woensdag 15 juli 2009

In the morning all of a sudden the birds make a very hard noise, this is the announcement of a very bright day. And this it has become ...

Not long after that I am sitting on the veranda writing down my last experiences in the night. And appearing from the void is there Rukun suddenly standing in front of me. Like a soft general before his class.

I think: this can’t be true. But it is if I see the laughing face of Rukun surrounded by  twenty  round faces. 

He must have thought: if Mohammed is not coming to the mountain, I bring the mountain to Mohammed. He has taken his sundayclass. Twenty students of 200 all together.

He tells that some of his pupils are coming from another village by motorbike. A distance of two kilometer.  ‘These kids on a motorbike?’ I am reacting surprised.

‘Ya ya, they can ride.’

‘But not too young?’ I estimate the age of most of them on ten to twelve.

‘No no,’ and is waving away my objection.

‘ Shall we then start with the lesson?’  I suggest.

The group installs themself round the table, with me sitting on the other side as the master with Mister Rukun on the side. I put my first question to the nearest girl: ‘what is your name?’ She answers shy: ‘Shanti.’

To her neighbour: ‘where do you come from?’ Realising that I do exactly the same as the man on the street, approaching a tourist.

She mentions a name of a village, which I don’t know. Something with “karung”.

To the bold young man very close to me I ask: ‘do you drive motorbicycle?’

The answer is: ‘YES!’

Next to him is a lovely girl dressed in a pink blouse with lovely short sleeves :’What is the name of your father?’

‘Yes,’ she answers also and look helpless in the direction of Mister Rukun.

‘Pappa,’ I say and Rukun translates: ‘Bapak.’

And then slowly it comes out of her mouth with the help of Rukun: ‘my father’s name is Simonagara.’ If I understand well.

I ask to the girl in a yellow T-shirt: ‘what is your father doing?’ 

Also she doesn’t know what to answer and I continue: ’what is his job?’

Rukun explains it to her.

And then the answer comes: ‘clerk.’

‘Here in Kerambitan?’

‘In Tabanan regency,’ Rukun answers for her.

To a girl with a big bear on the front of her shirt: ‘what is your mother’s name?‘

She replies with the help of Rukun, but this time I am the one who doesn’t understand and I continue with: ‘Is she at home now?’

‘Ye....s,’ she says slowly and shy.

Then I have arrived on the corner of the company at the girl next to Rukun.

‘You have a big house?’ Also she is looking if it is thundering somewhere.

Rukun replies for her:  ‘Balinese house has place for temple, for sleeping, for making offering.’ In fact explaining that you cannot answer this question on Bali, because on Bali a house is a compound with many small buildings. Stupid me, I am thinking.

I continue questioning with the other side, completely on the left, the poor girl is almost frightened when I direct myself to her with the words:

‘You have brothers?’


‘How many?’

‘One,’ and holds herself on to the table with both hands.

‘And what is his name?’

Again a difficult question, she doesn’t know.

‘You like to go to school?’ I ask a tiny boy.

‘YES.’ Is the firm answer.

‘And what do you like to become later?’ I ask his neighbour in turquoise T-shirt with the text  “Greatness” in curly characters on it. 

Standing with his hands on his back he answers shy but at the same time resolute: ‘doctor.’

‘Very good.’ And we are all laughing.

‘Who wants to become teacher?’

Many not understanding faces. When Rukun translated it for them (guru he says) spontaneously many fingers go in the air. Followed by many laughing again. 

To a boy in black T-shirt leaning with his elbows on the table in the middle I ask:  ‘what do you like to play?’

Not surprising, but showing he understands the question very well he says: ‘Football.’ 

‘You like Dutch football, from Holland?’

This too much, this he doesn’t understand and again Mister Rukun is the big saviour and says: ‘ Zidane, from Francis, favourite in Indonesia. Football from Holland before good, but now a little bit down.’

I can only agree with that.

Now they are going to change places. The boys and girls in the first row have to change with those on the second row, although the ones on the second row are not very eager to change, they like to stay hidden for all these difficult questions. 

I start with the new bunch on the right: ‘how is your garden, you have many flowers in your garden?’ Rukun translates: ‘bunga.’

‘Which colours? Yellow? Blue?’

Rukun says:’pink.’

Indefatigable I continue: ‘you have vegatables in your garden, trees?’ My question goes in the direction of a girl in green shirt with long sleeves.


‘Yes,’ happy that she knows something.

‘’Coconuttree?’ ‘Kelapa,’  I hear Rukun helping.

And suddenly is there Fifi from behind the children. Very well, then she can take over.

Also Fifi starts with asking names. ‘Wayan,’ answers the girl and Rukun explains to us that all the first borns are called Wayan or Putu on Bali. And adds: ‘Now on Bali only one child. Many years ago more than five.’

Fifi asks who are called  Wayan or Putu? Almost all the fingers go in the air.

Also Mister Rai comes along. The children say a friendly selamat pagi to him. He laughs. He brings me the book of Fred. B. Eiseman: “Sekala and niskala”. With the remark: ‘very interesting.’

