donderdag 16 juli 2009

We are Hans and Fifi and in 2007 we for the first time visited the Puri Anyar in Kerambitan, not far from Tabanan. This is the diary of the two fantastic days we had. And in the course of the time we returned there several times. So the twin brothers Mister Rai and Mister Oka, Tujoes, Dewi, Mister Rukun and many more became very soon our friends. And if you want a royal stay in a beautiful place, surrounded by many flowers and nice decoration, good interesting talking, splendid food, friendly village and everything what can makes life beautiful, we can recommend the Puri Anyar. Life is beauty, beauty is life. It is written on the golden guestbook of the puri.

When in the morning we get in the car in Ubud to go to Kerambitan, it is raining cats and dogs! I almost cannot see where we are on the road because of the raindrops which are sticking on the windows.

We are driving along finding our way through the raindrops on the narrow roads in the direction of Tabanan.

When we have to wait on a crossroads, a fat pink male pig is passing us, he can hardly walk because of his big balls. He goes on, without giving any look at us. Goes where? Wo knows? And I must think of the fact that soon in Chinese astrology the year of the pig will start.

Later a pickuptruck full of schoolkids in lightblue shirt with darkblue trousers are happy looking keeping company with us.

And then in the meantime the rain has slowly stopped.

We are passing peanutsfields. ‘Peanuts is good for the land,’ is Cerick explaining to us.

Cerick, our brother, friend, driver and guide in one person together. Laughing: ‘ I have a friend, I think he’s from England, who always says when something is easy: that’s peanuts.’

‘ Yes I know the expression.’

‘ But for me difficult to understand, because when he borrows sarong, he says: it’speanuts. And then I say: no it’s sarong.’

In Bahasa Indonesia they are called “kacang”, Cerick continues. There is also red peanuts and they are called “kacang merah”. And there is long bean: “kacang panjang”.

In this way chatting we reach Tabanan, de capital of the region. On a large roundabout a impressive statue with many heads and arms.

In the style of building we already noticed in Gianyar and Denpasar.

On the way back, which we are planning tomorrow, we want to pay a visit to the palace. I am “carrying” with me some prints of old pictures showing the outer walls of the palace from the time of the “puputan” in 1906.

One hundred years ago.

And I want to see, what I still can find. I recognise Kerambitan immediately, when I see the temple on the right side with all the porcelain plates and the incrompehensable statue under the big waringin in front of the palace.

Fifi and Cerick stay in the car, when I am taking a first look.

It is still the same labyrinth as I remember from last year. Soon I am losing my way. I realise that I am walking in circles, from one inner courtyard to the other. Narrow paths with many flowers and plants. New is the noise. Are they building somewhere? I hope not inside the “puri”. Is it closed because of that, I am wondering? And is that the reason I don’t see anyone?

I walk in the direction of the noise. The building people cannot help me. There is not one who speaks English.

Then go back. I meet a woman, but also she speaks no English. And then I encounter a tall man, I estimate his age somewhere round the beginning forties, in white cotton shirt with long sleeves and an easy comfortable yellow trousers: I am happy, finally I find someone who speaks English. He belongs to the “company” and we can get a room. The room on which we last year already let fall our eyes. Important for us because of the two beds, of which one is a four-poster bed. Not difficult to guess for who this one will be.

We follow the man in the white shirt to an inner courtyard somewhere behind on the compound. Under through one richly decorated gate after the other.

He says: ‘You buy land here, because Krambitan is beautiful.’

‘But we are not rich,’ Fifi reacts quickly.

‘You have many

friends of course.’

And continues: ‘How many children you have?’

‘Three. All girls.’

‘They not coming?’

In the meantime Fifi is worrying if we can find back the way to our room.

The young man seems to be the son of the royal family en introduces himself as Tujoes.

He invites us to take place under the “balé”, which looks like a big open drawing room with all the elegan

t chairs and sofas.

Wooden roomdividers, nicely sculptured.

De pillars have cloths in the wellknown Bali-block-motive in the colours red, white and black. The colours of Brahma, Shiwa and Wishnu. I make a gesture to put out my sandals, but that is not necessary and he asks if we want to drink something.

‘You like beer?’

Fifi knodding in my direction: ‘he likes beer, for me water please.’

