Monday, May 31, 2010

Bali Day 3: Food, Worship and Parades

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Yes, day 3 continues.

You will notice that there will be several entries for each day. I'll be honest, this trip seemed like it was longer than it was because we did so many things. Even though we did many things, there was never a feeling of being rushed. It was all relaxing. The theme of this vacation was tied to the Elizabeth Gilbert book: Eat, Pray, Love.

Food.
Of course there is food involved. For breakfast, I had a yummie banana pancake. There is a big difference between Bali and the United States in regards to portion size. When I say I had a pancake, I mean I had A pancake. Singular. One. Uno. No wonder we Americans (myself included) have issues with our weight. In the US, that order would have been a stack of banana pancakes.

I must say, that solo pancake, along with fresh fruit, two croissants with butter and a berry smoothie kept me going until we had our dinner at Amanusa in Nusa Dua. Amanusa has an Italian restaurant, so we had Italian for our first dinner together in Bali.

Amanusa was exquisite. Its a five star hotel and it just beautiful. The restaurant was small yet very elegant with dark wood paneling, tables and beveled glass windows that magically glittered in the candlelight on our table. We learned that alcohol is very expensive in Bali. The lady next to me had two glasses of wine that cost her the equivalent of $50 US dollars. Our tour leader told us that alcohol was expensive on the island because it has be be imported.

Prayer.

I'll be honest, this part of the trip theme made me nervous because, as a Christian, I can't worship in the Hindu temples. I did mention this to my tour leader, privately, and she was very understanding, even glad that I brought it up. This morning, we learned about praying in the temples. This was in preparation for our trip to the Besakih Temple in two days.

The Balinese are Hindu, which is different than the rest of Indonesia which is Muslim. According to our instructor, all are welcome to pray in the temple to God, it doesn't matter what god you worship. However, there is a very specific patter that is followed when doing the offering. The little offering baskets contain several flowers and some rice as well as an incense stick. They start by breathing in the incense to cleanse them. The first offering is empty hands. The next offering is a yellow follower which is then thrown away. Then they offer another flower, which is then tucked into the woman's hair or the mans head cover. The final offering is again, empty hands. After this the priest or priestess will come around and sprinkle holy water on everyone. The priest offers the worshipers rice, they eat a few grains and then place some grains in the middle of their foreheads.

As luck would have it, our arrival coincided with a 10 day long religious holiday, their Gods had descended to earth during those 10 days and at noon on the 10th day, they ascend back to heaven. Entire villages get together and parade through the village to the local temple to give their offering.

In order to enter the temple, we each needed to wear a sarong (even the men). The women have to wear a white blouse tied with a sash. The men have to wear a white shirt and a head cover.

We got to witness several villages worshiping in the streets.

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1 comment:

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