Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Nyepi Day -- that well beloved Hindu celebration of silence and meditation -- is upon us; and this year we will try to escape the better part of the consequent boredom by driving up to Kintamani and staying two nights in a hotel there -- for outside this bastion (or various other bastions) of Western recalcitrance, no lights are allowed, no TV, no movies, no music-- no nothing, other than meditation and silence. In fact, one is not even allowed to leave his own house, for squads of Hindus, duly deputized by the local Banjar, will chase you down and deliver you to confinement in the jail. No kidding. To be a member of one of these squads is likely a cherished position, for at least they have something to do, and may walk about like free men (although very quiet ones).

But the hotel in Kintamani is exempt, you see; as are a handful of other tourist hotels. Of course, you may not go outside the hotel grounds, but you may at least go outside therein, and you may have lights, and you may watch movies, and even talk. Within the hotel grounds, that is. Moreover, it is said to be a beautiful place, built on the shore of a lake, offering excellent meals and such-like, so I look forward to the experience.

Last year I did stay in Sanur for Nyepi, and honestly it wasn't so bad. I'm a pretty sedate and sedentary person anyway. I read, I slept, I basked in the silence, and I watched the stars fall at night. But for my son, and for my wife, it is quite unbearable (and I'm sure that they would make it unbearable for me in turn). So Kintamani, here we come.

I hope they have WIFI.

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