Just as we set ourselves down in the comfortable seats, an handsome Balinese gentleman comes along in a white/black blocked sarong, white t-shirt and a goldbrown “udang” on the head. He is clearly the boss of the whole thing. And indeed he is the father of the son, who also just arrives with a bottle half liter beer for me.

His first question refers to the house, the pavilion, how should I call it?

He calls it: room. ‘You like room? It’s not like hotel.’

‘No, but is very special,’ are we reacting very enthousiastic.

‘Simple, but unique. This is my guestbook.’ And he shows a big book, which he takes from the small table next to him. The cover is saying in big Gothic writing:


Life is Beauty - Beauty is Life

The motto of Bali....

He introduces himself as Mister Rai.

He is the son of the last king. In the meantime is his son Tujoes modestly taking place on the corner of the balé.

Mister Rai at ease sitting in his chair tells us that most of his guests are coming from Europe.

‘From Holland, Swiss. And some American.’

‘Now no people?’

‘Sometimes ....and some years ago he had a special guest from Holland: ‘He was shot in Holland.’

‘In Holland?’

‘You remember? A politician.’

‘Van Gogh?’ we guess. ‘No, he stayed two nights.’ Mister Rai is searching in the book to look for the name of the killed Dutch politician. And then suddenly we remember: ‘Pim Fortuyn.’

‘Yes, no hair, tall.’

‘Was he alone?’


And at he same moment he finds the page on which Pim Fortuyn something has written.

‘He wrote good impression,’ he says.

Next to the big writing letters I see the a big picture of him with his big bald head.

And I read loudly the date: ‘May 6, 2002.’ And add to that: ‘That’s when he died I think.’

Tujoes put laughing two fingers in the air when I look in his direction. He wants us to stay for two nights.

‘We see.’

We still want to think about it and we can always phone to Cerick to pick us up a day later.

In the meantime another man arrived. It seems to be he is in good relation with Mister Rai. A friendly man with glasses, white cap and white poloshirt. His name is Rukun and he is a teacher. English.

‘And carver,’ he adds to that.

‘So you are also a good carver.’

‘No not so good,’ he says modestly. He just likes in doing that. He is now carving a statue out of sandlewood.

‘Nice mell, sandlewood,’ I remember from other travelling.

‘If you have time you come to my school.

His grandfather is in the middlle surrounded by the rajas of Karangasem (‘the most rich’) – ‘he is a Djelantik?’ I asks, ‘no Djelantik is Singaraja, leaderof the north’ – further the the rajas of Badung, Gianyar and from Negara in the west.

‘This is all family.’

They are all sitting showing very important and all nice dressed in official uniformlike jackets above the sarongs.

Holland is represented by the Controleur.

The picture must have been taken in a place somewhere between Amlapura (Karangasem) and Klungkung.

‘Somewhere in the middle,’ as he expresses it.

And adds that Badung, Tabanan and Klunkung in the beginning of the 20th century were the big oponents of the Dutch.

‘But had the whole thing not also to do with the opium-trade?’ I suggests. ‘With the control of it?’

Mister Rai starts telling about the smoking of the opium and makes a gesture with a long stem of a plant to his mouth as if he is smoking it.

‘O yes, nearly all the king, because who can buy the opium are the rich.’

And he tells that despite Kerambitan being a small district, there still was a special house, where visitors could smoke it.

So it was only for the royal and the rich, as he explains it.

But you also get lazy from it.

‘Hanging around, no works, nothing to do.’

And he tells that on his way to school in his young years he sometimes met a “grandpa” smoking and Mister Rai again makes the gesture with the stem pointing to the far end of it saying: ‘boiling.’

‘You yourself you smoked one time?’

‘No,’ is the very definite answer, ‘you get lazy,’ and this is something he really not likes.

And that “grandpa” lived also on the compound and was rich and that was the reason he could

afford it.

He continues about being rich. That it was only for the rich to send their children to a school.

‘When I go to school with my father to registrate, the Dutch asked: are you rich? And then my father replied: I don’t know .... but if you want the certificate of my land, next time I show. And because he was a little bit angry he showed next time the big book with all the certificates. The Dutchman said: yes indeed you are very rich, you are welcome ...’

And with eye for the less wealthy: ‘common people they go to school not very long.’