Probably because I showed so much interest in Bali habits yesterday. I have the book at home. I ask him if he knows him personally?

‘Yes we met.’ And gone he is.

Fifi continues her lesson and asks: ‘How old you think I am?’

Fifi is showing her age by holding all her ten fingers spreaded, with each ten making a movement and counting loudly: ‘ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty and then plus eight.’ Of course ending with eight fingers in the air. When she is counting all the students are counting with her. ‘And how old are you?’ to a girl very close to her.‘Ten years old,’ and she repeats it several times.

I point in the direction of Fifi and say: ‘she is an artist, she makes drawings. She can do that very beautiful.’

‘Sketch,’ Fifi explains.

‘After breakfast (I am really longing to that, I am getting hungry) she is going to make a portrait of mister Tujoes.’

‘You know mister Tujoes?’ Fifi throws the question in the group.

You can see them thinking.

Rukun translates it for them and in our direction: ‘he often come here, stay here, I come here to practise.’

I take over from Fifi again, then she can film me. A nice action. And I continue immediately with the question to the small group of girls who are now on the edge: ‘when you dance, what are you dancing, are you then a princess?’

Rukun is again the helping hand and says: ‘now new creation‘. And puts them behind each other. Immediately the girls start to dance, they know what to do. They are turning the fingers gracefully in all the directions. Moving the hips. All the others are looking at it and laugh. When they have finished we are clapping our hands. ‘Where do you learn this?’ Rukun answers for them: ‘in the village, one studio.’

‘What is the name of the studio?’

‘No name.’ And everybody is laughing. Stupid question, I think.

‘Okay the studio has no name, but what is then the name of your teacher?’

Rukun is telling the name, but I don’t understand.

The young ladies complimenting upon their dancing abilities: ‘you want to be famous, big star?’

Rukun continues now answering for them: ‘Balinese dancing is very famous.’

The sound of cocks in the distance seem to confirm that: ‘Mario was very famous.’

Slowly speaking out the words I start talking about Holland: ‘I ...live... in... Holland. Holland... is...flat. No...mountain. Many...water. Water ...is...here. Land...is...there. Land...is...more...low...then...the...water.’ With one hand hogher than the other I try to make it visible.

Rukun probably the only one who understood it well: ‘if rainy season, maybe the flock.... that is big problem.’

Another question comes into my mind: ‘do you know what is snow?’

Rukun explaining in his slow way of English speaking: ‘they know from the picture, white.’

‘Now in Holland there is snow. And very cold. Zero degree. When it becomes below zero the water changes in ice. And then people skate on it with shoes with a small iron under it.’

‘Ski-ing,’ Rukun thinks he understands. ‘No, no ski-ing, it’s skating, that is different.’

And the cocks continue with their well known sounds. As if they want to make it clear: it is time for stopping. We end the session with making some pictures and say goodbye to Mister Rukun and his disciplined students. We are almost running for our breakfast.

After breakfast in the balé where last night we had dinner, now again accompanied by Tujoes, we walk linea recta back to our veranda (‘what is most convenient to you,’ said Tujoes when we asked him where and how) together with him, because Fifi wants to draw him immediately. But not after making a fast picture of him in front of a painted portrait of his grandfather (the one who had four wives).

Fifi puts all her courage together, because she did not do it for a long time.

But I know she can. Taksu. She has the taksu. And I send her some good energy when we settle ourselves round the table with marble table-top, which is already so familiar for us.

Tujoes arrives with crayons and a piece of paper.

Fifi is checking the both sides of the paper and expresses her preference for the soft side.

After breakfast in the balé where last night we had dinner, now again accompanied by Tujoes, we walk linea recta back to our veranda (‘what is most convenient to you,’ said Tujoes when we asked him where and how) together with him, because Fifi wants to draw him immediately. But not after making a fast picture of him in front of a painted portrait of his grandfather (the one who had four wives).

Fifi puts all her courage together, because she did not do it for a long time.

But I know she can. Taksu. She has the taksu. And I send her some good energy when we settle ourselves round the table with marble table-top, which is already so familiar for us.

Tujoes arrives with crayons and a piece of paper.

Tujoes immediately starts directing the whole act. Fifi doesn’t mind.

He says pointing with his finger on the paper of A4-format: ‘like this, little bit, I want this big.’

When he really is starting with posing he leans back in the chair and moves the little green cup in the direction of his mouth.

He is wearing a nice white almost transparant shirt with small also while dots and long sleeves. An udang in the colours white and a little bit of blue on the head. The udang is closed on the top, which is quite unusual on Bali. Mostly on Bali it is like a band or scarf so you can always see the dark hair. 

The whole outfit is completed by a sarong in the colours brown and white.

On the beackground the monotone sound of a machine. They are still building nextdoors. He lights not his first cigarette.

Even before having put one line on the blanco paper, he points out that Fifi should sign the drawing: ‘you put your name very big on it.’

Because another time, as he explains, also one woman made portrait of him and he points backwards, where it is supposed to be ‘and she forget’.

