Bali is a very densely populated island. More than 4 million people mean more than 730 people per square kilometre. And they all ride motorbikes and when they not actually ride them, they leave them somewhere on the pavement, which is unspeakably annoying.
In Ubud I found lodging at a homestay in a very nice bungalow in a wonderful garden with many small birds and butterflies. It was built right behind the family temple and it was surprisingly quiet given the aforementioned population density. In the evening the birds and butterflies were replaced by mosquitos that numbered at least 730 of these insects per square metre.
During the Galungan festival the servant who usually served breakfast was gone home for the religious celebrations and it was now served by his employer, Mr. Jaya.
You want more pancake? he asked.
Er… yes, I like pancakes very much, I replied.
You want more coffee?
Mr. Jaya proved an excellent replacement.
Later I was paying him three days accommodation and two breakfasts, which came to 430.000 rupiah as I had calculated.
I gave Mr. Jaya 500.000 rupiah.
This is okay? he asked, looking friendly through his thick glasses.
I need 70.000 back, I explained.
Oh yes, he said. He clearly had no idea of money.
Some mornings his daughter performed her religous duties. She placed with infinite grace little baskets of flowers throughout the garden, including one on my porch. After that she ignited a stick of incense. She took a flower between her fingers and sprinkled water on the flowers, waved her hand as if performing a magic trick and dropped the last flower in the little basket.
The main religion on Bali is Hinduism and these omnipresent little offerings are visual reminders of that.
One evening it was raining and I was sitting on my little porch when I heard something through the torrents of rain and which was slowly approaching my bungalow. I peered.into the darkness but could not make out what it was. Some sort of animal it would appear. When I had found my torch I first saw two beady eyes and then it occurred to me that the eyes belonged to a fish. A very large fish that lay flapping in front of my porch.
When the fish was sluggishly flapping away, I thought it was raining exceedingly hard.
As a coffee addict I thought I should do a tasting of a cup of Luwak coffee which is served on the island at very competitive prices. The reason I wanted to try it, was the remarkable fashion in which it is produced. It is also known as cat poo coffee, which really says it all.
It was nice…