We got up but not too early, before you ask, we were not hungover but wanted to ease ourselves into the day as travelling – even if you do manage to grab a kip – is very tiring folks and does catch you up every once in a while. We had decided on a quick walk into town to see how the preparations for the Nyepi were progressing and then had found a walk which would take us out into the countryside – plan sorted.
In Ubud, along the main road there was a football pitch and it was here that the various Ogah-Ogahs were being brought. Some of these things were truly quite horrific – so it would be funny to see how the kids would react seeing these Scarey Monsters and Super Creeps! We went back towards the hotel and the start of the walk nipping in Ubud’s Water Palace on the way – we also heard that this place put on the Balinese dancing as well and it must be a great venue to see the dancing. The place has a central walkway to the stage area and the temple behind and either side of this central walkway there are two large pools full of fish and lillypads, very impressive!
After a few twists and turns (i.e. – we got lost) we finally made it to the start of the walk and off we went. The walk took you on a ridge between two rivers which were so low in the valleys that the waterways could hardly be seen. The greens of the fields though were perfect and contrasted with the clear blue skies – with just the odd cloud to make things interesting. In the rice fields were the long flags used to keep the birds – big white herons – at bay, but I am not so sure this strategy worked too well as there were loads of herons about the place. The whole walk was very picturesque. At the end of the walk was a very nice restaurant (and relaxing retreat) where we had a bite to eat before our return journey. We were sat above the fields on the first floor of the restaurant so it gave a great view of the surrounding area.
The way back into town was as good as the way out and when we returned to civilisation we decided that we had better stock up on provisions to survive Nyepi. After buying said stocks we thought we had better grab a bit more money from the ATM but funnily enough they had all shut down for Nyepi as well so this became impossible – how were our two intrepid explorers to eat tonight and survive with no money!!!
Moneyless we went out at night to see the big showdown of the Ogah-Ogahs and this is quite a frightening experience in itself as everyone is crowded at a couple of intersections near the palace and then the Ogah-Ogahs come up the street from the football pitch and have a fight at the point where everyone is crowded. We walked down to the football pitch and the sight of the Ogah-Ogahs at night with all of their lights and decorations on full beam was quite a sight – horrific but brilliant too.
The larger creations were made and were being carried by groups of men but there were also some smaller ones made and carried by youths and even smaller boys – Ogah-Ogahs an all-male occupation folks!
The girls get a chance to join in during the procession and each group is from a different area of town all seemingly in competition.
We walked with one group up to the ‘arena’ and it was quite funny that although measurements had obviously been taken as to the height of the Ogah-Ogahs in relation to the electrical wires – unfortunately when the effigies were being carried they were actually much higher than anticipated and so the wires needed lifting up to accommodate them moving forward. A particularly tricky spot to negotiate was right before the arena and the crowd cheered when each ‘monster’ negotiated each individual wire.
The crowd was very tightly squeezed together and as some of the monsters needed quite a bit of area to pass by the crowd’s space dropped significantly too. We watched an entire ‘fight’ between two Ogah-Ogahs – not sure who won or whether it was by falls, submissions or a knockout, but it was all very entertaining indeed and although tomorrow sounds very boring at least these festivities the night before sure were something to see.
After the fight we decided to skip the crowd and see if we could track down the band Unb’rocken once again as we knew they were to be playing at a place called the Laughing Buddha somewhere down the main road – in our present financial predicament would the Gods of Rock and Roll look after us and give us an establishment that would accept our MasterCard as not all bars would! Low and behold those mighty mighty Rock Gods were smiling down on us and we had some good grub and yet more entertainment by the band – at one point the two lead guitarists played each other’s guitars without actually swapping them over, very tricky and somewhat dangerous so do not try this at home kiddies. After the gig one or two of the band came over and said hello and the drummer had a little chat with us too – groupies eh, how old are we?
All in all a perfect end to a perfect day which had a bit of everything.