I try to discover it somewhere on the walls, but I don’t see it. What I see is a painted selfportrait, Tujoes showing some years ago with very long hair, put on the top of an antlers of deer.

‘She had also red hair?’ Fifi asks. ‘No, no, but same age.’

I points to the big painting on the back of Fifi showing many wild animals with in the middle the figure of a woman. Tujoes explains: ‘Tantri. Woman like animal.’

‘That she changes in animal?’

‘No she loves animal. And animal loves her.’

‘She is a goddess?’

‘Yes. But becomes like normal people. Bali story.’

It seems to be for me that Dewi Tantri is very typical for Bali.

Known in in the hindu-archipel are the tantristories, which are famous in India under the name “the panchatantra”.

Which means the five wise lessons. Animal stories with a moral teaching.

Long ago there was in India a king who had three sons. The king was not very satisfied with the achievementsof his sons and invited the wise Wishnu Sharma to his palace to teach his sons.

Wishnu Sharma said to his king: ‘more important then knowledge is knowing how to use it. I will teach your sons how to think, not what to think. And then they will be ready to rule the world.’

And then he started telling. Stories with a moral lesson. Probably they are again the basis for the stories of Fontaine. Very known in the west.

On particular candi on Jawa you can find images of these stories. Famous are those of Mendut, very near the Borobudur. And climbing up the Borobudur with the many images of the jataka-stories, also those are animal stories with a lesson, in those cases buddhist teachings.

Tujoes points to his left eye: ‘my eyes fixed.’ Expressing that he wants to have drawn his left eye fixed down. He is of the opinion that this is a good posture to be caught on the paper.

Fifi agrees completely. Artists amongst each other.

Fifi first makes a rough drawing by pencil. The result is already satisfying, but the essence is still not there.

But that is coming. With the crayons Fifi is creating the accents.

Fifi says: ‘long time ago.’

Meaning that it is a long ago, she did such a thing for the last time.

He asks: ‘we are happy here?’

‘Yes, we walk ...we have holiday ... nice room.’

Tujoes tells that the people on Bali likes to talk about Bali. Yes this we already noticed. He takes another bite of the small pieces of fruit. On the table is a little dish with ramputan. ‘This is your breakfast?’ pointing on the fruit.

No, he already eats at five o’clock in the morning. He bought a snack – egg with rice – voor 3000 rupiah in the street. Get up early when it was still dark to buy cigarettes. ‘This packet,’ he is holding it high, clearly almost empty.

‘Shops already open?’

‘Yes some.’

‘Already people on the street?’

‘Yes some are going to the market, they carry things, like firewood.’

Fifi asks him if he knows Dali?

‘Yes, sure.’ He likes surrealism very much. ‘Do you know also the painter Blanco?’ When we visited last year his museum in Ubud, we automatically were thinking of Dali, this of his pompous style of painting. ‘We called him the Dali of Bali.’

Yes, he had a conversation with Blanco – ‘I try to learn from him’ – but could not make much of his directions. But even the Balinese wife of Blanco had to admit that their son, who is also a very talented painter, never something could learn from his father: ‘he never teaches.’

The cremation of Blanco was indeed a great happening in Ubud some years ago. Tujoes was not there, but attended the so called “cleaning”.

I ask him where his name Tujoes comes from? We never heard the name before.

Tujoes: ‘like agung becomes ajus, agus becomes ajus’ (agus is shortening of bagus which meaning is: beautiful, also in the sense of proud  and also a noble title). And he adjusts: ‘and tu is my caste.’ His little daughter, herself listening to the beautiful name of Saraswati calls him: Tuji, daddy. 

‘And the name Rukun?’

‘Rukun is Balinese for rapat. Means together. Good family. Good relation.’

‘So then that’s a very good name for him, because he is very good in communication,’ is our reaction. ‘Yes he tries to be friendly with everybody.’

When Fifi is more or less ready with the drawing, she shows the result to Tujoes. 

The background she left empty. He looks at it and is speechless for a while.

Is it not what he expected?

‘Yes,’ says Fifi, ‘seeing yourself through the eyes of another can always be disapointing.’

And reassuring: ‘when I look at it I see a very interesting beautiful man.’ Specially on his request is very well to see the powernecklace he is wearing.

On his advice Fifi puts some brown in the background. Very lightly. But enough to strengthen it. It is really the finishing touch according to Fifi.

Tujoes is nodding, he is also satisfied now: ‘you put your name.’

In between we are talking a lot. Tujoes is very interested in the things I did in my life. I show him the pictures of our daughters.

And my diary. The written version of this. The diary with the illustrations and pictures I pasted in. A very colourful book. How I get these pictures?

I explain him that these are prints from old books or from internet. And parts of the children drawings which I was allowed to take with me by the father in law of our driver Cerick, who is a teacher in this field. Sometimes I also make a fast drawing and he admires the impression of the room, which I made yesterday.

He is recognizing the interior of the room, which I consider as a compliment.

He expresses his wish that he would like to do the same thing: writing.

I say: ‘yes that’s a good idea, write down what is in your mind, your ideas, your emotions.’

