A Weekend Outing

Friday Night

Calonarang

Late Friday night at 10:30 pm, we drove to a pura dalem (temple of the dead) in a nearby village to witness a Calonarang ritual. After mistakenly landing at what seemed to be a carnival, then finding a Calonarang, but at the wrong temple, we  arrived and settled in to watch. It was a little hard to follow, but it deals with white and black magic, and honoring the balance between good and evil. We got home around 2:30 am.  To the pictures!

Somewhere after an young woman sings and an old man sings, these 3 clowns come out. I didn't understand the jokes, but the young men around me laughed. Their faces are painted in a sculptural way, making me wonder if sometimes these are masked characters.
Somewhere after an young woman sings and an old man sings, these 3 clowns come out. I didn’t understand the jokes, but the young men around me laughed. Their faces are painted in a sculptural way, making me wonder if sometimes these are masked characters.
Celuluk, a follower of Rangda, is sort of a funny witch. She taunts the clowns.
Celuluk, a follower of Rangda, is sort of a funny witch. She taunts the clowns.
Rangda, the head witch and . Later in the show, a character tries to stab her, but fails.  The end of the ritual involved a dance of Rangda and a human body on the ground which might be dead or alive. It is paraded around a few blocks and then brought to the cemetery, where he revives.
Rangda, the head witch. Later in the show, a character tries to stab her, but fails. The end of the ritual involved a dance of Rangda and a human body on the ground which might be dead or alive. It is paraded around a few blocks and then brought to the cemetery, where he revives.

Saturday

Turtha Empul

The next morning, five of us went to a water temple in Tempaskiring. It was a really awesome place.

My favorite statue at the water temple.
My favorite statue at the water temple.
The spring burbles
The spring burbles
Ariel gets excited about rules.
Ariel gets excited about rules.

A spring billows up through the sand in a rectangular pool populated by some plants, a few minnows and an eel.

Not far away are a couple of pools featuring many spouts from the spring, each with it’s own spiritual function in a purification ritual. The first ten are for cleansing the undesirable aspects of character, the next two for death and cremation rituals (most necessarily skip these), then one for cleansing bad dreams, one for supplying wisdom,  one for erasing unkept promises, one for bad memories, and the final seven for cleansing the seven chakras of the body. It’s a special experience.

The first sequence of purification. Offerings are placed at the spout as a sign of good faith and pure intention in entering into the purification ritual.
Offerings are placed at the spout as a sign of good faith and pure intention in entering into the purification ritual.

Coffee Plantation

Afterwards, a trip to a coffee plantation last weekend was also pretty amazing.  We were lead through a path containing a couple kinds of coffee plants, vanilla vines, cinnamon and clove trees (the leaves smell too!!), ginger flowers, cocoa pods, lemongrass, citronella, and snakefruit.

A Cinnamon tree. From my vantage point, the only way to see the difference between it and clove was the bit of red at then end of the clove leaf.
A Cinnamon tree. From my vantage point, the only way to see the difference between it and clove was the bit of red at then end of the clove leaf.

We reached a small hut where another fellow was slow roasting (2 hours) a small batch of coffee next to another small cage where the luwak (civet) was kept.

Cocoa pods!
Cocoa pods!

For those unfamiliar, this small weasel-like mammal has a taste for ripe coffee cherries–but it can’t actually fully digest the bean. A delicacy (and purported aphrodisiac) is the coffee made from the beans collected from the poo of the luwak. At our subsequent coffee tasting, some elected to pay 50,000 rupiah (about $4) to try the luwak coffee. I elected to to stick with the other complimentary and poo-free varieties. Call me unadventurous if you will, but there was nothing but a tepid response among those who dared.

This guy roasts coffee over a very low fire for two hours – the flames aren't directly under the pan, but offset. In the foreground are Bali kopi and cocoa.
This guy roasts coffee over a very low fire for two hours – the flames aren’t directly under the pan, but offset. In the foreground are Bali kopi and cocoa.
From R to L: Bali kopi, Ginseng coffee, Ginger coffee, Vanilla coffee, Coconut coffee, Rosella tea, Ginger tea, Lemon tea, Bali herbal tea and Pure chocolate.  Ginger won the day for me.
From R to L: Bali kopi, Ginseng coffee, Ginger coffee, Vanilla coffee, Coconut coffee, Rosella tea, Ginger tea, Lemon tea, Bali herbal tea and Pure chocolate. Ginger won the day for me.

Sunday

The Wonders of Klungkung

I began the last day of our only full weekend  looking at the murals at Kertha Gosa (the Hall of Justice) at the Klungkung Palace. These grounds were largely destroyed in conflicts with the Dutch in the early 20th century.   The grounds were renovated in the 1960s.

Murals depicting a story from the Mahabharata in which Bhima rescues his parents from torment in the afterlife. The painting style is very similar to the style of shadow puppetry.
Murals depicting a story from the Mahabharata in which Bhima rescues his parents from torment in the afterlife. The painting style is very similar to the style of shadow puppetry.
Lots of heads!
Lots of heads!

In addition to the morally instructive depictions, there are also series of panels telling the Balinese story that parallels A Thousand and One Nights as well as instructions for marriage… or at least our guide told us. We weren’t sure how much he was making up and how much was accurate. We also visited the museum nearby.

IMG_0914-kerthagosa
More of the Palace Grounds
Roundabout: Klungkung
Roundabout: Klungkung
An array of colors in the woven fabrics available at the market in Klungkung.
An array of colors in the woven fabrics available at the market in Klungkung.

Pasir Putih

It is a small trek to get to this white sand beach, but the reward is worth it! The water was an amazing blue blue blue and it was so warm and buoyant. I even went snorkeling for the first time!

These feet didn't know it, but they would be getting a massage before the day was over
These feet didn’t know it, but they would be getting a massage before the day was over.

As someone who grew up in a landlocked place, I’ve always found the prospect of purposely immersing yourself a location where simply anything can eat, sting, or drown you to be mortifying. But after a few mistaken gulps of salt water, it wasn’t too bad. Seeing a school (I almost typed “herd.” See also: Midwestern) of medium-sized black fish swim through the coral was fantastic. I actually look forward to the chance to do it again!

Goa Lawah

The day rounded out with a dusk visit to Goa Lawah, the Bat Cave Temple. As we waited for the evening exodus of the bats, we watched the evening offerings being made and chatted with some Hungarian ex-pats who were showing the sights to visiting relatives.

At the entrance to the temple, all of which was carved from volcanic rock.
Being an idiot at the entrance to the temple, all of which was carved from volcanic rock.

When the bats started leaving, it was a real sight—not quite like a horror movie, but a pretty dense cloud of flying mammal. I wasn’t sure how long to stay, but the bats let me know with an offering of their own placed on my head. As I was in full temple gear, I was mostly relieved it didn’t get on my udeng—and really grateful for the packages of baby wipes my boyfriend had packed for me.

Looking out the temple doors to the sea at dusk.
Looking out the temple doors to the sea at dusk.

 

racc_orange_horizThis trip was made possible in part by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

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