Bali Hi: Part 2- Temples Everywhere

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At the base of what looked like a blue run on the Tetons but what is the second highest mountain in Bali there sits a cluster of temples. It is a tourist attraction and I know that because of the passenger vans that released a bevy of snow white confused german people into the forrest.  Bali seems to know when I am just about to break from the soupy heat. It sent us a booming deluge that pushed everyone under awnings. But it felt so good..it seemed like a purification. God knows I could use one of those…We didn’t even make it past the first set of alters before a solid three inches of water covered everything. You shouldn’t read in to every thing that happens, most of it just happens and that’s it, that’s all. Yet in this merciless rain I saw how everything is a temple, even a semi dry spot by a garbage can in a courtyard littered with incense sticks and rice. In that rain I could feel the gods guiding me to some strange truth.

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In western faith the faces of God and the holies around him are always placid and peaceful. Here they are mischievous, revengeful, indifferent.  They need an offering every single day. Much like life.  Whether you want to be reverent or not, there is little room to avoid the temples and the gods that guard them. Temples and metaphors, forever and ever.

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When I took off on this trip I made a promise to myself that I would put myself in the face of fear. All of the little things that stop me from experiencing life, I want to confront and squash them. Turns out that scootering is one of those fears. All I can imagine is road rash and head ons. Three days of scootering and I am a fucking fiend! Don’t be surprised if you see me on a Scoopy rip tearing through Jackson Hole. Anyhow I, as per usual, digress. On an evening scooter with thunder clouds putting a rush on things we dipped in the Echo Beach parking lot to see the end of a cremation ceremony. It’s not morbid as all of that, this was the part where they call the soul back home with music. And then the rain came. Hard and sudden. Following the procession of cars and scooters, music playing the entire time…cymbals and flutes, drums, we laughed and smiled. And they laughed and smiled with us, maybe at us, but either way, moral was high. I do believe that we called that soul all the way home.

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Every day I feel another layer peeled away, on me and on this place. There is so much here. And the food…jesus christ the food. More on that next time.

*All Images are property of Mustang Josi.  That’s me. 
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Bali High: Part 1

An island of incense and quiet people. A loud city with quiet people. There is so much heat and wet, I am sweaty sunburnt and mosquito bite rich. We went to the beach today for some tourist time and I see that burning man cool is king here still. If not cool then sunburnt sweaty and fanny pack rich. There is little in between.

In tropical heat you cannot move fast unless you are on a motor bike and there is wind in your hair. The moment you slow down every thing closes in and you must stay in a second gear kind of speed and accept the blanket of warmth that adds pounds to your step. But there is so much beauty when you slow down. The kind that they try to emulate for the tourists in places that don’t have such a natural love of color and life. The thickly aromated flowers that creep up through ruins and never finished surf shacks. Vegetation that will not be stopped by any blade, only slowed.  Colors softened by rain and sun.  It is perfect. I love the kind of place where a dirt road empties out into a post card beach and every one is moving with leisure.

The Hindu religion permeates everything on this island. Offerings of food, incense and flower petals sit on/in just about every stoop and cranny. I have always loved belief systems that gravitate around Gods that act on feelings, Gods that can be truly angered. And by that token, truly appeased. When we arrived after many hours of travel and tumult, we found the alter that was is the far corner of the property and knelt at it.  This gorgeous place and the kind people in it needed to be recognized.  And so in our own way we gave an offering of our thank yous and promises to enjoy every moment that we have on this tranquil and exciting island.

Like everywhere I go I fall in love with everything. I imagine myself abandoning my life and giving in to this one. I could do that too, I could live here and be completely happy.

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Stay tuned for more on this trip. Pictures in the next entry I promise.