I consider writing as a kind of going out of your body. I am not there for a moment. I don’t feel my body. And for sure not here on Bali the heat and the sweat.

It should be something for Tujoes whose motto almost is, because he is saying it often: ‘my life is very inconvenient.’

But I suggests that he must in fact experience the same thing when he is painting. Because also then in t

he middle of the creative process you come very close to your inner world.

From the outside to the inside and reverse.

In buddhism we talk about “mind”. In hinduism it is about “atman”.

But Tujoes finds this in practice very difficult: ‘very hard.’

During breakfast we had already the opportunity to admire his shy little daughter.

She came to sit on his lap. Very sweet.

He has also a son of fourteen years old, who is no in Denpasar. He is the drummer of the palace. He took the drumkit to Denpasar, which explains why it is not there for the moment.

Talking about making music, Tujoes himself plays a little bit guitar and sometimes they jammed together. The drummer has to follow the guitar. ‘That’s different with the gamelan, isn’t it?’ I ask.

Yes with the gamelan the drummer is the leader. I had already this impression, which now is confirmed.

During the drawing session Madé is serving water. He is taking good care for us.

Tujoes himself suggests to go for a walk later in the morning. And lunch will be served at one o’clock.

We have still a long day ahead of us (full of surprise?) and are realising we have already had enough.

Fifi is very happy with the result. When we are in our room alone she cannot hide her tears anymore. It is a very nice idea knowing that there will be a drawing of you hanging here in the palace.

Before Tujoes walks away with the drawing I make digital picture of it. So then later in Holland we can print it our ourselves on the same size and put it on the wall of our living room.

On the drawing, now with Fifi’s signature on it, Tujoes writes on the backside: from the dear people from Holland.

It’s now twelve o’clock and we take our rest for a while, which we do in what we call “the dark room”.

When later I look for Tujoes to go for the planned tour before the lunch, I discover him jumping from behind a painting put in an open window. So there he lives. But he is not able now to go for a walk, he explains. He is suddenly not feeling so well.

And then we decide also not to go, which we don’t mind it all. We are killing time by playing with our digital cameras on the veranda, realising that we are feeling more and more at home.

In absence of mister Rai and Tujoes now Mister Rukun is keeping us company with the lunch. Many stories about Bali again.

He is telling for instance that Balinese people are lying with the feet in direction of the sea: kelod, the bad direction. And that of bad direction has proved to be true, because the terrorists came from the sea. ‘Balinese people, don’t do a thing like that,’ he explains. 

Also the disappearing of the Balinese language worries him. The result of merging of the local into the global world. I tell him that we experience the same thing in our countries.

The anglification of our own language for instance. But according Mister Rukun the government now over here has been awakened and now the Balinese language is being teached again in the schools.

He continues explaining that there are three levels of Balinese language: high, middle and low. Madé speaks middle in the direction of Tujoes. Tujoes low to Madé (but I know this system of other Asian languages, for instance I know this from the Tibetan). Mister Rukun himself has three children. The oldest (thirty years of age) and most learned (on university he switched from the dentist study to economy) is now since three months in America (as part of his study he is now working in a hotel). These studies of his children cost him a lot of money. And still. That’s why he goes every afternoon on his motorbike to his ricefield with his wife. He grows apart from rice all kind of vegatables on his little field. Products which they can sell on the market, ‘like chili...is expensive.’

The second (a daughter) has studied pharmacy. She has now a job in the hospital of Bangli, not far from where she lives now. The third ( a son) lives and works in Kediri. That’s not far from Kerambitan. The daughter has three children, the youngest son one child since some months. The oldest (the one in America) is still bachelor.

The dessert consists like always of a plate with different kinds of fruit. Mister Rukun asks if all this fruit is also available in our country.

‘Yes some, some is being imported. But apple we have ourselves.’

‘On Bali we import apple from New Zealand, Australia, America. On Bali it is called apple from New Zealand, apple from America.’

We say thanks to Madé in Balinese for the nice food:’matur suksma’. And say to each other something in Dutch, which has the same sound. A way to remember the words. But mister Rukun recognizes the words as Dutch and says: ‘I want to learn about Dutch.’

‘Don’t do that, too difficult, too complicated. And (joking): ‘you know why, because people in Holland are complicated. We say goodbye and he is inviting us for tomorrow in his house. We promise him that we will do that another time. Because we are certainly coming back next year.

During lunchtime I clearly recognize in the balé behind Fifi the man, who is now giving massage to someone of the family. Last year when we visited the puri for the first time very shortly he showed us the place, hardly being able to speak English. But he was very friendly and offered us coffee. And massage was his ability.

The always attentive Madé sees me looking in that direction and asks if we are also interested in massage. We don’t know really. Fifi doesn’t want it for sure and I am doubting. We will see.

Mister Rai we don’t see. From Madé we hear that it is still not good with his wife.

The afternoon we use for resting. We are doing completely nothing. Except for some hanging around on the veranda.

In the balé nearby I find a program for this evening.

I am reading it with attention. Now we know a little bit more, what we can expect.

