Today was kind of a day off. Well, a day out, anyway. We’ve been in our own little bubble here at Villa Gaia, where everything is safe and quiet and clean and everything you want or need is nearby. Some people are staying at other places nearby, so they leave the bubble everyday, but for most of us who’ve been staying here, we haven’t ventured out.
The excursion was to Tirta Empul, a Hindu water temple where the Balinese go for purification. It was built in AD 962 at a bubbling spring. I don’t know whether the Balinese Hindu buy tickets to visit as we did, but it’s definitely a tourist destination. It’s rather beautiful.
I was feeling quite nervous about it. I wanted to go and observe, but I didn’t want to participate in the ritual, which involves getting into a pool and drinking water from ten of the spring-fed fountains as a rite of purification, and later praying and being blessed by a priest. It’s a beautiful ritual, and certainly deeply affected all those who went through it, but as a Christian it wasn’t right for me to participate in something religious that I didn’t believe in. Thankfully – and this is one of the lovely things about this retreat – nothing is compulsory, and you can get involved as thoroughly or as minimally as you want to. So I went along with the group and took photos and enjoyed the day, but didn’t get in the water. Some of the other girls asked me how I was feeling and was I enjoying it, but nobody seemed too fussed that I didn’t participate in that aspect. During the ‘dry’ part, everyone kneeled on the hot ground in front of an altar and prayed (not sure to who as the priest spoke in Balinese or Bahasa), and then a priest blessed them. When he approached me, sitting on the sidelines, I just said “no thanks” and he moved on.
After that we walked through a maze of markets. We were some of the first people at the temple that day so it was uncrowded, which was good in that you could move around easily, but bad in that we were basically sitting ducks for the stallholders, all selling similar things. They’re a lot more aggressive than at the markets in Malaysia, surprisingly. I tried to walk away from one stall and the woman kept grabbing my arm. “Miss! One dollar” was the refrain, and if I stopped it would be “buy two for good luck! Please miss, I am only just starting my business, please, for good luck.” There were an awful lot of people only just starting their businesses. Hmm. I bought some batik sarongs and songket fabric that I will use to make bags with when I get home, and a couple of lovely skirts.
Back at the clubhouse, a few of us had a swim in the midday sun, then after lunch Jessie was running a longer intense yoga session. J and I decided to sit it out and do our usual craft thing, and sat upstairs with Pip having a lovely chilled time. I went down and joined the yoga crew for the last half hour or so, so it felt like I got a bit of everything.
I had another wonderful massage, then it was another movie night. We watched Brene Brown’s TED talk (worth looking up – I can’t be bothered finding the link on my ipad 😛 ) and then The Breakfast Club. Now I go to bed with Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me) going round in my head.
Didn’t do any drawnaling today, but here’s some embroidery I did while sitting with Pip and J – it’s called a whipped spiderweb (whipstitch over 8 spokes):