Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Travels broaden your mind if you know how

During my travels, shopping and more shopping and good food are not my interest. These activities will be likely most of my readers' interest as they are likely to be young ones.

However, if you want to broaden your mind intelluctually, be an adventurer and be observant of the local customs and culture of Bali.

"After you have seen Myanmar villages, you have seen all," Marianne who represented the Singaporean who loves shopping and airconditioning comfort, said to me.
"After you have been to one shopping mall in Hongkong, you have seen all too," I replied. "Yet, every country's shopping mall has different products for sale, if you really investigate. Every country's rural areas are different". I was talking to the wall as Bali was hot and humid and not for Marianne.

On a morning of Jan 31, 2012 (Tuesday), my last day in Bali, I asked the driver to visit his home and got to understand much more the local cultures than reading from the travel guides. Then he brought me to a silversmith in a road lined with silversmith shops. The shop was closed as it was a day before the Gulang festival (Wednesday). But he went to the front gate and I was invited inside.

Wow, this silversmith and his sister spoke English very well. After purchasing two small pieces of ear rings for a 20% discount and no more, I asked about the architecture and layout of his house. It was a very beautiful house but the layout was similar to the driver who had a hard time explaining to me the functions of the layout.

"In the centre is the house for human beings. Ceremonies like filing teeth, deaths and marriages. In the north is the house for parents or grandparents. In the north-east is the land for the gods (various shrines). In the south is the kitchen (and his office factory). "How about to the west?" I asked him? "It can be used for any building," he said.

This explanation was good as the driver could not explain to me when he drove me past many village houses where I noted, from passing by in the car, that many of them have shrines to one side, like mini-temples. Most Balinese are Hindus and therefore religious rituals and ordinary ceremonies are conducted frequently.

Practise and practise and you will retain memories of your travels when one day, you are unable to walk. For the young ones, this day will never come.

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