It is announced with: “Cultural Evening, Royal Reception at Puri Anyar Kerambitan”.

According the announcement on the paper on A4 size the program starts at seven o’clock in the evening when the “honourable guests arrive at the puri welcomed by welcoming ceremonies”.

The guests will be welcomed outside the puri by men, wearing burning torches, by those showing the way to the entrance of the palace. Followed by other men with big wooden cowbells (the so called “okokan”), symbolizing that Kerambitan is a rich village concerning food (rice). And they are followed by women  who will give flowers (called “cane”, a flowerarrangement) to the guests (“say it with flowers”).

And a group of female dancers with an gong orchestra, who will actually guide the guests when they will enter the puri compound.

At half past seven the guests will by then be arrived on the ground before the palace (so next to the big waringin), where they will be welcomed by the brother of mister Rai, mister Bapak Agung Ngura Oka, in function as head of the palace. After that he will then invite them to enter the puri by going through the main entrance (the “kori agung”). In the meantime blessed by the holy water by the “holliman of the palace” (so it is mentioned on the paper).

And then the buffet starts. We are wondering if we are invited for this part too? But we will see. Tujoes asked us specially to stay for the dancing. And during the buffet there will be also dancing. With music y a big “baleganjur”-orchestra. And according the paper then the real dance performance starts. After which the guests are being invited to take a look in the inner part of the palace the so called “tandakan”. The part where we already have the privilige to stay.

I am curious about the dancing. Anyway we will see how things will develop. We will be ready y that time. At half past six we keep ourselves ready on our veranda waiting patiently in our Balinese outfit for the things to come. 

We look both very nice and beautiful. And make pictures of each other in the other balé with the royal seats, with the intention to put them later together on the computer. 

Suddenly we experience some movement in the first part of the palace territory.

That is about time, because we were already wondering, if there is anything taking place after all and that we have understood it well, because one hour ago there was nothing to see of any action of preparation for the evening.

I take a look and the first action in the direction of preparation is the making of the “penjors” next to the entrance. I exchange some words with the men who are busy with this.

I point to such a long bambupole, along the side of which long strips of natural leaf are being attached and say: ‘penjor?’

‘Decoration,’ reacts the man in blue shirt laughing, who is standing most close to me and is very busy with turning leaf in circles and then attaching those to the pole.

And continues: ‘you know Indonesian?’

‘No no just a little bit. I try.’

‘Yes try,’ and his whole face is laughing.

In fact penjors are offering, but they are also used with no religious events, like here by now with the welcome celebration. Then they really act like decorations. As the man said.

From the books I learned that the top of a penjor reresents the Gunung Agung. The pole is the river through which the water is flowing from the mountains to the sea. All the leaf attachements are symbols for the harvest. Normally there is on the bottom of the penjor a small temporary shrine. These penjors will be placed next to the main entrane, that’s clear. If I look in that direction I discover long flags with the colours green, white and red (like the Italian flag) also attached to long bambupoles. The party will soon be there. Let’s  go.

About seven o’clock I take another look. On the first compound, in the middle of which is a big tree with big burning Chinese lanterns by now, people are very busy to make things ready for the meal. Long tables covered by cloth in the colours red and yellow under the balés.

Ten minutes later we keep ourselves “ready” in this part close to the entrance.

And soon we hear the sounds of a gamelan-orchestra coming from the other side in the direction of the street.

We walk through the entrance and notice men wearing the well known sarongs in black and white, standing posted with burning torches along the both sides of the street. Many people suddenly. Where are the all come from? Quite an ambiance with all those fires in the darkness of the Balinese evening

And there is the group with the painted cowbell on each belly. On the okokan the vivid faces of bomas with the spreaded hands, the same picture you can see above the gates of many temples on Bali.

The men are swinging the okokan ferociously in different rythms accompanied by a deafening knocking sound.

Madé is discovering us standing on the backside of the street and urges us that we should go on the street.

For us it is not so necessary but he urges again we should join the guests, which are all Asian people, probably Japanese.

We are encountering two rows of ladies in the colours red and goldyellow, with towers of woven natural material on top of their heads. The upper part of this in a half circle, with radial strips of bananaleaf (called sampian?).

Fifi whispers in my ear  that she is smelling incense.

They make place to let through the dancers. 

These shining ladies are holding the so called cane in the right hand. 

They are waving with it elegantly. These cane are flowerarrangements with strips of leaf going down. 

With the other hand they make the well known Balinese dancing gestures. It looks like they are blessing the earth before we can touch it.

It is the invitation to enter the compound just in front of the entrance.

When we are also arriving a woman gently makes it clear that here it for us ends.

Because ‘these people paid for the package.’

We understand it completely, we are already happy enough that we could attend the welcoming ceremony this far and walk through the entrance in one line to our little house, it feels if we are living here. 

And in fact it is feeling well that we are not reckoned to the guests.

And who is there already waiting for us on our veranda: Tujoes. He is better now.

We are going to sit to the round table which we now know so well. It looks like the table knows us and is inviting us gently. So this is how it has to be. We feel very comfortable now.

