TRIP to BALI - Sep Oct 2007

The entrance to the "The White House" which the Balinese translate to "Clean House"



The Balinese pay great attention to nature, plants, flowers, trees, fish, flowing water, fountains, etc. They sweep the grass everyday to keep everything clean sparkling and beautiful. The essential relationship that governs all life in Bali is the harmonious relationship between God, Human and Nature. Everyday, offerings are placed at the foot of temples, statues, stores, etc, and prayers are said by all the islanders everyday. It does make a difference in the atmosphere.



The view from my second floor balcony was of the rice paddies. In the morning one would be awaked by what sounded like 10,000 roosters crowing,all mixed in with howling dogs who decided to join in; except that it would all get going before the sun had even come up! As the morning dawned, the doves would coo back and forth to each other. Nightime brought still another incredible mix of sounds; crickets mixed with frogs, mixed with the Gamelan Orchestra drifting over from the nearby Temple, mixed in with the priest chanting prayers over it all during Ceremony times.... what a blend.....!


Another view from my balcony: Here, the rice paddy farmer has erected scarecrow type objects to scare away the birds so they wouldn't eat his rice harvest. He drew a wire across the length of the field, to which he attached cans filled with pebbles. He would sit by the side of the field, and whenever the birds would come to eat the grain, he'd shake the wire and a big scarey noise from the pebbles in the cans would shoo the birds away (...except that they'd come right back after awhile...) Added to this was a flock of geese winding their way through the pathways. I watched this scene slowly unfold from my balcony window each day....






The Hotel was very near the Monkey Forest, where four different tribes of Monkeys roamed the Forest, while tourists fed them bananas. All kinds of outrageous things would occur as you walked around, including ferocious males with bared fangs charging terrified tourists if they did something foolish or inappropriate, (and some people did get bitten...) Adult monkeys would suddenly decide to beat up defenseless baby monkeys, while the nurses and aunts rushed in to protect the infants.

In general, the monkeys were at peace most of the time, but sometimes huge territorial wars would break out amongst the tribes, accompanied by loud shrieks and screams from the males, and then they'd all start running like crazy all over the place... like National Geographic, only better..!


The Monkey Forest is filled wonderful statues, temples, fish ponds, a river...

... and an amazing Banyan tree that goes on forever ....



Sometimes you'd see the monkeys sitting on top of the carvings, licking off the algae as their lunchtime salad....


Down some stairs, and around the corner in the Monkey Forest are some absolutely amazing sculptures of Komodo Dragons
that are so realistic they look as if the dragons are climbing right out of the stone wall...And it was only later when the photos
were developed that I saw the snake slithering along in the second photo, above...






Cremation Ceremony for the King's Mother


"Strange as it seems, it is in their cremation ceremonies that the Balinese have their greatest fun.  A cremation is an occasion for gaiety and not for mourning, since it represents the accomplishment of their most sacred duty: the ceremonial burning of the corpses of the dead to liberate their souls so that they can thus attain the higher worlds and be free for reincarnation into better beings"






This was an all day, colorful celebration that started at the Palace with food and ceremony and the Women's Gamelan Orchestra, followed by a huge procession down Main St. to the cemetery to cremate the body of the King's Mother.

The structure was massive, very high, with nine towers (for Royalty), and huge wings going out on the side, all of it carried through the streets on a bamboo structure by hundreds of men. During the procession they had to be doused with water as they carried it as it was so heavy, and it had to put it down several times in order for the men to rest. When they were ready to pick it up again, the drums would create a powerful pounding beat to give them the strength to lift it and carry it until it had to be put it down again. As the structure proceeded along the street, it would sway back and forth, the massive wide wings brushing into the trees along the street, while the police blew their whistles and pushed back the thousands of people walking along side -- all of it very, very exciting!!


Once at the cemetery, ceremonial dances were performed, the body of the King's Mother was lifted up and placed on top, and the whole structure was lit on fire.

Our party ended up at Bali Buddha, a wonderful organic restaurant, to continue the celebration. It was an unforgettable day...



Cafe Biang LaLah (Rainbow Cafe)

Here's Connie Mommie with Baby-Kitty and Whitey the puppy at the Biang LaLah Cafe which was right near the White House.

Nyoman, the chef at the restaurant, became my friend and favorite chef. When I would come for lunch or dinner, little Whitey would run up wagging his tail and jumping all over me. Then I'd go back to the kitchen and get Baby Kitty and bring them both up to one of the tables where you sit on a futon, and have my meal with my darling little animal friends sitting beside me. I don't know of too many restaurants in the USA where you can do that....

At night, when I would come home from some event, and start walking down the long drive to go to the White House, Whitey and Blackie (the other puppy) would both jump out of the fence and follow me down the path, wagging their tails and running and jumping all over the place, following me all the way up to the second floor into my room, and then running right back out to look for trouble, and then back to the restaurant where they stayed at night.... little rascals...!



The White House

Here's Madeh, owner of the White House ....And Nyoman, the chef at Cafe Biang LaLah ....both of them wonderful characters. Every morning when I would walk into the restaurantfor breakfast, Madeh would announce loudly,"How much you love me today Connie?"And I'd answer something like, "100 percent, Madeh!"and he'd answer "I love you 110 percent, Connie!"And we'd keep ramping it up every day until we got into the thousand percentiles.... The Balinese love to laugh, they love to love, and they love to have a good time....



Outside the Palace...
Here's Connie,
Chris the Wizard,
and the Ticket-Taker at the Palace,
where we went to see the Women's Gamelan Orchestra. Once Chris and I saw this photo of the three of us, we decided that our beloved ticket-taker must have been out in the rice paddies too long....




At the Palace...

Swami Connie Mommie Nanda with the Gamelans in the background...
And there was more -- more stories, more events, and so many wonderful new people I met from all over the world. No matter what country they were from, everyone became very open and talked to everyone else, because the energy flow in Bali tends to open people's hearts. I'd meet people on the street and that night we'd all be having dinner together...
Bali's just like that.....

But this trip was not about "doing" ---running here and there to do this and that. Rather it was about ''being" ...sinking into the land, into nature... resting, relaxing.... dissolving into Bali...a magical island with a powerful vibration...

Thank you Mother Bali...