BALI. The Island Of Gods. Sometimes I wonder if these gods look down on their people with a huge grin on their faces.
I guess they do and here is why:
#1 CHICKS IN THE COLOUR OF YOUR CHOICE
Pink, Blue, Green, Purple, Rainbow? Who needs yellow baby chicken? I guess they got boring!
On Bali people dye the chicks in various colours.
Since they are kept in cages altogether you can see small round coloured furry balls hopping around in circles.
As funny as this seems to be, those chicken are actually not dyed after hatching, but whilst they`re still in the egg. Enjoy the picture, but don’t you dare buying one of those over there! (Photo Credits)
#2 FISH ARE SOLD ON SCOOTERS
You heard right! In Ubud I was walking on the streets, slowly trying to make my way to the laundry lady, when I heard a bell ringing behind me.
“Damn YES- Ice Cream” was my first thought, but less did I know that I was about to see a Fish Selling Scooter instead. Dangling down a wooden frame, tons of fish were looking out of their plastic bags wondering what the heck was happening to them.
Well, they were being sold on a scooter. Even if I was able to speak fish they would not have gotten it. Neither did I. After laughing at the weirdness I bought the most miserable looking one and set it free in our pond.
#3 LAUNDRY IS SEWED TOGETHER
Nope not providing you with a picture here, but it’s actually kind of hilarious! After saving the fish I was back on the road to finally drop my laundry. The laundry shop was located just around my house, had no walls and there were a lot of people hanging out on the streets. A Balinese woman with the biggest smile I had ever seen greeted me and took my bag. I was handed a small sheet of paper where I had to write down the amount of clothes I had with me. She took it, nodded at me with her huge smile, and then BAM threw all of my clothes (including a lot of underwear) directly on the floor in front of me. Kneeling in the middle of the pile she sorted out my stuff and underwear was flying around the room.
I wanted to die and decided it’s time to leave. When I came back later the day, I paid her around 2 Euros and got a neatly laminated package of perfectly ironed clothes back. With a huge smile I returned home and packed out my stuff. But wait, what had happened to my underwear?? It was all sewn together, hahaha. Tiny woollen strings in red and yellow connected all of my lingerie.
#4 MOST BALINESE PEOPLE CAN’T SWIM
They live on an island, are surrounded by water and cannot swim! Most of the Balinese people have never learned it. So this is what they do: As walking around in a tight bikini would probably make the gods angry, they leave on their shorts and shirts and walk into the water up until the point where they can still stand.
Balinese people spend hours on folding together some palm leaves to calm down the gods. Canang Sari, they are called in Bali. Ca meaning beautiful and nang purpose. They are recreated every day to thank the supreme God of Indonesian Hinduism for the peace given to the world. The philosophy behind those offerings is the self-sacrifice of taking time and effort to prepare them. When I got my scooter they placed one on top of it. Maybe it protected me but did not really cause peace on the road, haha.
They look beautiful as they are packed with flowers, shiny green leaves and rice. Some of them even come with a Snickers or a Mars bar. Especially ants happily support this choice and dance their way towards the melting chocolate. No Nirvana for you, my dear Balinese ants. Guess you’ll just be reborn as the same thing over and over again.
#6 ONCE A YEAR THE GHOSTS RETURN
Yeah, you heard right! So, watch out in the beginning of March, because you are not allowed to leave the house, work, travel, talk, eat, play loud music or switch on any light.
Airports are blocked, busses stand still. Bali hides from ghosts.
Nyepi Day (“Silence Day”) is celebrated once a year to practice self-reflection, sit in silence and meditate. Though the day before is CRAZY! And when I say crazy I mean huge (huge!) monsters with blinking red eyes on bamboo sticks pushing their way through a crowd of people. They are carried by 10-15 men who start to swirl them around at the end. Crowds of people watch the spectacle, some poor police men try to prevent the monsters from crashing into the crowd. I lost a flip-flop during that ceremony.
The biggest monster in the parade is called Ogoh-Ogoh! And oh yes he does look like an Ogoh-Ogoh. A Balinese Friend told me, those monsters were to scare the ghosts away. But they return on Nyepi Day to check if the island is still inhabited and this is where the locals hide in Silence.