Monday, May 23, 2011

Easter in Bali

Easter morning I again woke early, even before Colin and Liam. I snuck out for my morning walk. I was surprised by the heavy traffic on the tiny road past our villa to the beach. Motorbike after motorbike whizzed by. Some motor bikes carried families of four – dad driving with one baby in his lap and mom riding on the back sidesaddle with child number two, cradled in the crook of her arm, sandwiched between her and dad. Workers in pointy straw hats were already bent over in the rice fields along the way. They were tending the rice fields, cutting grass and re-tethering cows. I thought 6:30 am was early, but the world around me was wide-awake. Everyone seemed busy with the day’s work.

I was completely blown away by the beach scene. Thursday and Friday morning I had nodded to the occasional fellow beach walker. And, there had been a handful of surfers tiptoeing across the sand and paddling out to the breakers. But on this morning there were literally thousands of people up and down the beach as far as I could see. The beach access and sand dunes were clogged with motorbikes. The strangest thing was how calm, peaceful and quiet the scene was. There were so many people and so little noise and commotion. I started my walk down the beach weaving through family groups having breakfast picnics. Some people sat at the water line letting the waves wash around them. Children in hushed tones played in the shallow surf. Hundreds, may be thousands, of offering baskets dotted the beach in bright fruity and floral colors against the black sand. I couldn’t help smiling at the happy scene and everyone smiled right back with a small nod and Namaste gesture, which I returned.

Back at the villa, the staff explained that the beach gathering I witnessed was part of the Saraswati celebration. People including our staff, because they had to make breakfast for us, started heading to the beach around 4 am to participate in the cleansing ritual.

My walk to the beach was the highlight of the day, and one of the highlights of the trip. It was so powerfully happy and beautiful.

By the time I snuck back up to our guesthouse, Doug was just waking up and the boys were bouncing off the walls, ready to begin the Easter hunt. Each had found the end of yarn tied to their bed. Colin had blue and Liam’s yarn was green. Both knew the other end of the yarn was tied to their Easter surprise. Yarn crisscrossed the guesthouse and yard, out windows, over the balconies, across the pool, through the trees, under tables, and in and out of cabinets. So as the rest of the villa tried to sleep, the hunt began! We discovered at the end of the hunt that there were yummy, dark chocolate Easter ducks, instead of eggs or bunnies, in Bali.

The hunt and some pool time was the extent of our activity for the day. Our friends all took off for shopping and touring, but we hung by the pool all day, playing games and reading and napping. It was a perfect day.

By late afternoon, everyone returned for massages en masse and we headed to David and Jed’s for Easter dinner Indonesian style.

No comments: