Monday, 20 April 2009

Mad House Down at the Beach

This was some stuff I wrote on Nyepi Eve. I then went off to Hong Kong for the Sevens, expect an entry soon came home for two days and drove to Java with Maxi for two weeks. Expect another entry when I write it. This one is a day in the life. Shouldn't be too bad a read! Enjoy!

This morning was a mad house down at the beach.

It took 30 minutes to drive in; normally a 3 minute drive. You should have seen it.There were trucks full of people, cars, and families shoe horned onto the world’s smallest motorbikes. A cacophony of sounds, smells and sights. People, sirens, gamelan music, hawkers selling everything from plastic toys and food to Red Bull and watermelon, the odd chook and a sorry rooster was also to be heard letting fly with it’s announcement of morning. Smoke from small fires hung about the carpark- not sure if it was from the fires or if all the men had fired up their Garam Garams (clove ciggies) at the same time.

There were waves of people. They arrived as a village enmass descending on the area in and around the temple and overran it for their allotted time. Then they packed up- clambered aboard the various modes of transport and skedaddled just in time for the next wave of attendees. The event was like a finely tuned machine.

The trucks were used to transport the family relatives, dead and living. Each huge extended family stand in the back and get driven from one ceremony to another. Their ancestors are carried about in paladin-like structures with these little rooves, gold and finely carved. Truly lovely.

As for the Gods throwing water at the believers it was there in all of its glory. Just as I predicted but even better as the tide came in. Most of the time they sat in an orderly fashion along the shore but eventually they wandered down to make their offerings. There was people dodging in and out of the shore dump as it snatched at their feet seeming to want to drag them into the sea. Mocking, teasing.

Some people climbed on top of a rock right in the middle of this shore dump. It seemed as if Neptune was playing with the climbers making it more difficult for them to negotiate the sharp outcrops on their way up and down.

I shot this panoramic view that needed to be stitched together, not a bad job if I say so myself: I stood in the carpark and spun. Lovely pirouette it was too. You will see praying, trucks, hawkers and people. I chose a lull to shoot it as I didn’t want to upset anyone. What do you think?

In a moment not long after I took these photos I made my escape. Only took 10 minutes to get back to the main road. At one point I had to slow down as I met another wave of revelers head on, pulling over to let their parade pass.

So that was my morning, oh the waves were not as big as the hype but I did get some lovely ones. Had a bad hold down where I was inside and the white water sort of landed right on top of me but instead of pushing me forward in it’s wake, like they normally do this one pushed me down and pinned me to the reef. I fought it and just before my air expired it released me. I scrambled to the surface and gasped for air. My arms and legs fatigued form the fight and lack of oxygen. I paddled hard to the channel so I wouldn’t be caught by the next one. It’s times like that that I wonder why I surf. The feeling doesn’t last though and the rush you get falling down the face of the next wave neatly erases the thought from your memory.

Didn’t wear a sarong this morning, I felt very disheveled, but in true Aussie style I wrapped a towel around my waist and wet boardies to somehow emulate these immaculately dressed people around me.


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