‘Yes but that was the same in our countries in old times.’

I must think of my own father who also did not come farther as the primary school, despite of his good learning. And he also told many times the story that in that time there were two schools existing next to each other, separated by a big fence.

One school for the poor (which they called the school of the cheap wooden shoes) and one school for the rich (who could afford leather shoes).

Holland 80 years ago!

I show Mister Rai small prints of the palace of Tabanan from the time of the puputan in the beginning of the 20th century. I copied them from the book of Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung.

I explain that on the way back tomorrow or day after tomorrow we want to take a look there.

I ask if it is still existing in this condition.

He looks to it with many attention. Mister Rukun is very curious and is looking with hem over his shoulder.

‘Chinese plates,’ is the first reaction. ‘When you go to my temple it’s the same, full of Blue Delft.’

Plates of decorated china, imbedded in the red brick of which the temples in this region are constructed.

Mister Rukun points to the plates comletely left on the picture.

We already saw the same phenomenon present in the puri of Pemecutan, nowadays in the noisy middle of Denpasar, which puri we visited last year.

At the time of the puputan, in that time a different kingdom apart of that of Badung, many walked right in the rifles of the Dutch.

And the decorated plates we also already saw in the temple just outside the Puri Anyar at the other side of the road, near the big waringin and the for us “strange” statue in the middle at the crossing.

Mister Rai explains that in his temple you can see a plate which originates from the period of Napoleon. He is very proud of that.

He takes the other picture and points to a higher small building on the right side: ‘They call loteng, high building. In the front courtyard you see here also. Because according to my father, they asked my grandfather: how come you have so many wives? How he do it? Very easy. Because everybody in the river, in the springwater the girls so pretty. The guard says to the girl: the king like to take you as wife. And family happy, but girl nervous and want to fly. And the building here is ffor watching the people going to the market. To see from high. Girls walking with vegetables. And according to my father the grandfather was sitting with some guards and when he saw a pretty girl, he says to them: I want her.’

We laugh: ‘ Good story.’

‘Yes and this is tradition. And the palace is here from the 17th century. We are now in the 9th generation.’

And pointing in the direction of Tujoes: ‘This is my only son. Further three daughters. Nine grandchildren.’

‘How many wives?’I dare to ask laughing, the answer already guessing.

‘Only one. But before girlfiend. When I was a student. Every month I change. Throw away the other,’ he says with a big smile.

‘How old are you now?’ asks Fifi.

‘That’s a good question. I tell. But we guess first.’

Fifi estimates his age on 65.

‘Plus 12, that’s my age.’ He is clearly flattered that we estimated him younger.

‘But how old you think she is?’ I ask him looking in the direction of Fifi.

‘Round 45.’

‘Plus 23!’ we react loudly and laughing. Also Rukun must laugh and says: ‘Because you look young.’

And Mister Rai gives his explanation: ‘Not only young, but looks so ... sexy!!!’

I also tell my age: ‘Next week I become 60.’

Mister Rukun is also 60. And we all agree dat we all four look younger then our age.

And Mister Rai continues: ‘Born in 1930. I had friends during Japanese occupation. The Japanese occupation was very difficult. They did bad things. They hit. Asked young people to work for them, to build things.’

‘Yes they did everywhere in the east. To build railways.’

‘I was at 5th class at “Lagere School”. Head of school. Here in Kerambitan. Every morning coming together hanging the flag of Japan and I was the leader. To do the promise to Japan.’

He continues with the text in Japanese, which he still knows by heart.

I say: ‘The funny thing is: now many Japanese are coming as tourist, everywhere on Bali.’

‘Yes first Australian, now Japan.’

I have another burning question for Mister Rai: ‘ does the name Kerambitan have some meaning?’

‘ Yes it means art.’ Many years ago many painters lived here. Also the name comes from “rawit”, means beautiful.’

‘ So has something to do with art and beautiful.’

‘In the 12th century Bali was ruled by a very bad king. Very cruel. Everybody suffering. The king on Jawa, Gajah Mada, who was very strong, sent five heros. They were the commanders/leaders of the troups. They were all brothers. The second brother was the predecessor of my family. The bad king lived in Bedulu. Close to Tampaksiring.’

