One of the points of these trips is to get you out of your comfort zone. So there we were this afternoon lounging in the pool of a truly superb hotel in Ubud (I will post photos later. I was dumb enough to forget to bring the doo-hicky that allows me to download photos from the camera -- so i will take some with the flip tomorrow. Stay tuned.) Trying to work out how this could possibly be outside of our comfort zone.
Then we went to get ceremonial temple clothing -- sarong, saput (over-sarong), and prayer sash, udeng (hat.) So there we all are choosing colors and styles, mixing and matching, and feeling foolish, but also somewhat peacocky in our finery, at least the men were. That was a little out of my comfort zone.
The reason we got this garb was to be able to attend and participate in an "opening prayer." A prayer tat the Balinese use to begin all kinds of activities, including a visit like ours. Again, photos to come, but this was way out of my comfort zone, old materialist that I am. The service consisted of interlocking prayers from the temple priest, offerings by the family, and various ritual actions by the audience/laity. So all our senses were engaged, hearing the prayers being snug to the sound of bells, the smell of incense, the incredibly rich visual environment, feeling my sorry butt on the hard floor and the feel of flowers between my hands as I pray. I can't wait to share some of these with you.
While we were waiting for the temple priest to arrive we watched a troupe of young girls practicing their dancing with the local gamelan orchestra in the district community center, an open pavilion on the street. These children were totally unconcerned with the audience, in fact pleased to have one. There level of skill was remarkable. Again, photos to come.