Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Indonesia, Bali (Desa Penglipuran)

December is a rainy season in all parts of Southeast Asia and this includes Bali. I like it when the weather gets cool and comfortable during our sightseeing, but when it rains heavily, our movements does get a bit restricted.

On top of this, we didn't get to see Mount Batur in Kintamani. The fog embraced Mount Batur protectively, shielding it from our sight. We waited for 3 hours for the fog to lift up, but luck was just not on our side. We then decided to visit a traditional village in Bangli regency.

This village is known as Desa Penglipuran and it's very famous in Bali. The village was well-organised with direction signs, beautiful stoned-pavements and a good drainage system. While we were there, there was a school excursion by an Indonesian school, so for a while, we were not the only curious onlookers there.

It must be the most beautiful village I had ever came across in Bali. I wondered whether this residential area could be considered as the high end area of Bali, where only the rich (Balinese) live. Our driver, however, told us that this was not the case. A Balinese village is organised like this since the olden days.

I like how the entrance is built in each house but what's most amusing about the entrance is this notice. You can find this in front of every single house.


The notice informs visitors who the house belongs to and the total number of males and females living in the house. I find this interesting. If only they state the number of eligible bachelors in each house and their age... Hahha.

I entered a house and was not disappointed. I learnt that a Balinese home consists of at least 6 small, separate structures. The main structures are the family temple (top pic), the ceremonial pavilion, the kitchen, the bathroom, the guesthouse and the sleeping quarters of the family.

Apparently, most Balinese family sleeps together in one bedroom, and they like to keep their windows shut to keep out the evil spirits. Their kitchen, usually tiny and windowless, is very dark and small too. There's hardly any room to breathe when I entered the kitchen. It is bright in this picture due to my camera flash. I'm pretty amazed by my camera too; it has worked wonders. 

Anyway, do you see that kettle? It's seated on a traditional wood burning stove.

While cooking, the cook had to cut her onions and whatnot outside. The limited space in the kitchen means that the kitchen is only used strictly for cooking. Our driver also told us that at night, a family member had to sleep in the kitchen to guard it. This statement did raise some eyebrows; I'm not exactly sure why the kitchen has to be guarded. It's really mysterious but I didn't probe further. And now I regretted not probing...  

What was really good in the Balinese culture is the sense of community in the village. The guide told us that the villagers will often gather to celebrate special events, have meetings and pray at the temples. All the houses are also interconnected; they have no gates. The trust level is so high among the neighbours; one is free to enter the dwellings of their neighbours anytime. Woah.. I'm in awe. Our houses in Singapore are constantly under lock and key. What a huge contrast! 

The villagers here also separate their rubbish according to organic and non-organic waste. Amazing right? My stereotypical beliefs that villagers are old-fashioned with obsolete mindset has been shaken here.

Coming up next is my post on the temples which I had visited in Bali.

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