Apr 8, 2012

Ubud to Seminyak, day 7

The first thing you learn about Bali is that offerings are everywhere. Tourists or no tourists makes little difference to the Balinese, they will put their daily offerings wherever they find space. Not just at temples but in front of their homes, their shops, your hotel room, at restaurants and petrol stations and markets, at the end of a bridge or by the side of the road, even on the dash of their car. Needless to say, offerings are constantly getting stepped on, driven over, pecked at by chickens and dogs or stolen by monkeys. Never mind, it's the act of offering that counts to the Balinese, and they'll be making another one soon enough anyways (apparently most Balinese make an offering once a day, although many do it twice a day, and more on special ceremonial days).

The base of your typical daily offering can be purchased at the market and consist of a small square or flower shape made from what I assume are banana or palm leaves, covered in flowers. The whole thing just about fits in the palm of your hand (ceremonial offerings, like when my hotel got purified, are much bigger and more elaborate). Then the offeror adds a personal touch, like a few grains of rice or a mentos candy (I'm not kidding). Maybe a fruit and a small glass of water will be squeezed in there. Then in goes the burning incense and, voila! You've got yourself a Balinese offering.

Gunung Kawi - 11th century
Tirta Empul tempul - cleansing ceremony

The first thing I noticed about the villa in Seminyak where I will be staying this week (well, after ooh-ing at how pretty it is) is that there are no offerings anywhere. I almost feel like I'm not in Bali anymore. In fact, driving through Seminyak it really does seem like I've entered a different world. Everything is so modern and Western here, such a shock coming from anywhere else on the island. This is Bali Miami beach style. But hey, I've just had the best massage of my life and am about to begin one week of yoga and surfing bliss with eight other women, so you won't hear any complaining from me!
Surf Haven villa

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