Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only 27 days.

Dear sisters,

Last Thursday was the day puppies were offered to the demons. I mentioned this practice on the blog before.

All over Bali, puppies were killed and skinned. Sate sticks were made of puppy meat, to offer with the skin. During a ceremony, a pig was slaughtered by piercing a knife into its throat, collecting the blood that ran clear, and finally, the blood spilled at the traditional cockfight was also added to the mix: a mighty potion to appease the demons coming from the sea, at this halfway point of the Balinese calendar. It is a bad month.

In the evening the villagers walked in procession to the village borders, dressed in finery, carrying the symbols of their temples, in an attempt to keep the demons out for another year. I saw the processions, but got the gory bits from my main source, Nyoman, of course.

In the week that this was happening, I was practising yoga twice a day on a marble balcony, overlooking the green, green, as my yoga teacher from San Francisco felt inspired by the gentle nature of the Balinese.

It is my yoga time. I am cramming it in before we return. Two days of rest after a week’s retreat, before I dive into a five-day immersion in the South. Will I be able to do a handstand, before we go? I dream about flying up lightly, my legs straight and elegant, but it proves a deception once I awaken. My body is still a bulging sack of potatoes, unsuccessfully attempting to defy gravity.

We had an unexpected house-guest, who came for dinner and did not leave for two weeks. We met before, during a yoga retreat in Greece, and she turned up in Ubud, we ran into her, and so she came and provided all members of the family with stories to entertain. We expect to see her again.

Today, Sinterklaas came to Bali. It was a very hot day and the parents sweat a lot, as they waited for it to end. The children sang song after song in utter confusion and eventually lined up for a bag of sweets with a notebook. Kroketten and friet on presentation of the coupon. Rosie had been up before six, showering in our bathroom to get ready for the man. I find it hard to get into that Sint Nicholas feeling in the tropics.

And now? We count down. Less than four weeks to go, before we return to the European lowlands: a bit more than a month before we meet again, elastic baby and sock sister.

With love,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you this makes for excellent reading over breakfast...! Send my best to Nyoman and the others. I have been wondering about the arrival of Sinterklaas in Bali and am relieved to learn he not only made it but pays a visit there first before his big shebang over here. I have a trip on a boat lined up, with pancakes, I am vicariously going along with other people's children. I think I shall take my camera along to justify my presence! So looking forward to seeing you all at xmas. xxx S2