‘Bedulu that’s near to Pejeng, isn’t it?’

Rukun reacts on my response with: ‘you know many things about Bali. You learn about that.’

‘Yes, because I am interested.’

Rukun reacts on my response with: ‘you know many things about Bali. You learn about that.’

‘Yes because I am interested.’

‘But the deeper you learn, the deeper you don’t know,’ adds Mister Rai to that with a very big smile.

On Bali this is really true, we already experienced that different times. But for us that makes it extra interesting. And also this conversation.

Mister Rukun complains that the younger generation doesn’t know much about the history of Bali: ‘They don’t know about this. I learned the stories from my father.’

From the books I know that some centuries ago there was a big empire on Jawa the so called Majapahit. And the bad king of Bedulu – called Dalem Bedulu – has put strong resistance.

The ones who fought him from Jawa called him “pighead”. There are many stories about that. But apart of that he seemed to have magical powers. At last the ancestors of Mister Rai they won. They are to be seen as the enlightened victors en introduced hinduism to Bali, as it exists still today. But the king “pighead” also still stays famous as there are still many tales told about him.

There is a relation with the famous Goa Gajah (what’s in a name?) Cave,which we already visited som

e years ago. The same bad guy had forbidden to bring offerings to the gods. After a long struggle with the gods, there was going blood from his body and that of his “patih” in the river Petanu (which means cursed river). It is the same river which is flowing just along the Goa Gajah place, parallel to the other river the Pakerisan.

Rukun continues: ‘Writers don’t write about Bali, because Bali is part of Indonesia. They write Indonesian stories, no Bali stories. But Bali has his own history and there are many skilled people on Bali.’

We find it all interesting. And we are enjoying us already.

Now we are going to install us in the house. Before we reached it, accompanied by Tujoes, he already could convince us to stay for two nights.

Tomorrownight there is a performance of traditional dancing in the puri and we are always “in” for that. There will be more, but that is not very clear.

Tujoes is happy because of our decision and I make a telephonecall to Cerick. For him it’s the same and I say to him that because of that he has one more free day.

The first thing Fifi is doing after entering the room, is descend on the big romantic wooden four-poster bed, prominent present on the first higher partof the dark room.

I go down to the lower part, where also is a big bed.

We both are each on his own bed, looking around to all the things around us. And that’s a lot. The eye jumps

On every inch of the walls colourful paintings. Mirrors in romantic style. You become almost crazy of all the richness of ornaments.

Round arches separate my department from that of Fifi’s.

The lavatory/bathroom is also something! Next to the place where you can take a shower a basin filled with water and floating flower petals.

It looks they are fresh.

The upper part of this room to the side is open.

You can see the bare blue sky.

On the floor small blue glaze tiles. Against the wall brown clay tiles with a frog design.

It looks like a garden with all the green of plants, specially of big ferns.

And completely on the end of the small long room the lavatory. If you puts yourself on it, you are sitting next to a pond, an halve meter high.

From sitting there you can reach to the tiny tadpoles, who are swimming wildly around in groups. For a moment I am doubting these creatures are really tadpoles, but when I hear the loud croaking of a frog, sitting on the open edge to my department, I am convinced.

From my bed I see an open window with a transparant curtain. Behind that is the same bathroom.

But you can only enter the bathroom from Fifi’s higher department.

An entrance without a door, again a transparant curtain with a decoration of birds.

The wood of the bed of Fifi is beautifully decorated with dragons and fishes. Next to her bed a big painting showing in fact the start of a painting of a Balinese female dancer with fan. She is lying there gracefully in brown colour. Signed in big letters: Tujoes.

And then we realise: it is Tujoes, who is the painter here, the artist. And as I look around, all paintings are his. It looks like a big exhibition of Tujoes.

Top of the bill above the head of my bed a huge painting showing Balinese women with offering on their heads in a ricefield with mountains on the background. I can have worse company.

On the wall on the side a painting with lotusses in a kind of jugendstil-style. And lying on my bed I have the look on a painting with buddhaheads.

Looking in the direction of my legs, left of the transparant curtain and dark voile above the window, behind which is the bathroom, in fact the only place through which the light can enter the room, a painting with naked women reaching with the arms in the air.

To which or what they reach is not clear.

On the right side of the “window” a romantic sink with mirror in artdeco-style.

