Offerings to the Gods

Men make a penjor

Galungan with the family


Ubud has the best food. The food in Indonesia is safe for the most part. I eat salad, ice cream and love the fruit juices. Most places use bottled or boiled water in the kitchens. They make excellent western food. I like the local spicy vegetable dishes, but most of the veggies are overcooked and bland. With several cafes showing movies, I've been able to catch up on films I missed in the states.

Bali is predominantly Hindu in religion, while Java and Lombok are Muslim. In Bali, they give offerings to the Gods three times a day. The women are constantly making small delicate baskets from palm tree leaves. They fill them with flowers, rice and sometimes incense. They put them around their homes, hotels and in front of shops, which means you have to watch your step. I'm embarrassed to say I did end up with a little one on the bottom of my shoe. It was a leaf, one inch square, with rice on it and I just didn't see it. Fortunately, nobody saw me do it...

Unlike India, the women attend the cremation ceremonies and even take an active role in the rituals. They start out in the family compound buildings for various family members, one for the kitchen and a family temple performing various rituals and blessings and have a procession including the tower with the body and gamelan band which leads to the burning location. For ceremonies, the women wear sheer or lace long sleeve tops, which is surprising with their conservative culture.

Fortunately an x co-worker of mine lived in Ubud for a year and made a great connection for me with a local family. I was invited to their family compound for lunch. One of the family members has excellent English and he did most of the translating for the rest of the family. It's interesting to see so many generations living in one place. It makes a lot of sense when you think of childcare and taking care of the elderly.

I was lucky enough to get an invitation to celebrate Galungan with the family, which they describe as similar to our Christmas. The men make a penjor long bamboo pole arched like a candy cane and decorated with flowers and palm leaves, which are curled, twisted and cut. A small basket hangs from the tip. The more detailed wedding penjor family wedding within the last six months has a yellow or white cloth on it and several men in the neighborhood help to build it and stand it up at the compound entrance. It is nice to see the strong sense of community in Bali.

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