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Archive for the category “Indonesia”

Bali Offerings on Kuningan Day

Whenever I arrive somewhere new, I’m like a toddler exploring the world for the first time. Everything is new and my eyes are open wide.  Being in Bali for the first time, I loved walking around and checking out our neighborhood. We are staying in Sanur right now, which is somewhere between a popular touristy beach town and a sleepy, quiet place. The first thing we noticed is these little offerings.Offering On Road

Sometimes they were in front of temples or religious statues, like this one:

In front of a religious statue

But they were also in driveways, in front of shops, and just about everywhere:

And sometimes there were A LOT of them in one special place, like in front of this statue in the middle of a traffic circle:TrafficCircleOffering

We learned that that it was a local holiday called Kuningan Day, which marks the end of the 10 day holiday of Galungan. ClosedPeople in Bali are very friendly, and one taxi driver on the street told us that the Balinese people use this day to practice dharma, or being compassionate to others. But he said that these are daily offerings, not just for the holiday. A little internet research told us that this is the day that Balinese people believe their ancestors go back up to Heaven after visiting during Galungan. Lots of shops were closed because of this.

KitesAnother man approached us on the beach, and started chatting. We kept waiting for him to try to sell us something, but he was just being friendly. He told us that most of the population in Bali is Hindu, even though the rest of Indonesia is Muslim. He said that Indonesia was originally inhabited by natives who had a traditional religion, but then it was mostly Hindu for a long time, until Muslims conquered the area, pushing all the Hindus onto the island of Bali.

Rental DucksWhat we observed was thousands of Balinese people taking the day to be with family and enjoy themselves. It sounds like many do religious ceremonies, and some travel to other islands for both the ceremonies and to have fun with family. People fly big kites, eat street food, and play in the water. Almost none of the kids playing in the ocean were wearing bathing suits. Instead, they swam in their clothes, rented little floaty ducks, and then changed out of their wet clothes after getting wiped dry with small cloths. Very few people had beach towels, but selfie sticks, cell phones, and motorcycles were common.

It was a happening day for all!

At the end of the week, it also seems like there’s a lot of trash:

Offering Trash


rainbowsYesterday felt like a rainbow explosion, as news broke out that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that same-sex marriage must be legal in every state. I felt proud to be an American. As I’ve written about before, I want to live in a world where everyone gets the same rights regardless of who they are or whom they love. This isn’t the end of the journey, but it’s a big step for our nation.

In other happy news, I booked tickets for my summer travel yesterday. Drum roll please!

Flight number one:

Flight 1

Flying to Denpasar, Indonesia, on the island of Bali! If all goes well, we’ll have an evening to hang out in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. While I’ve been to Pakistan and Turkey, this will be my first time really in the Middle East, and Dubai is known to be a glamourous, oil-rich city full of skyscrapers and shopping.

Bali is known for its marine biodiversity, rich music/dance scene, and its status as a Hindu enclave tucked on the edge of a huge and powerful Muslim country. We hope to visit a sacred monkey forest and see rice paddies, among other adventures. From there, we’ll head out to…

Flight 2

Tokyo! I couldn’t resist heading back to Japan, where last summer I was so very blessed to participate the Japan U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development. The flight goes through Australia, though, unfortunately, it’s unlikely that we’ll have time to see anything. The plan is to spend most of the visit to Japan outside of Tokyo. The details are still open, but I definitely want to visit Kyoto, and I’d love to climb Mount Fuji if it’s possible. There are so many places in Japan that I want to visit, so this will be a chance to see a few more spots. And finally, we’ll head home.

Flight 3

This map is actually totally inaccurate, though it does show the correct locations on the flight home: Tokyo –> Hong Kong –> New York. First of all, it’s a mercator projection, so the areas near the poles are stretched out. Also, the direct flight from Hong Kong to New York City will likely go up and over the North Pole, not across the top of Africa like this. That will take 16 hours, which I believe will be my longest single flight ever.

I’m so excited to go on this adventure! I leave towards the end of July, so there will be some New England adventures first. Right now, in fact, I’m headed to Vermont. Check back soon for more updates, both from me and some of the other Innovation Academy community members on upcoming global adventures.

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