left, my rear bike tyre felt the edge of a passing car's tyre, so the Bali Cycling Gods are still looking after me.

From Ubud it's all downhill, gently to the Sukawati market, famous for its local produce on one side of the road. The other side of the road is equally famous as a tourist trap where you are pursued rather actively to buy everything from bone carvings, carved boxes, sarongs, folding eye glasses etc, and one needs to be prepared to haggle down the price, to what you think is an acceptable level. In my experience, if you get to that level, then the real price is about half that.

As this is the Funeral blog, here is another kind of die-ing
These are so cute, they'd go down a bomb in Japan
(not literally, I mean, or maybe they would?)

I was hassled by the tattoo guys on the way into buy some clothes after taking some photos of a young lad getting a henna tattoo on his upper arm, very much like sailors and Popeye, with the heart, (Wayan loves Nyoman, or similar) prominent.  Buying clothes was fun, as was the process of coming to the price. These locals are very sharp minded, with all the tools and tricks to keep you interested. Finally I got what I wanted, a matching top and trousers in orange, paying the huge sum of $6NZ (which was probably 3 times too much at least).
So how come I got this tattoo? The Olympics were in full swing and the tattoo reminded me of NZ. These are henna, painted on, and last 3 weeks. I don't really like to see tattoos on other people, unless it is their tradition (like our Maori culture) and wanted to check out how other people view me with a tattoo.

While I  sat in the shade in front of the Police booth, I googled up an image on my iPhone for Ketut to add to his Balinese style tattoo with apologies to Air New Zealand for the use of the Koru.

I was now a stationary object for all the sellers. One said they would do my other arm, while Ketut was doing his thing...."I give you good Prrrriiiccce" The policemen in the booth behind were encouraging me!
Here was the Balinese audience assembled watching this old pakeha getting a Tattoo.

90 minutes later this was the result, with my Haka attempt. I don't think any Kiwis were watching.

Back on the bike I stopped to watch carvers working on door panels. All day like this would be a very uncomfortable position for me, not so the Balinese. Note the excellent safety footwear, the same as all the building sites in Bali.

This is the small path to my rental in the ricefields Everything travels along this route, usually by wheelbarrow or carried on the head.  I've seen many opportunities for photographs, but been either too shy or too slow to capture them. Here is a 9ft wide tree going down a 6 foot pathway, it became a 7ft wide tree by the end of its journey.

This is one of the wheelbarrow ladies. I've taken to giving them the odd bit of help or shovelling sand into their barrow etc and intend to spend some time walking in their shoes for a while.
I'm told their daily wage is 35,000RPS ($5NZ)

A little sign I made to remind me as I practice.... 
Now there's a motto for everything.

Spotted this very long vegetable, it's called "Pare Belut" at less than 50cents NZ, will keep me going in stir fries for a week.

My Blessings soprano sax has been out of commission due to a screw vibrating out and right out of the case while I traveled the streets of Ubud. I tried local places, with no luck. Even Tom the German, who was going to Bangkok for a brief visit, also drew a blank. So a couple of emails to NZ and Danny came up with the answer - make one out of wood.
Luckily I had a little sanding board, to work on my reeds, which came in very handy.

It's working a treat, it did sort of self tap itself off the existing hole's thread.
 I've also added the extra security of a rubber band.

 So come on New Zealand...go for Gold!

See you at at Blog 3

Ps The locals like my new tattoo. The foreigners, have disgust or amazement on their face and look the other way. My own arm for the first day felt and looked like somebody else's.
It's wearing off a bit now.
It would be a big ask to live with this for life.
No way!
I also have no immediate plans to participate or star in any funerals in the near future.


Phil said...

You may have a choice of a new profile photo Jim!
Good blog. NZ had another gold in canoe 200m sprint. Can you get me another tai dye hat like the previous one. Thanks bro.

Jimu said...

G'day Bro,
I haven't seen any hats like yours, but will see what I can do!
Got plenty of sun in NZ have ya?