Sharper than a Home Dog

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right - not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right – not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

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.

#1

Rice Terraces not yet harvested.

White rice Terraces not yet harvested.

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.

Rice Terraces #2

Pretty amazing.

#3

The terraces seem to go on and on.

The terraces  go on and on.  They are amazing and beautiful but sadly, they burn off the grassy stalks after harvest, so the air was smokey and hazy.

#4

The terraces - up close and personal.

The terraces – up close and personal.

This was in a totally different are. It was a very narrow valley of maybe three hundred yards across. Clearly they are using everything they can to make a living.

This was in a totally different are. It was a very narrow valley of maybe three hundred yards across. Clearly they are using everything they can to make a living.

Terraces – Rice

This is what it is all about.

This is what it is all about.  This example is red rice which is taller than white rice.  Both are grown on Bali.

Lazy Balinese

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

Turning over the fields - by hand - up to your knees in mud. Now that is the sign of a lazy man, don't you think?

Turning over the fields – by hand – up to your knees in mud. Now that is the sign of a lazy man, don’t you think?

#2

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right - not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

This 52 year-old woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right – not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

#3

This is backbreaking work - you plant by hand, standing in water and mud, begging for arthritis to take over and then bend over to harvest by hand as well. At least when the harvest comes, the water is drained and the ground is hard and dry. She must be lazy, don't you think?

This is backbreaking work – you plant by hand, standing in water and mud, begging for arthritis to take over and then bend over to harvest by hand as well. At least when the harvest comes, the water is drained and the ground is hard and dry. She must be lazy, don’t you think?

#4

This bag of grass is being carried from somewhere to the woman's house to feed her cow for the day. Lazy?

This bag of grass is being carried from somewhere to the woman’s house to feed her cow for the day. Lazy?

#5

Pushing this rototiller through all this mud is no easy - or clean - task. I wouldn't call him lazy.

Pushing this rototiller through all this mud is no easy – or clean – task. I wouldn’t call him lazy.

#6

Both the men and women are working to prepare the temple for some kind of ceremony the next day.

Both the men and women are working to prepare the temple for some kind of ceremony the next day.  It is true that the Hindu Balinese have a religious ceremony at least every two weeks, during which they do not work.  Perhaps a little much, but think how hard the work is.  Lots of other people wish they could have as many non-working days.  In fact, we have met people from Java and other islands in Indonesia who have all said they came to Bali to live a quieter life-style and take advantage of their many holidays.  So perhaps if you try to apply Western culture,  it’s not a perfect match.  But, this is Bali!

#7

This is our pool. It is 19 feet x 9.5 feet x 5 feet. It is half the size of the one in the main house. This one was dug by hand in 7 days. Just another example of "lazy", I guess.

This is our pool. It is 19 feet x 9.5 feet x 5 feet. It is half the size of the one in the main house. In just 7 days, this one (like the other one) was dug by hand (Sorry – don’t know how long the big one took to dig). Just another example of “lazy”, I guess.

#8

Okay, I finally found some lazy Balinese, just sitting by the side of the road, chatting. Good thing no one ever checks out the golf course patio for people sitting and doing nothing!

Okay, I finally found some lazy Balinese, just sitting by the side of the road, chatting. Good thing no one ever checks out the golf course patio for people sitting and doing nothing!

House

#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.

Typical Balinese house - photo 1. The couple sitting there are sitting under the rice granary, where they store the rice after it is harvested. On the left hand side of the photo is their bed.

Typical Balinese house – photo 1. The couple sitting there are sitting under the rice granary, where they store the rice after it is harvested. On the left hand side of the photo is their bed.  Our hosts enjoy a break in the shade.

#2

Typical Balinese house - photo 2 - the kitchen where they do their cooking.

Typical Balinese house – photo 2 – the kitchen where they do their cooking.

#3

Typical Balinese country house - photo 3. This first two doors go into the kitchen and storeroom. The third to the happy room.

Typical Balinese country house – photo 3. This first two doors go into the kitchen and storeroom. The third to the happy room.

Farming

Comic Relief

#1

Who is this man and why is he laughing?

Who is this man and why is he laughing?

#2

Just turn the tiller, hold on...

Just turn the tiller, hold on…

#3

...and walk 75 -100 yards, turn around and do it some more. Easy, right?

…and walk 75 -100 yards, turn around and do it some more. Easy, right?

#4

Geoff and his new pal, after a hard day of rice farming. The shorts need a wash, after about 3 minutes of roto-tilling.

Geoff and his new pal, after a hard day of rice farming. The shorts need a wash, after about 3 minutes of roto-tilling.

Hot Spring

The brown and green colouring in the rocks are from the volcanic minerals which create the hot spring. There were also a couple of pools one could go in - if one was dressed appropriately.

The brown and green colouring in the rocks are from the volcanic minerals which create the hot spring. There were also a couple of pools one could go in – if one was dressed appropriately.

Mangy Dog

To see this photo elsewhere, look in the dictionary under "mangy".

To see this photo elsewhere, look in the dictionary under “mangy”.

Lunch in the jungle

Lunch in the jungle. The posts holding the patio up are bamboo - check out the size of those suckers.

Lunch in the jungle. The posts holding the patio up are bamboo – check out the size of those suckers.

Terry and Geoff overlooking the rice terraces. The next time you see them will likely be in person!

Terry and Geoff overlooking the rice terraces. The next time you see them will likely be in person!

2 thoughts on “Sharper than a Home Dog

  1. Bruce

    What a great experience. Too bad we couldn’t be with you. Home again means being a home owner again. So many little things have gone wrong here. I want to go back to China.

    Reply

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