Island of the gods

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Koming, our host at Ketut’s Place, was explaining the ornamental door that featured Rama and Sita, the protagonists in the Indian legend Ramayana. “Do you know Ramayana? Yes, that is Rama… Sita. Just like Julia… Roberts.”

He meant Romeo… and Juliet.

He was giving us a little tour of the different parts of a typical Balinese household. There is the ceremony building, where cremation and weddings happen. There is the parent’s home, the room that featured Rama and Sita, said to be reserved for copulating. If you see your folks sneaking out of the main house to go to the honeymoon room, you know they’re gonna do the dirty.

There’s the temple. The temple is the most interesting, mystical, ethereal part of the compound. Koming said most Balinese traditional houses have temples or shrines.  It is where the spirits of their ancestors are believed to be staying while waiting for reincarnation to kick in. Owners of the family land are also not supposed to sell their properties as the spirits of their ancestors will be “confused” when they reincarnate to a different set of people around. It is believed to bring bad luck to the family.

The little tour was followed by a sumptuous traditional Balinese dinner.

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Scenes from Bali

The chartered car from Denpasar took me on an hour and a half ride to Ubud. Closing in, we passed by strings of shops, restaurants, yoga studios and t-shirt places. Streets were getting filled with travelers and locals out for a late lunch or on their way back to their hotels or homes. A beautiful temple on the left, a charming gilded shrine on the right, and a few more in the next 500 meters.

The car pulled over on the side of the road, just right across the central market and Ubud Palace. I slid out of the car and the scent of incense from the nearby fountain shrine did it for me. I’ve arrived in my spirit town.

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