Surrounded by a cloth in brocade of gold on white. Next to that on the floor a brown wooden bowl with round holes. On top of that a red hibiscus.

Fifi is on her bed and scarcely dressed she is having big fun with making many pictures with her small digital camera. I can hear the small “beeps”. After shooting looking at the result. She is holding the little camera so close to her head that it looks if she is going inside. At the side of the feet lying on the bed close to the window is a big soft sofa, in which you can almost disappear. Next to that a richly decorated red with golden piece of pottery. Looks like Chinese. On top of that a smaller glaze pot with much blue and a plant with long stems, behind which you can perceive the light coming from the richly ornamented bathroom.

We are still in the midst of are resting-session, when we hear a knock on the colourful carved outside door close to the bed of Fifi.

It is Mister Rukun with his always big smile on his face, who is there standing with the announcement: ‘my students are waiting for you.’

But this is not the right moment for us. And we explain to him that at first we like to acclimatize and rest. And enjoy the royal accomodation.

Also on the offers of tours in the neighborhood by Wayan, the home-driver and Madé, who surrounds us with all the possible comfort, we have reacted negatively. For the same reason.

We always wanted to be in a royal palace and now we are, we stay and enjoy.

We keep it open for tomorrow, but it is possible, that also then it will be difficult, because Fifi promised to make a portrait of Tujoes.

This is really an exception. She can do it very nice, but doesn’t do it anymore, because of the stress it might develop. And for her being involved in art has changed; her life-motto is now: the art of living. Life itself has become art.

But Tujoes has expressed his intention in wanting to learn it from her. And looked so eagerly that Fifi conceded.

So this going to happen tomorrow.

Not long after Rukun Tujoes is at the door. With a mobile telephone in one hand. In the other a small paper on which a telephonenumber is written. I don’t understand. He talks about water. Slowly it becomes clear to me. The watersupply is blocked now. And if we need water we must dial that number. But still I don’t understand. Why phone that number? Why he doesn’t do it himself? And why with that telephone? At the same time when I showed my own mobile I understand. That number is his. And when I call him he will open the tap. And he is bringing me an extra mobile, for me to use, but of course that is not necessary as I have my own.

And this he didn’t know. When we think that we have rested enough, it becomes time for some sightseeing inside the palacecompound. First we look for the housetemple, of which Mister Rai talked about, the one with the Blue Delft.

In the temple we see that many plates have disappeared. Or have being replaced by white plain plates without decoration. It is really very very hot, so we cannot wait to go back to our house with the big veranda, also richly decorated, in the shadow.

In the centre of the veranda a big round antique wooden table with marble table-top. Against the walls, for a part the wall of our house, again many paintings, of which one is very big. It shows a goddess of the woods surrounded by lions, tigers and wolves. A very lively painting, specially by the bright colours yellow and red. I remember from last year when we had a very short visit to the palace there was drumkit standing on the same veranda. And paint and brushes as if the painter just run out after a great drumsolo.

We settle us on the veranda and we are very sure to stay there for a while. This is the paradise. Tujoes comes along and informing if we are alright. And asks if we like to have coffee or tea. Also some curious little boys come looking at us as if we are the attraction of the park. Open small brown faces. They say ‘hello’ and are about to run away.

But the leader of the gang dares to come a little bit closer and starts a small conversation in English with Fifi

De wife of Tujoes accompanied by her shy little daughter is serving us the tea.

We feel very royal. And then it is just enjoying the place. We hear the birds. The only disturbance is the monotone sound of a machine, not far from where we sit, coming from the place where they are building. But we get used to that.

On the other side of the veranda is another balé with two golden seats. Behind those against the walls many pictures. Amongst them one of the wedding of the royal couple, I recognise Mister Rai in a young

er version. And other family pictures. And on another I clearly recognise Mick Jagger. He was here some years ago a famous guest in the puri together with his wife Jerry Hall.

Fifi is amusing herself again with her small camera.

There is so much to see!

So many ornaments, paintings, plants, flowers, small ponds with lotusses, arches, gates, statues, stuffed animals, furniture, vases and pottery. I am making a rough drawing of it.

