My queen mother is taking me as a guest to a wedding. I am dressed again in kebaya and a sarong again. She is immaculately adorned with freshly painted nails and a full face of makeup; she is a jeweled relic.
The invitation itself is beyond elaborate, many pages long with pictures, prayers, and so on. Balinese weddings are usually three day events of numerous ceremonies, the painful tooth-filling one of the most important before marriage. The belief is that behavior such as lust, greed, anger, drunkenness, jealousy etc. is removed by filing down the sharp part of the canines. I was present for the last day of the celebration of love, the colorful and seemingly easier reception ceremony. Food and gifts. No agony.
Everything is adorned with extravagance, flowers, candies, fruits, makeup. We march through the gate to the gathering and are immediately fed sweet treats and flamboyant fruit drinks.
I try something green that tastes limey-ish and creamy. The hors d’oeuvres are all filled with sugar, to ensure the sweetness of the harmony (and Balinese people simply love sweets. One can get a cavity from just drinking an ice-tea here).
The altar is too exquisite, multiple layers of fruits, cakes, flowers, incense. It is amazing the amount of money that is spent on ceremony. I am told that the exchange of money by Balinese is quite fluid; people don’t save their money but constantly spend it, mostly on ceremony and prayer. There is a constant flow of energy. Cremation ceremonies are more than 2 million rupiah, a huge expense that sometimes takes months to collect.
The bride and the queen:
The groom and his sisters:
A buffet lunch is a long table filled with native dishes, tofu soup, white and red rice, fried noodles, meatballs, crispy pork, duck, gado-gado, crunchy water spinach with onion, other sautés of unidentifiable meat with vegetables, wildly colored creamy desserts and ice cream, jellied candies, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and countless fruity drinks made from tamarind and ginger, mixed punch, and so on. I fill my belly well and chat with a beautiful retired couple now living in Sanur on the beach before escorting the queen home, carrying her antique lace parasol.
Around the corner from my abode is a place called nadis herbal where one can learn about local natural treatments. I am served a glass of complimentary tea, a mixture of ginger, lemongrass, cloves, among other herbs before I head into a fairly new restaurant named Dayus Warung that I know I am called to be. Dayu is a warm and bubbly local who worked for years as a housemaid and cook before opening her dream restaurant a few months ago. She studied with many raw and holistic chefs that have passed through Bali while employed by foreigners and now cooks at her own palace, serving healthy dishes at local prices; she shares she has secret connections to organic farms being a native. Her diabetes is now under control after switching to a raw lifestyle. We chat about yoga and she too offers to connect me with places to teach. Gratitude.
In the evening I take a long walk and find myself in an acroyoga play time group in Campuan led by a visiting Italian guy. Acroyoga is a newer form of yoga that includes flying partner yoga and therapeutic Thai massage. There is a base and a flyer to perform acrobatic skills, the base supports the flyer and then the flyer returns metta, “loving kindness” to the base by giving Thai massage. It is a practice that cultivates trust, listening, connection. And it is super fun!
I fly mostly although we switch partners often to learn various skills including one called the koala where the flyer literally is hanging on one leg of the base upside down like a cute little Aussie bear. The class concludes with four handed massages for all. Yum.