Friday, 16 October 2009
The most holy festival on the Balinese calendar was celebrated this week with ceremonies across the island to welcome the Hindu gods and ancestors to Earth. In Hindu belief, Galungan opens a 10-day celebration of the triumph of good over evil. It is a time when many Balinese return to their ancestral homes to be with family and friends and to prepare offerings and food for their ancestors.
The men prepare towering bamboo poles, decorated with intricate designs made from young coconut leaves, for placement at the front of the houses so that people travelling on the roads through villages move under canopies of the tall, festival poles. Major temples throughout Bali are crowded as Hindus gather to pray, make gifts to the gods and enjoy performances of the traditional barong dance. After 10 days, when the gods and ancestors return from Earth to heaven, the most important day of the festival “Kuningan” is celebrated by people quietly giving thanks for peace, safety and wellbeing. Galungan occurs twice during the 13-month Balinese calendar.
It was fascinating for me to pass through the many villages on the way to the surf spots. So many decorated poles around and all very artfully and with care prepared. The poles also come with a small altar for the offerings to be placed there several times a day. I have also been able to make some nice pictures of the street scenes. By driving through the streets I’ve also spotted traditional Balinese figures – A dragon and a demon accompanied by a traditional band. They were walking around the neighborhoods and entertaining mostly the kids who had great interest and sometimes fear of these figures.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
I am now the forth week in Bali and there is still a lot to do all the time. Last week I have finished my second week surf guiding and it is a lot of fun. Pretty exhausting too! After the morning session with the group I often go a second time at the Afternoon with my friends and almost a whole day is gone. On Friday I’ve had a very impressive experience. I got under a giant wave and got pushed to the rocky ground where I have stayed a few seconds after the wave passed by. My surfboard was just showing out buy the tip and winked friendly to the beach. Today I have decided to take a break to recover from the busy Friday night and some minor injuries.
Also last week we had to move out of our nice bungalow at the Double Palm and move to the surf camp. This was necessary because our bungalow was booked for one week by other guests. After two days we got another bungalow and we moved back in to the Double Palm. Now our first bungalow is free again and we will move back today.
Bali has the many festivals and celebrations all the time. I have attended already a Hindu celebration, took part of a memorial and been at a punk concert. There are also often surf contests and the famous Friday night life. It always takes a full day to recover from that. Next week there will be a celebration over multiple days where villages will be beautiful decorated. I will try to take a few pictures of that. Also surf guiding will continue and we will get bigger waves. That will be great if they will not be to high and fast for me.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Today I've just heard that there was a big earthquake on Sumatra. Over 1000 people have died in the earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It's far away from here but it seems that the "ring of fire" is getting more active now. There have been several earthquakes in the region and one bigger 6.4 earthquake happened two weeks ago. People begin to think again what to do in a case of a Tsunami.
This week I have started surf guiding. There are five other surfers, head-coach, assistant and a driver (cameraman). Every day we have two surf sessions at different spots depending on the conditions (waves, swell...). We usually start between six and seven, sometimes even five o'clock in the morning. Surfing is a really physical demanding sport and it takes time for me to get used to it again. Today I have even managed to sneak into a mini barrel.
The previous days I have seen many sunsets because Susi had her final days here and it was cool to sit together and have a Bintang (local beer). We also had many delicious dinners in Kuta. From local food to Indian and Japanese cuisine. During the day and the morning I eat a lot nasi goreng (mixed fried rice). Tomorrow is already Friday and last week we had a big cocktail night at the Balicamp. Maybe we have the same intentions tomorrow. As I know the mates that stay with me at the same bungalow I have few doubts that they want to party.
I didn't take much photos yet. The big camera is still in the closet and I will start taking photos with it more to the end of the stay.