Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Birthday James: Day Three

James turned One on day three of our trip, March 6th. His birthday is part of the reason we took this trip. I thought it would be cool for him to tell people when he was older that he spent his first birthday in Bali. One of those things you say when you are asked what is one thing we do not know about you. Our fellow guests at Klub Kokos consisted of two Dutch families both with small children. We had all learned about each other while sitting at dinner and around the pool. Our day began with our Dutch friends singing Happy Birthday to James in English and then in Dutch. Then we were packed up and headed off to our hotel at the beach in Nusa Dua. Now today was Balinese New Year's Eve, so we were told we would need to have our travel done early so that we would not be caught in traffic jams caused by the Oooga Oooga parades. What is an Oooga Oooga you ask, well it is a monster type things made to scare and entice the evil spirits of the island out of hiding and into the open. Balinese New Year has some very significant rituals intertwined into the Hindu religion. They begin by cleaning their temples, homes and villages. Every village will construct several Oooga Ooogas and they will march them from various points in the village to the cross roads of the town. Here they meet and bring the evil spirits together. The Balinese believe that once they have brought all the evil spirits out of hiding with the Oooga Ooogas, loud noises of drums, gongs and fireworks, that if they go into hiding for twenty-four hours and the evil spirits will find the island deserted and they will leave the island. All of the parades must be completed by sundown so we had to start our journey early in the day. We passed through many towns and saw Oooga Ooogas at every turn. We began our journey south by heading back into Ubud to see the palace. It is a beautiful place built in traditional Balinese style, but exceptionally decorated. Each Family group will have a compound that is usually surrounded by a wall. Within the wall, you will find several members of the same extended family living together. You can also find the family temple, livestock and sometimes livelihood inside as well. The palace is still inhabited today by the royal family of Ubud and some parts of it are not open to the public. It is hard to see in this picture but on this low table int eh second picture you can see the remains of morning tea. We imagined this is a type of sitting room.After leaving the palace, we walked next door to look at the main temple of Ubud. Here we found hundreds of people all dressed in their best clothes waiting for their turn to enter the temple and make their offering to the gods inside. Many of the women were holding small flat baskets full of rice, flowers, incense and other items of food. It is said that 70 percent of a woman's time in Bali can be spent preparing and performing religious duties. It is part of their daily lives.
Inside the temple we saw lots of chanting, drums and prayers could be heard. We took some time to take in all that was going on around us before moving on. After leaving Ubud our driver took us to Mas which is the village where most of the wood carving is done. We stopped and looked at one shop and it was amazing what you can make out of wood. They had the traditional wooden screens, animals of every shape and size. Many looking quite life like. Hindu goddesses and huge pieces of furniture. There was so much to choose from we decided that we would have to think about it and come back another time. On the way out we did see a huge old gong hanging on a wooden frame. Brian and I worked with a family through Young Life that had lived in Asia for a time and they had one of these huge gongs in their home and we thought it was very cool. We did not purchase this one but our driver told us he could take us to the village where they make the gongs and we could pick one out. Needless to say there is a gong in the future of the Head household.

Next we drove on to the village famous for silver smiths. Now for those of you who know me well I was in heaven, silver jewelery as far as the eye could see. I managed to control myself and only bought two bracelets, but James Avery has nothing on these people. We could not shop as long as I would have liked and we had to cut some stops out of our trip in order to get to our destination. We finally arrived at the Westin Nusa Dua Around 1:30. This is an amazing hotel. It is where they held the summit on global warming a few months ago. Security was a high priority, and Everything was perfect from the lobby to the beach. We had a beautiful suite with two rooms over looking the garden and the pool.

After naps and a snack it was off to see the Nusa Dua Oooga Oooga parade. I am afraid that it was not very authentic and put on mostly for the tourists, but all they same it was very exciting and the kids really seemed to enjoy it.
After a late dinner at an open air restaurant by the water it was back to the room so James could finally open his presents and then off to bed. We had a great day and I can not believe that it has been a year since James was welcomed into the world by our family. He is my precious baby boy, still laid back and always ready with a laugh and a smile. Our family has changed alot and traveled near and wide, but I know we will all remember this day with happy hearts. Blessing to all. We love you and miss you.


Jon & Ashley McP said...

Tell James happy belated Birthday from us!
He will most defintetly have a great answer for ice breaker questions for years to come! Now you just have to out do it for his 2nd b-day :)

Misti said... are a wealth of information. I know I say this all the time, but thank you for sharing everything with us. Give the kids big hugs and kisses for me. By the way, Cooper frequently makes things for Carley, so he is still thinking about her. AND we got a book about Kimodo island and it talks about Bali. On that page is an illustration of hundreds of people and we have picked out a group of four to represent the Head clan. Every time we read it, and I mean EVERY time, Cooper has to point at the picture and say, "There's Paige, Mr. Brian, Carley and the baby. I still have to remind him that "the baby's" name is James. He'll get it. Anyway...much love to you. Can't wait to give you a big hug.

Bert Burt said...

"James Man" is one - what a special day in a very special place. Loved the pictures showing James at birth then at age one. He is such a happy little guy. Look forward to seeing all of you this summer.

K Mayne said...

Happy Birthday James! You do a great job of sharing this incredible time for your family!
I showed your blog to Dad (Grandad), but he has a little trouble seeing it. Things were very busy when I was there, so I will have to walk him through it again. I made it his homepage!

Jennifer Partin said...

Ah....Happy Birthday James! That is really cool to spend your first B-day or rather any Birthday in Bali! :)

I think my kiddos would have been scared of all the Ooga Ooga's!