Settling down in the Tropics
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 2009-01-28 12:00 by Martin
The last couple of weeks here on Bali have been both relaxed and quite eventful. Laerke’s classes have picked up speed and they are now doing homework and there has been some slight complaining about too much school and boring homework. Well, what can you expect after 6 months of being totally free to do whatever you want ;) But she still enjoys it I believe. Almost every day after I pick her up, we go to the local warung to have lunch together with some other students from her class or school. It’s great just chatting while eating cheap local food and drinking an orange or mango juice.

A very important thing has finally happened...we got ourselves a house! It’s the same one as we previously wrote about, so no need for repetitions. It’s been great to move in, unpack our stuff and get to have our own kitchen again. I’ve been cooking every evening we’ve spend here so far and as almost everything is available in the market or supermarket, it’s not hard to make up something yummy. Only thing missing is an oven, but it seems that ovens are not very widely used here. We had to go hunting for a dining table as well, but after a search mission last Saturday, we got one! It was quite a search though, going into a lot of small furniture workshops to find the right kind for the right price. We finally found a suitable one in a bit of a ramshackle looking place, but we got it for a fair price (30 USD) inclusive of delivery. The delivery truck consisted of the owner and his assistant driving with the table on a scooter, following us all the way home (a 30 minute drive) – it went without problems, but when it started raining we got a bit concerned; remembering how the downpours can be here on Bali, we were glad that it kept to a small drizzle. It is quite amazing how almost anything can be freighted on scooters here, as I’ve said before, I’m really starting to like those pesky things.

The little garden in front of our house

Our house came with two TV’s and a DVD player, and as in many Asian countries, pirate DVD’s are sold openly in stores and markets – which means movie nights! Even though it seems as such a dull thing to do in a “exotic” destination as Bali, being on the move for a long time really gives you an urge to just relax and do something homely; 6 good quality “original copy” DVD’s cost around 5 USD, so we are caching up on some of the latest flicks, while eating candy and ice cream...just as anyone at home, or in the entire world, would do.
This weekend we had dinner with a bunch of people from Laerke's school, we were 4 Indonesians and 4 “bule”, which is Balinese for foreigner. It was Imlek (Buddhist/Chinese New Year) and one of our new friends is Buddhist; according to tradition they always have a big meal together with all of the family, so we acted as replacements.

After dinner we drove to a special temple which we had read about somewhere on the Net. It is special in the way that it is a place of worship for people of 3 different religions in the same temple; Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. Yulun, our Buddhist friend, had gone to investigate the day before, and found out that there would be an Imlek celebration at midnight; and we were not disappointed. Traditional dragon dance, lion dance and fireworks ensued and the troupe performing was excellent and the locals welcoming and warm.
We’ve seen Chinese New Year’s performances before in Denmark, but here it was much more artistic and even competitive; the different lions (two men in a lion suit) competed in who could do the best show; meaning more and more neck breaking stunts. The dragon was swung with both passion and excitement, in such a degree that some in the audience were nearly eaten alive (or at least they nearly got hit). We had to duck a few times, but the excitement and atmosphere was worth the risk of getting a few bruises. Afterwards Yulun went for a short prayer session while we looked around the beautiful temple grounds, where architecture and shrines from the three religions were peculiarly, but compellingly, mixed together.
It was extraordinary to see Hindus in full sarong/kabaya regalia attending a Buddhist/Chinese event, but I guess they were enjoying the show, just as we were. Also, as is the case in Singapore, Hindus and Buddhists here seem to be pretty casual about paying homage to each other’s deities – after all the two religions do have many similarities, and Buddhism in many parts of Asia, is practiced in unison with older belief systems, involving deities and gods not originally intended by the Buddhist teachings, making the two religions even more similar.

Latest update from our home; we have a nightly (and sometimes daily) visitor; a “tigus” or mouse in English is terrorizing our kitchen! Ah well, it’s not that dramatic, actually the only traces it has left so far is a few mouse droppings; no food has been touched as of yet, strangely enough. I’ll try and catch it in a humanely way though, but finding a humane mousetrap here in Indonesia will be a challenge, so I might need to resort to more ineffective homemade devices – updates will follow.
Oh, to not deceive anyone about the rainy season weather here on Bali (the previous posts have been a lot about rain, rain, rain), the last 10 days or so have been nice and sunny, with only a few light showers or an overcast afternoon. Sometimes even a bit too sunny and warm, forcing us to do the only thing imaginable - to go to the beach ;)


2009-02-18 03:41 by En Lee
Looks like you are enjoying life. Wanna live in Bali too :)