Tujoes is immediately again the friendly storyteller again, like his father.

But the talking is very “inconvenient”  by his illness as he calls it.

He wants directly come to business. He asks if we can sell his paintings in Holland.

Or do we know a gallery? Or somebody who wants to paint in the puri for a while, he could stay eventually “for free”, he is taking care of a model.

‘But what is then your interest in this?’ The answer is that he then has a contact in Holland who could help him with a gallery.

Immediately I must think of a good friend of ours and also painter. But we did not see him for a while. I talk it over with Fifi. I know that our friend already has been one time on Bali and that he liked it very much, he was even the one from whom we borrowed a book about Bali when we had plans to go for the first time to Bali and he has even some Indonesian blood in his veins. We decide we will contact him when we are back in Holland. ‘But not certain, we will try.’

I ask him if we can e-mail him? No he has no computer and it has not his interest at all: ‘boring,’ he calls it. Looking for hours to such a screen it is not his “thing”.

But SMS by telephone, that is possible. He wants to come back on this tomorrow, because he wants to give us some phonenumbers.

In the meantime the female servants in colourful Balinese red and yellow came along with big plates with food in their hands. They are now patiently and chatting amongst each other, waiting for a sign and are holding the plates with one hand in the air.

The gamelan starts a new tune, I hear now a flute very clear and characteristic above all the other sounds of the instruments.

As curious as ever I am going for to take a look in the compound next by, where now the buffet is fully going. The members of the gamelan-orchestra in their red tenues have taken place in the balé just in front of the one where all the guests have taken place.

I can see the fluteplayer now. He is blowing with full cheeks. I have the impression that he is using his cheeks as a kind of bagpies, breathing all the time through by breathing through his nose without interruption, as I

 know from the Ti

betan monks.

When I come closer I can see the Japanese guests - a new Japanese occupation, I am thinking – sitting along the long tables with mister Oka in the middle.

(... while I am writing this on my bed in the dark room, a bunch of roaring frogs is starting the session for the night ...)

And there is the driver of the house with a mask of a red pig on his head. He doesn’t mind it all when I want to take a picture of him and he is doing some act.

Returned on the familiar spot on the veranda Tujoes is showing interest for the little malas which I wear round my right wrist. Specially he shows interest for the one which I received from two Chinese ladies in one of the small streets of Hongkong. I show him how to use it.

He also wants to try. And repeats the mantra: ‘Om mani padme hum.’

It is the mantra which I learned from Tibetan Lamas. It is in fact the most famous mantra.

‘Shall I give it to him?’ I think loudly in the direction of Fifi.

‘Yes, why not?’

First he doesn’t want to accept the little present, but after some urge from our side he takes it.

If he understands, that it was a gift to me, he wants to return it immediately to me, because apparently it is here the habit things given to you not to give to another. Something you receive, you don’t give.

I say, that in fact I paid for it, because I gave a donation for a temple and then they gave me this in return.

Okay, then it is alright. And he accepts it now completely. And he repeats the mantra: “Om mani padme hum.’

He is a fast student and asks what is the meaning of the mantra?

‘Love and compassion.’ Thinking and taking care of the other. That eventually you also help yourself by this way of thinking. 

‘An attractive idea,’ he reacts. Because he wants to be cured from his illness. Getting rit of “this inconvenient life”. 

He asks the Chinese characters on the little pale yellow balls are representing the mantra? I say to him that I don’t know. I don’t know Chinese. But for sure it will mean something well. He wants to ask it to a Chinese man.

And I give him my spare reading glasses. I noticed he can use it well and in our country you buy one for almost nothing. Fifi makes a picture of him, looking very clever with the glasses on.

Sitting like this during a Balinese night, having nice time with Tujoes and enjoying the nice food which Madé  is bringing us ( a grilled fish, a mountain of saté, an egg and rice of course, with as dessert the well known plate of fruit) we feel really the “incrowd”  with on the background “the party”  for the guests. We are no guests. We are the insiders. The others the outsiders.

Tujoes is telling me that when he saw me sitting in the beginning of the evening wearing my sarong on the little stairs of the veranda, he was thinking: ‘just like a monk.’ This is a shot right in the bull’s eye. And I tell him I indeed was a (buddhist) monk. These kind of clothes fit me well. And I feel also very well in it. And in the time that I was walking around in the clothes of a monk the Tibetans themselves said: ‘he really looks like a Tibetan.’

And then Tujoes makes a gesture to go with him. We are passing the compound of the buffet, which is now completely empty. Everyone has moved to the territory in front of the puri to look to the performance of the traditional dancing. 

We pass the gamelan, which has taken place to the side. All the members say softly hello to him. He seems to know everyone.

So this is it, for which we had to stay.

A friendly man is leading us gently to a place to sit very close to the gamelan on the side of the stage. In front of the stage with on the backside the entrance of the puri are nicely sitting in rows the Asian guests. On the stage the dancing is already started. Beautiful girls in beautiful goldcoloured dress.

Mister Oka in the middle in the first row seated on one of the plastic red chairs.

