Asia Days 21,22
Nyepi: A day of silence. It is ritual that on Nyepi nobody is allowed onto the streets/ beaches in Bali; Lighting, electrical devices and noise are kept to a minimum and fasting and reflection is obliged for the Balinese. Even the airport is closed and all shops/ hotels are covered up. Such rules are observed to allow the island spirits and Gods to cleanse the island from all the bad, ensuring its safety for another year. Tourists are not exempt from many of these rules, however restricting 50 travel-minded backpackers to a pool with an endless supply of alcohol and noodles proved to be a manic experiment!
Rewind 24 hours and the streets were full of dancers, music and floats depicting Gods and spirits. Hindus and other Religious minds had come out in their drones praying and offering up gifts to the Gods. There was a celebratory atmosphere- this is after all the equivalent of their New Years Eve!
By early afternoon however, most of the shops were closing in preparation for Nyepi and the cash-points and banks were cut across the city, causing chaos for tourists alike.
By evening, everything was more or less closed and we retreated back to the hotel, where we were able to set up a tab to combat the money problem.
The following day- Nyepi- and the hotel was completely boarded up. Even a simple breakfast of Orange juice and toast was prohibited as electrical items were forbid. Not to be deterred, we pulverized the oranges by hand, adding extra emphasis to freshly squeezed and carved up watermelons.
Then it was a day spent by the pool, where Bintang after Bintang mounted up, congregating into a small pool party.
The drinking and games continued into the night which, due to the lack of lighting across the city, displayed a near perfect starry skyline above our pool.
With the beers mounting up, things got a little out of hand and before long we were banished back to our dorm, continuing our own party further.
A very strange and surreal ritual to be involved with, but as a group it was a hell of a lot of fun locked in together- if not totally in keeping with Balinese tradition! It goes to show though that you can have the best beaches, clubs, pools, technology and entertainment, but sometimes all you need is a good bunch of like-minded people……and booze!