October 21, 1961 – Bali

Beach Sagara Hotel, Denpasar,  Bali – Clear, sultry, hot

      Today I woke up early but not because we had to leave on a tour.  Instead it was because my bed wasn’t very comfortable and with no air conditioner our room had already gotten hot and sultry.  My first thought when I opened my eyes was to find some soap so I could take a bath.  Today was to be a leisure day for our group so we could do what we wanted, however, Edith and I weren’t sure what we wanted to do other than find some soap, get cleaned up and possibly enjoy the beach. 

      Now that it was daylight and we could see our room was situated in a poor location.  It was as far away as it could be from the dining room and the beach which meant we didn’t have any kind of view.  I was especially disappointed because I had been looking forward to our time here since Ramona had told me that I would probably find Bali an especially nice place to visit.  I planned on writing her as soon as I could to let her know that she was very, very wrong about Bali being a great a place to visit.

      Edith and I joined the others in the hotel dining room for breakfast but when they brought us the menu with our choices I suddenly lost my appetite.  I ordered one dish with rice that I was told was traditional for breakfast in Bali but gave up after I tasted it and just asked the waitress for two hard boiled eggs.

      The beaches were so beautiful that after breakfast Edith and I decided to take a walk on the beach before it got too hot.  We wanted to wade in the Indian Ocean and have some quiet time but as we were walking we stumbled on a Bali funeral ceremony.  It was fascinating to watch the ritual and compare it to funerals I’d been to back home.  The service lasted for several hours so eventually Edith and I were forced to return to the hotel due to the heat and flies.

Sagar Hotel in Denpasar, Bali

Beach in Bali

Natives on Beach in Bali

Another View of Natives on Beach in Bali

Bali Funeral Ceremony

View 2 of Bali Funeral Ceremony

View 3 of Bali Funeral Ceremony

View 4 of Bali Funeral Ceremony

View 5 of Bali Funeral Ceremony

      Back at the hotel I asked the front desk clerk for some soap.  She seemed a little uncertain at first as to what to do but then she disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a small bar of used soap.  At that point I didn’t care that it wasn’t new, I just wanted some soap.  When I showed up back at our room Edith was ecstatic that I had managed to scrounge up some soap.  We took turns washing out our clothes again, this time with soap, and taking baths.  It felt glorious to be clean finally when we left to get some lunch.

       Our menu for lunch wasn’t much better than the one for breakfast so Edith and I just ordered some fruit before retiring to our room.  I noticed as I walked back to our room that I had a little stomach ache so I spent the entire afternoon doing a mixture of napping and playing Canasta with Edith, Flo and Curt.  Outside it was too hot and there were so many flies around so it wasn’t an option to go sit on the beach.  Even though we didn’t do much it felt good to have some time to just relax for a change.  As it got later in the day and closer to dinner I still had a stomach ache so I wasn’t sure if I would to eat dinner.  I even had to take some Kaopectate. 

      I was surprised when a little girl showed up at our room with native costumes as the afternoon drew to a close.  She told us she had been sent to help us dress for our evening meal.  The little girl took us to a different area of the hotel called the pavilion instead of the dining room for dinner.  She had explained to us in her broken English that we were going to have a traditional Balinese dinner celebration in the costumes we’d been provided. 

      At the pavilion we found there were several tables that were long and close to the ground.  I was worried that we would be sitting on the ground itself until I saw there were big pillows for us to use.  Sitting there on the pillows in my sarong felt fun although a little awkward.  While we sat there women dressed in traditional Bali attire started to bring us food and instead of giving us dishes to eat off of they placed all of it on banana leaves.  When several of us looked to John for an answer as to what we were to eat off of, John explained we were to use extra leaves on the table to hold our food and then to eat it with our fingers, no knives, spoons or forks.  They expected us to eat all the dishes including rice, soup, fish, pork, chicken and food on sticks called shish kebobs with our fingers.  Since my stomach was still upset I only tried one of the shish kebobs. 

      I had been disappointed when I found it was too dark to take pictures.  I had wanted to capture the others eating the food on leaves with their fingers.  Edith dropped more food than she got into her mouth and she told me that I hadn’t missed very much by not eating things.

      While we were being served dinner our evening entertainment started and continued until well after the meal was finished.  All in all it lasted for several hours.  First there were Balinese dancers who did something called the Ketchaka Dance for us which depicted Rama’s wife Sita being kidnapped by the demon Ravana.  In the story the monkeys went to war to rescue Sita.  It was all quite impressive and lasted about an hour.  The dancers that had danced all around our table during the meal stopped after we finished eating and the men dancers asked the women in our group to dance.  Women dancers did the men.  I tried dancing but not our entire group was willing to do so.  The male dancer who asked me to dance was very respectful and didn’t try to make me do steps or maneuvers that he didn’t think I could do.  I really enjoyed doing the steps he showed me so we danced for quite awhile.  The Balinese dancers were all exquisite to watch.

      After all the entertainment was done Edith and I escaped back to our room taking some bananas with us to snack on later if we got hungry.  Once we had retired to our room each of us took our second bath of the day and then collapsed onto our beds.  I had gotten so sweaty during the day from the heat and flies that I really needed that second bath.  We had used so much of our tiny little bar of soap that day I hoped we could another one the next day.

      When I settled onto my bed I hoped I would sleep better on my bed than I had last night.

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