Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nyepi birthday - a day of silence

As I type this entry, fireworks are crackling in the distance with the melodic sounds of chimes from a metallophone (long instrument consisting of many metal bars).... these are the celebratory sounds, in preparation for silence. Tomorrow morning at 6am - is the beginning of Bali's Hindu, Lunar New Year, a day of contemplation, reflection and fasting for some. No one on the island is allowed to leave their house for 24 hours, not even to buy water because all stores, restaurants and airports close. There will be security patrolling the streets to politely, but sternly, direct people home if they're found wandering outside (most likely will be uninformed tourists). According to Balinese folklore, we stay indoors as a way of tricking the evil spirits into thinking the island is uninhabited. This way they will fly off and leave Bali safe for another year. Isn't that convenient?!

Luckily for me, I currently reside at Hibiscus Cottages, a safe guesthouse far far away from evil spirits, right in the middle of rice paddy fields. My room looks onto a lush garden setting, where I'll spend the day practicing yoga, reading, writing and meditating. Since it is also my birthday on the 26th, I will not be fasting... but rather enjoying such luxuries as homemade gado-gado (traditional dish of boiled veggies with spicy peanut sauce), tropical fruit juices, special raw organic mulberry pie, and local rice wine. When in Bali... do as the Balinesians do.... sort of :)

In two days, for my Balinese-American birthday celebration, I'll attend a Michael Franti & Friends benefit concert in Ubud!!