In the end of the afternoon we take a look just outside the royal compound. We pass a oval sign with the text in mostly curly letters, each word under the other: “ARTIS – PAINTER – Bali”. A funny small creature with a big nose is overlooking the sign as a kind of protector. On the same pole under that a smaller sign with the text “Goest House”.

On the ground more funny statues and a Hanoman, the king of the monkeys.

Along the road many small warungs with nice smelling food. On the end of the long street we find ourselves in front of a big temple.

It is the Pura Taman Amertha. The temple of the holy water. It is a two level temple. Very rare on Bali, I think.

Laughing boys keep us company. Completely in accordance with the friendly atmosphere in the street.

When the sunset is almost there and we show ourselves for dinner, Tujoes asks us to come back later, at eight o’clock.

He says: ‘First sawar.’ I don’t understand, as presuming the word sawar being Balinese or Indonesian. But Fifi understands better. He says: ’shower.’

And that’s what we are going to do first. And water is also there. But already before it was there, we already noticed that. Phoning is not necessary.

Taking a shower in the special bathroom is an event in itself. Standing on the blue glaze tiles I discover even more things. For instance a fern design in the same small tiles.

On the entrance to my room there is a frog. Fifi already noticed him herself sitting on the lavatory pan. I make a picture of the little friendly creature, sitting still. He is so nice to wait for jumping up, until I am finished with my shooting. A melodious splash in the water of the pond next to the lavatory, shows he is back where he belongs.

When Fifi is coming out of the bathroom she is so much motivated and has immediately so many ideas that she starts making pictures again even before having put on her clothes.

Lying on my bed with the Balinese women behind me, I notice her bare naked making a picture of the wooden room-divider. When she discovers me lying comfortably on the bed, she makes a picture of me. I should make a picture of her, but this we don’t do.

At seven o’clock we hear the “kulkul” with thud sounds. The sound of wood on wood. First with long intervals, then faster and faster and in the end slowly again.

When we climb up the balé/veranda, where we find the table already dressed up, Madé immediately puts a third chair to the table and a third placemet on it.

Not knowing anything about the procedure I ask Madé if there is any choice for the food. It will be offered he says. So it is waiting for the things to happen. Exciting. And we wonder why the table is dressed up for three persons. Are we getting company?

Will that be Mister Tujoes? No, it is our Mister Rai. Soon he shows up in a completely Bali outfit.

He immediately starts talking about the fact he has a twin brother. Tomorrow we will see him. ‘Surprise,’ he says.

And then tomorrow there also will be a party and a dance performance. We will be in the possibility to attend that. Yes, about the dance this we already heard from Tujoes. But the exact how and what, we still don’t comprehend.

When I look at our host sitting in his official Bali tenue including the “kris”, I regret that we are not dressed in sarongs. Because we have them with us in our rooms. When we left Ubud we took them on the last minute, thinking: you never know.

I express something about this. ‘Tomorrow,’ he says.

He tells us that he differs 10 minutes from his brother. Who is the oldest is ot clear.

From his foreign doctor he heard that twins something is as a split piece of fruit. A left part and a right. Which leads to a tendency for left or right.

He is illustrating this. With playing football he was very good with his right leg. His brother distinct left. And he tells the story that one time they put him on the right wing and soon as the defender started to react well on his movements, he pretended something and it looked if he went out of the field for a moment, but then changed himself very quick with his brother, who then in fact took his place, without being noticed by the opponent.

And so he also tells the story from the time they were studying in Surabaya. His brother met a girl originally from Menado. His brother and the girl said goodbye and very soon after that Mister Rai stood before her door.

‘You are back so soon,’ she then reacted very surprised.

His profession in daily life was planner. ‘City-planner.’

Planner of buildings. Hospitals.

‘Do you know Doctor Djelantik, the one who wrote the book “the birthsign”?’

Yes, he knows him and he wants to take the book.

‘No no that’s not necessary, we already read it.’

Then book gives a very good impression how a palace in the beginning of the 20th century looked like. Doctor Djelantik himself the son of a king (of Karangasem).

‘Do you know he is still alive, he must be very old now anyway.’

Yes he is still there and still lives near Tirttaganga. The waterpalace which we visited some years ago. In that time I saw his name on the entrance, but did not want to disturb him, also because of the announcement that we were entering private property.