Filming the performance from the side is not easy.

And walking I try to find a better place. More central. Immediately someone arrives with a chair.

The dancing girls are performing a dance in which they seem to appear as butterflies. When they stretch their arms very elegantly in a rhytmic way the cloths between the arms and the tiny bodies are spreaded out. Very clearly I can discover butterfly decaration in gold on them.

It is fascinating and they become almost real as butterflies in their movements. I expect any moment they will fly away.

After an half hour it is finished and Tujoes urges us to let us selves “pictured” with the dancers. I had already seen the Japanese doing this. Apparently it is part of the “ritual”.

Tujoes makes the picture with the camera of Fifi. Nice anyway.

When the three of us have returned on our spot on the veranda for a last drink, Tujoes goes back to our last item of discussion: being a monk.

In particulary living in celibacy has his interest. How you can keep your vow? How to maintain? I tell him that if you are a monk, you are there for the world. That makes it easy. One who has not taken the vows still continues living with his problems, of which one is the sexual problem. Because it is never enough. Both is dificult. 

And we talk about eating vegatarian. Even when your habit is eating in a vegetarian way, you continues in killing. Because to grow vegetables you also kill the small animals in the ground. There is never a solution and exactly that is what in buddhism is called: samsara. Tujoes agrees completely.

The Japanese are now hanging around not far from us, because they have now proceeded to the part of the package which implies the sightseeing of the puri. For this reason they have put the puri now in a fairy-tale like light. Lights everywhere.

One Japanese man comes very close to us and makes a picture of Fifi. We are laughing with this scene. I joke: ‘when he comes home and shows the picture to his friends he says: look a Balinese red headed princess.’

From the dark a Balinese woman enters the veranda together with some kids. They come to say hello to Tujoes. It’s clear they know each other very well. They have a serious though animated conversation.

I  ask Tujoes: Mick Jagger visited the puri more then one time? Yes, several times. Three times. But he was always behaving (contradictory to his lively behaviour which we know so well of him as a member of the Rolling Stones) very quietly. He did not say much. His wife Jerry was the one who did the talking.

Tujoes tries to get me me in all kind of business. Now he starts talking that I should start a kind of traveling agence. Of course I could do that. Tujoes says to Fifi that I am smart enough to do such a thing. And she agrees with him. But do I want that? That’s the question.

When it is almost time to break up our little party, Tujoes looks at the pictures Fifi made this evening. And at the same time I make a picture of the two, so incredibly touching standing together.

I almost forget to tell that Fifi is wearing a kebaja which she borrowed from Dewi, the friendly wife of Tujoes. 

Concerning traditional clothes she only brought a sarong with her from Ubud, eventually for going to a temple. But that we should experience a thing like this today, of course we did not expect that. However: I had everything with me.

This afternoon Dewi came to us, offering the kebaja spontaneously. But of course it was too small for Fifi. They entered then the “dark room”. Sitting outside on the veranda I could hear them laughing. The white kebaja was held together by pins. Fifi could close the kebaja on first sight, but with the first breath of hers after that action something jumped out.

But she is looking fantastic in it. It is a very nice blouse, made of natural material, lace-trimmed. Not transparant like so many kebajas on Bali, which we don’t like so much because you can see the pointed bras through them so well.

And I tell Tujoes the story of the naked breasts, in the time of the puritan Dutch that they were supposed to cover them. One time when some women appeared on a oficial meeting, despite the law, with naked breasts, they were ordered to cover them. Okay they said and pulled up their sarongs, by this showing their other intimate parts of the body! Tujoes considers this a tremendous story.

He didn’t know it. I read it in a book. Tujoes makes up his mind to tell it to other tourists.

And I give him another idea: on the veranda there is a frame without a painting. An empty frame. Holding the frame in front of me Fifi made a picture of that. Hans framed. He admired the picture when “walking”  through them just now.

He speaks out his intention to do this also with other guests.

Back in our room we have a lot of effort, but on the same time a lot of fun, making a photo with ourselves both on it (with the timer). We do it over several times, but the result is a nice picture of the happy couple in the end of a very nice and special day.

When I go out of the bed in the middle of the night for a little pee I discover three frogs on the gravel path which crosses the bathroom. The botanical garden with all its flora and fauna. Fantastic!

The roaring frogs outside have then already stopped making their loud noises. 

I really have to sleep now. That night I wake up all the time with new ideas for writing a story. A story with a prince and frog. Like the old fairy tale. But different. With many Balinese forms and characters. All starting in this dark room in Kerambitan.

Ghostlike leyaks. Threatening heads of frightening animals. Big mouths with fangs or tusks. 

Don’t be afraid. It’s only your karma what makes you afraid.   

It’s like a dream. It is a dream. Even so called reality is like a dream.


What is the difference? All appearances are only appearances. Then the monotone sound of a bird. Followed by the high pitch of an other bird. Then everythings stops. No sound anymore. It is deadly quiet.

And then a tokeh after all.  A rustle. A squeak. And then the monotone sound is there again. Slowly, fast. Like Morse characters. Metallic. Signs. Signs from the underworld.

