Nyepi day. I had no idea what I had to expect.
After 4 insane days on the Gili IslandsThe Gili islands were CRAAAZY! But I can’t write about that haha. What happens on the Gilis stays on the Gilis.. I was on my way back to Bali. When I turned around I saw the white beach, we had hung out the day before. The water was light blue. Slightly pink clouds were floating in a sky that glowed in an orange light. Everything looked so peaceful.
NOT my boat!! This piece of shit was waving back and forth. I was SO seasick! When we got on the boat I thought it might be a good idea to go up and lie on the roof. Nope … not a good idea! This is what happened: A speedboat with a top deck, a ruthless sun that made us feel like ants under a magnifying glass and a captain who was in a hurry. Holy shit! Even for a speedboat that was fast! I guess this Bastard actually enjoyed jumping (!!) over those waves. Which is why I had absolutely no chance to leave that top deck without falling into the water.
I had two options: Get a terrible sunburn or fall off the boat.
I went with the first one and tried to hold on to the railing without throwing up, which kind of partly worked out. By the time we got off the boat I looked like a panda. The sunglasses had created two big round white circles around my eyes whereas the rest of my face was covered in a sunburned reddish, hahaha.
back on the mainland my stomach felt terrible, but I was looking forward to Ubud again. I had two days left, before I would head back to Germany. Stoked from the Gilis I wanted to go out and celebrate my last day, but I had forgotten that Nyepi Day was coming up. No lights, no music, no talking, no work and no party. I remembered the countless monsters people on Bali had been crafting the weeks before and was looking forward to see them in action.
I went back to my old place to sleep there for another two night. As I wasn’t working there anymore, my provisory bed was a mattress that was inhabited by cockroaches. “Hello again! I have not missed you!”. Luckily they seemed to be more scared of me than the other way round and left my awesome sleeping place.
I woke up the next morning and looked into the eyes of three mosquitos that were outside my net. They were STARING at me.
I moved from my bed towards the shower, caught up with the mosquitos, and then went back to the hammock to do nothing. I had to recover from the parties on Gili Trawangan and decided it is just fine to take a morning nap again. Around 3 hours and one hair raising coffee later we walked to a temple on Monkeyforest Road. Hundreds of people had already gathered on the football field there to celebrate the day before Nyepi day. We admired the countless statues and Ogoh-Ogohs on the barren field around the temple and listened to Balinese music and some Indonesian announcements that came through the speakers way too loud. The statues stood on some scaffold made of Bamboo, which was carried by thirty men. It had already gotten dark and we were surrounded by monsters and masses of people.
The ceremony before Nyepi started with a parade of small Balinese girls that carried torches. Right behind them was an Ogoh- Ogoh whose red eyes glowed in the dark. The people are screaming. I slowly started to wake up! The Ogoh- Ogoh turned around in circles and “ran” across the football field. Loud whistles mixed with applause, rockets and aggressive drums mixed with fast Balinese music. Awesome! I loved it!
There were around 25 monsters marching along the streets. I pushed my way through the crowd. Two Ogoh-Ogohs were fighting with each other. They were moved back and forth uncontrollably and started to run in circles. The crowd was screaming. You couldn’t tell which direction was the best to run to. “Hati Hati” was screamed through the speakers, whilst the few security guards tried to prevent the fighting Ogoh-Ogohs to run into the crowd. People fell on the floor and I lost one shoe. Incredible! I loved it!
Now that the ghosts had been scared off the island, Bali fell into silence the following day. On Nyepi Day all the doors were locked, the light was switched off and no cars, no motorbikes were to be seen on the streets. Bali was hiding from the ghost that might return to check if there were still people on the island. This so-called “Silent Day” marked the Balinese New year. Whereas my time on this island came to an end.
On my last evening we sat on the floor in silence. Dhemy and Nyoman cooked us some food while we were surrounded by candles. Nyepi mood. We laughed a lot and I already started to miss my new-found travel friends. Moving from one home to another seemed to get normal. As I kid I grew up in one house and this house is still exactly where it had always been. Though whilst traveling I felt home at places so quickly I thought I would probably feel homesick back in Germany, too. It’s always the same, but it’s good, I thought. Home is where your heart is and I guess whilst traveling my heart seems to be everywhere.