Well, we are winding down our Bali experience. It has been interesting, to say the least.
We took a guided tour “inside Bali” to see how the real (read poor) Balinese live. It was fascinating to see the local villages, family temples, ways of work. Bali is beautiful inland—much nicer than the crowded, noisy tourist areas, filled with hotels, small shops, bars and restaurants. We learned about local culture, the pervasiveness of religion—specifically Hindu religion—and Bali traditions.
Our guide was named Putu, which is the name given to all first born children, male or female, in Bali. There are 5 names in total and a family simply uses the next name on the list. If 6 children, 2 Putus; possibly 200, 000 Putus on the island. It could drive teachers mad. There must be some way of distinguishing them, like Putu from the bridge or Big Putu and Small Putu, but we don’t know for sure. When we got home, Charles asked us who our guide was and when we told him, he nodded knowingly. Really?
Putu told us that when you are not happy with someone or something, you draw out the syllable, so when his dad was upset with him, he would say, “Putuuuuuuuu.” We said, “Ubuuuuud.” Putu also told us about him and his brothers as kids. Dads are the disciplinarians and it got so the the boys could hear their dad’s motorbike a half hour out, hence the title of this blog. When they heard it, they all scurried to take care of the chores they should have done during the day.
Rice terraces were one of the destinations on our journey. These ones were simply along the way.
Ah, now here are rice terraces. These are protected by Unesco and are a world heritage site. No permanent structures may be added and the farmers must continue to use traditional methods of farming. That means no machinery larger than a hand operated roto-tiller.
Terraces – Rice
I want to say first that our hosts, Laurence and Charles are very gracious people. They can’t do enough for you, but they do hold some rather right wing views. For example he told us on day 1 that he liked Reagan, but after that the country went to hell, staring with Clinton (BTW – Happy 50th Birthday this week to Monica). Anyway last night we had a drink with them and they were telling us how lazy the Balinese people are. They move slowly and only do enough to get by. They have no get up and go. They sell off their rice terraces to Westerners who then build villas and sell them to other Westerners. “Why can’t they take the money and build the villas themselves?” they asked. We stopped at a stone quarry on our tour yesterday (#2) and Laurence’s contention is that this person is only doing this for the tourists. She also maintained that they are lazy because once they plant the rice, they just wait for it to grow and don’t do anything until harvest time. (What? – isn’t that what all farmers do? Well, yes, that and tend to the machinery for harvest, mend barriers, rebuild roofs on the barn and out buildings, look after the animals, study the price of grain and pray a lot that their crop won’t be wiped out by disease, hail or drought, or, in the case of Balinese, destroyed by the rat population. Periodically, as they wait for the rice to grow, they must attend organized rat kills and hunt the rodents, then kill them by hand. They atone for the death of the rats by holding a brief religious ceremony.) There were more examples, but I’m sure you get the picture. And, speaking of picture, here are 7 photos of traditional Balinese people – being lazy.
#1 We stopped here for coffee on our way to the rice terraces. The hosts were supremely gracious, showing us first the “Happy Room” and then serving us hot coffee and tea and a selection of home-made baking.
Lunch in the jungle