Mister Rai tells that the royal families are very close to each other. They have a kind of relation, altough the traditions might be different. He remembers very clearly the father of Doctor Djelantik. He was very small.

I have another burning question for Mister Rai. On our little trip walking outside we came upon a big stone on the grounds just in front of the big gate of the puri. A grey stone with a text in white, starting in Balinese writing, translitterated with “taksu” between brackets and the date 04-7-1967. I am very curious for the meaning.

‘Yes, that is a big story, with a background,’ as our host is starting slowly to tell. But I think he doesn’t mind, because he likes telling.

The background is that his father owned 100 hectare land. Ricefields from the coast until Tabanan. But with the landreformation he had to hand over most of his property.

With the result of less income, while expenses staying the same. Because the people here continue to ask help from the royal family and sponsoring for their temples and other things.

‘For them we continued what we were. If you are in some trouble you go to your king.’ We are knodding, showing we understand.

When his father died in 1965, the five brothers come together. They come to the decision to get some more income to open the puri for tourists.

‘You need some special power for that. Therefore the symbol of the hand. And we call it “taksu”. The date in 1967 was the first day that the puri was put open for the public.

We philosophize about the concept of taksu. Some have it, some others not.

It has to do with some inner power, which you radiates.

You can see if someone has it or not. For instance on the market, merchants selling the same thing, one is selling much, his neighbour nothing.

Mister Rai’s eye is then falling on the small “mala” round my wrist and the bigger one round my neck. He shows he has also something like that round his neck: a string of white small stones or beads. He explains he received it from a Japanese man. It has also something to do with power. Taksu.

But now it is about physical strength. He states that four people each wearing a necklace like this can together lift up another man of 150 kilo just by pointing the middle fingers of each hand together!

But the necklace also helps against “rematik”. Fifi is now very alert because she herself has arthritis and asks: Can you buy such a thing?’ The answer is no.

When the dessert arrives we discover between all the other fruit some pieces of durian. That’s remarkable, because we hardly smell it. Where is the famous smell of the durian? We say it loudly. And Mister Rai explains why: ‘the smell disappears if you when cutting the big fruit let go the liquid from the prickly rind (skin).

When the subject comes on religion and culture I express my feeling that in the west everything is becoming so very individual. And that it is nice to notice that the communal tradition still is so alive on Bali. As Mister Rai wants to react on that he is suddenly looking to the other side. There are coming some noises from the house behind him.

Tujoes who had taken place not very far from us on the corner of the balé on the other side calls his father. He is comer close, says something softly and Mister Rai apalogizes while standing up and goes into the house. Tujoes explains: his mother has become ill.

Tujoes now takes over the task of his father as being our host. He tells that the himself is also ill. He has a problem in his throat. We already noticed that by his difficulty with talking. Also Tujoes is wearing the same Japanese necklace, but it doesn’t help very much, he explains.

The dinner in fact is finished by then.

In the meantime enjoying the good conversations we also enjoyed the very good food (chicken and saté), which Madé prepared for us. We say goodnight to him and make an appointment for tomorrow nine o’clock for having breakfast.

On our after dinner walk, we encounter Madé several times. The last time close to the monument on the crossing, when we were just sitting on the small wall with on our backside a temple. A temple also with many porcelain decoration like in the puri. It is known for the region I think. And we were enjoying the typical Bali evening with the smell and the sounds of small warungs not very far from us in the street.

In the afternoon we passed te same monument when there was just starting a little ceremony. We think it it was the blessing of the new motorbike of a young girl. We saw the girl in traditional outfit kneeling with her hand holding together in the known prayer posture.

An older woman in a white kebaya was acting like a priest (probably the “mangku”). Using many water. And a cord (which we also saw being used in the marriage-rituals). An old man in short trousers was taking care of the traffic and was chasing away the dogs, attracted by the offering of food.

While writing this all on the bed in “the dark room” there is constantly the sound of a splash of a frog, jumping in the small pond in the bathroom. And when I put out the light it is really really black dark. And again there is the sound of the frog. Normally we experience at this time the sound of a tokeh. But funny enough not here.

Here it is the sound of the frogs.

Such company we did not have before. Feels special. And then in the middle of the night when I just have fallen asleep Mister Frog awakes me with his croaking. And there is the final splash....

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