One of the things I learned from one of my stop during biking tour was the community concept in Bali. All families have family leader (normally a couple of man and woman) who acts as representative in their group of social community. Their full-time job is to contribute man power in gotong-royong for activities like wedding ceremony, funerals, refurbishing temples, road, cleanliness of the area, security protection and do all the activities together in economic, social and ritual field. The other family members are obliged to contribute financially to their family leaders, because these people work for the community – for free!
Those who do not contribute are said to be banished from their villages. No wonder tradition and culture still runs like the old days with them. The community kinda make them!
I am especially amazed at Balinese landscapes. Everything seems to be blooming and more alive there. Like Nizam said, even the palm trees that we see almost everyday here in Malaysia are more beautiful in Bali. I did ask our tour guide, Ketut Bagi, whether they usually plan before they plant something in their gardens. He said they simply plant and maintain. Its part of what they value in life, to be creative and artistic with everything they do.
And OK, I admit. I think I have a thing with paddy fields. Or in case of Bali; terraces – carved hills that form beautiful green steps that makes the amazing landscape. There’s something about being in the middle of the greens and feel at peace.
Kecak Dance. In Pura Luhur, Uluwatu.
It does make a lot of difference to see the performance at a great setting, on top of cliff, overlooking the sea, during sunset. Not only the setting was breathtaking, the Kecak ritual is almost as good as any other music with instruments! Even now I can still hear it in my head. I still remember the eye-play of the dancers. The comic of it, the suspense when they lit up the fire, the curvy bodies of the girls and the curl of their fingers. Watching that was even better than those theatre shows I saw in London. And I’d pay to see that again, anytime.
And then, there’s the rest of it. The friendly faces, the polite gestures, the white washes at the beach, the beautiful light, the unforgettable sights… that makes up my memory of Bali. That will make me ache to return again. Because quite truthfully, I don’t think I will ever be done with it.
Or how can anyone, really?