Preparation for Nyepi Day

Trip Start Mar 13, 2009
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

After going on my run in the morning, I vowed to myself that I would not eat chicken while here in Bali. At least no chicken that wasn't from a renowned restaurant that is. I watched the local Balinese men sitting by the stream of sewage water that parallels the street, plucking out the feathers and cleaning their dead chickens and ducks right there in the filth. No one could even consider this water a stream, for a stream brings into mind a sense of purity. No, this water contained all drippings of waste from all the local houses and here were these men cleaning out their meat. I had seen people cleaning pigs on the middle of the street in the dirt and now this. I assume of course that these are just the meats they are cleaning for their families, but no one can be absolutely positive of the hygienic processes here with any food you come in contact with. No, I think I will stick to other things, well-cooked things also.

The children came early, around 7:15am. The other girls had still been asleep and this was much too early for them in the morning, so I took over the class today. We just looked at pictures on my computer and I taught them various words in order to describe each picture. It was easy, fun, and productive. Finally they learned the concepts of inside and outside, a huge thing for these children to grasp that we had been struggling to get them to understand.

Since they were gone by 9am, we decided to make a beach day, and for the first time, we didn't get lost on the way! What a feeling it is to actually get to the beach in 25 minutes! The sun beat down on me while I finished one of my books. The waves crashed over my head as I took a dip in the sea. And the experimentation of trying new foods at the beach restaurant filled my empty stomach.

We headed home early to beat all the traffic, for the city was a mess today, everyone getting ready in anticipation for the celebrations tonight and Nyepi day tomorrow. We had to stop by the supermarket to pick up any last items we need for tomorrow since everything would be closed. When I say everything, it really means nearly everything. Even the airport would be shut down. No one is allowed to go out on the streets, as security guards would be taking post. The only places that would be open would be the tourist resort restaurants and the hospital. Nothing else. Everyone was required to stay inside and translating nyepi- day of silence- everyone had to be silent. While on the beach, I read a little bit about this tradition from the Hindu religion. Nyepi day was the first day of their new year. The night before, the town would be in celebration, sacrificing animals and making offerings to the Gods to rid all the bad spirits from the past year away. And thus on Nyepi day from sunrise to the sunrise the following day, everyone had to be silent in order to not let all the bad spirits back in.

After stocking up on food and necessities like toilet paper, we went home, still fearful that we may have forgotten something. We tried to stay up late in the hope to sleep in, considering we had the whole next day to fill with nothing. There were celebrations going on in the street, with the parades and barong marching through, but after seeing at least five of these parades in the past week, they were losing their foreign eccentricity. At first, one is in awe of the spectacle. But now, after witnesses it and taking part in it many times, the flame of novel excitement died out, for it held no special meaning to our beliefs.

Best of the Day: Watching the city in a frenzy of excitement with celebration and preparation for Nyepi Day, the New Year.
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