The light goes out.

It’s cold all of a sudden. Is there the sea goddess? Ratu Kidul in her colour green? And Kadru, the mother of the snakes and producer of the egg, from which Garuda was born?

A floating fireball. Dancing. 

Sounds of gamelan. 

The dance of destruction and birth. Impermanence. The all going change. 


The pighead of Wayan. The images in the garden.

With on the background the split gate.

And suddenly there is the frog again. My frog. On the board of the lavatory pan. Did I dream? What does it matter. 

In my youth I had a dark room for developing my pictures. It was always a miracle to see the images slowly coming up from nothing. Life is the same. Everything we experience are images on a screen. So also this story, this dream. Everything coming up in the dark room.

Here on Bali they talk about sekala and niskala. The seen and the unseen.

What you believe, that’s there. So also this experience in the dark room. Just like that.

In the morning with breakfast Mister Rai is keeping us company for the last time!

Dressed in blue jogging trousers and white polo shirt. He informs how it was last evening.

We talk about our plans and that our big friend Cerick is going to pick us up. And that we will go tomorrow with him to his mother in Bongancina, also to attend a ceremony there.

He knows the place. The region of the coffee. And immediately he starts talking. He tells that when he was there Dutch law was still in action. Meaning that the coffeebeans were not allowed to be plucked too soon. He was the “controleur”.  Took the beans in the hand for inspection. And when he came to the conclusion they had been plucked too soon he fined the farmers a penalty. That’s the way it went.

He tells that he likes hunting. 

‘O yes,’ for a moment we are startled.

But he is “humane”  hunter. ‘Only one shot, then no suffering.’

He talks about a Chinese spiritual man he knows, who is just shooting around in a tree withour really aiming. And when he shot an animal then said: ‘yes, that is his karma.’ Meaning bad luck for the animal. Keeping clean hands because it was not his goal to kill, that was his argumentation. But mister Rai cannot approve this behaviour at all and we also not. 

He asks us to write something in the Golden Book. 

I write in English and in capital letters, so everyone can read how well we have been cared for. Last but not least we express our gratitude towards Madé.  Mister Rai listens carefully when I read the text loudly for him and coming up the last sentence his face lifts up: that we also think of him.

Tujoes passes and is saying mantras using the Chinese mala I gave him with the small yellow balls. 

OM MANI PADME HUM. And does it help already?

He thinks so and is laughing. For a moment I have the impression he is doing better. And he says: ‘magic.’

Cerick phones me that he is coming, in fact one hour too early, but it is okay. Tujoes writes down some telephonenumbers on the inside of an empty packet of cigarettes. Phonenumber of friends in Holland. He is giving us some homework by asking us if we can say hello from him. 

Shortly after that Cerick is already on the phone telling that he is at the entrance. The always helpful Madé immediately takes our luggage. Together with Tujoes, slowly and gently walking and at the same time enjoying his cigarette, we are going in the direction of the car.

The saying goodbye is touching.

When we are entering Tabanan, Fifi notices that she has forgotten her special cushion. Cerick proposes to pass the puri by tomorrow, because the puri is on the way to Bongancina.

The next day, on our way to Tabanan, we pass again the peanutsfields.

‘It’s peanuts,’ Cerick is doing his joke.

In Tabanan we pass again the big statue on the main cross roads. Cerick tells now the meaning: it is the “dasa mukun”,  if I hear well. Balinese for the ten faces.

After Tabanan we do our sidetrip to Krambitan, to pick up the cushion of Fifi. In no time we are there. It looks all very familiar now.

When I have entered the puri I see immediately that “our”  door is open. Next to it a bucket with some cleaning gear. I say loudly “hello”, but no reaction.

I go inside. And I find the little cushion exactly on the spot Fifi told me. Of course I can walk away now, having what I came for, but I consider that as not very nice. 

So I walk in the direction where the family resides. A small path I know now so well.

I expect to encounter Tujoes somewhere, but no sight of him.

But under the well known balé  I discover mister Rai talking with an older person.

They are so deeply involved in their conversation, that they don’t notice me.

With a soft “hello” I announce my presence. Mister Rai is very surprised to see me again. And I explain him about the cushion. That it is very important for Fifi in relation to her artritis and her back.

I am surprised he still knows my name, when he welcomes me with my name: ‘Hans.’

And immediately he starts talking, for the moment completely his conversation partner forgetting and tells that yesterday afternoon a group of Dutch people visited the puri. And because they were from a traveling organization he showed my writing in the book: ‘thanks to your recommendation in the book, they are very interested to organise something.’

He expresses his thanks for that. And invites us to attend the ritual this morning.

But I say that we have already a ceremony in Bongancina.

‘O yes,’ he remembers.

‘And the family is waiting for me in the car.’

When I leave he praises my Balinese dress, which I put on the last minute before we left Ubud, seeing the whole family in Balinese outfit. 

Entering the car I joke to Cerick I had an important conversation with the king about him. He laughs and starts the engine.

For a moment I had the feeling I stepped back in my dream of Kerambitan again.  

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