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March 20, 2009 Ubud Bali Indonesia

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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Ubud has to be one of the most beautiful places that I do business in, and my hotel is so worth all of it's $25 a night. The grounds are beautiful, and I fall asleep listening to just the peeps, croaks and clacks of the frogs and lizards, and wake up to the crowing of roosters and cooing of doves. Business here needs to be concluded in the next few days, as we're coming up to Nyepi, or Silent Day or Balinese New Year.

The night before Nyepi, there's a lot of noise to scare off the demons and bad spirits, and then the next day, all is silent and no one is permitted outside on the streets. This way the demons think that Bali is a deserted island, and leave it alone for the year. Silent Day is a day of fasting, meditation and prayer. The days leading up to it are filled with purification ceremonies down at the sea, and roving Barong gangs.

The Barong is a large benevolent dog-lion who also chases demons. I think that I saw at least 10 different Barongs today, with their gong-banging entourage, just roaming the streets. For temple ceremonies, no one is permitted in without traditional dress. so everyone's decked out. Chuck Thomson, a "non-travel travel writer", who wrote a really funny expose of the travel writing industry, says that no western man can pull off wearing a sarong. The men on Bali not only pull it off, they look gorgeous and even the frangipani blossom behind the ear is just right.