Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Birthday

31st July 2006 - Part I


Thirty five years ago on this day I was born hours early (probably the last time I was ever early for anything) thus denying the midwife who had finished her day shift at Nelson’s Hospital her 100th delivery, or at least that’s the story I was told. I was also told I had blonde hair and blue eyes and my Mum told the nurse I was not her baby. But my hair turned black, and my eyes turned brown and over the intervening years my hair started to turn grey and I went through a succession of horrendous glasses before turning to contact lenses. And so I found myself in the company of a couple of mates at Ketut’s place cancelling our rafting trip, while Ketut called a friend and booked us on a cheaper trip with lunch included – yum.

Before the trip we decided to tootle down to Ubud Palace to catch it in the daytime. Because everything is so intricately decorated, in my mind I decided that the palace had to be hundreds of years old, but in actual fact it is full of red brick and concrete like so many of the other temples around here and was reconstructed in 1917 after an earthquake. I still took pictures aplenty because the architecture is so different to anything I’ve seen before.

In the outer courtyard are open pavilions (usually three). You then go up the steps and pass through the Kori Agung or Paduraska (doorway) before entering the inner courtyard. At the top of the steps is the Aling-Aling – in this one stood a masked woman, her enormous tongue hanging between her well rounded breasts warding off the evil spirits.

The Pavilions in the inner courtyard are dedicated to various gods or to the founder of the village and there is even one where the gods congregate to watch ceremonies. Nowadays they seem to be resting places for weary travellers waiting for ‘transport’ out of Ubud or photos of JFK visiting the temple hang there.

On our way back to the hotel via the shops we commented that in the daytime the dogs that lazed in our path barely had the energy to raise their heads let alone keep up the relay of barking that accompanied us at night time, but we couldn’t have too much of an in-depth conversation about it because our pick up was already there and we needed bathing suits and change of clothes and Estrella needed to be reassured that Rafting was perfectly safe – even though I had never done it before, but our travel insurance covered us, so how dangerous could it be?

Find out in the next thrilling instalment...

5 comments:

Estrella said...

You are such a liar! You reassured me about the rafting, or tried to, saying you had been rafting with the KIDS!!!

skint writer said...

another must-read - nice one Verilion

Verilion said...

Estrella I said I'd been kayaking with the kids and you're gonna get lines if you start picking at details! Anyway, aren't you supposed to be reading The Amber Spyglass?

And thanks Skint. See you just leave nice comments.

Minx said...

You sound like a wonderful friend Verilion - lies to prevent 'death by unreasonable fear'can only be termed as white lies.
I'll hang fire with any other comment until I read HOW the rafting actually went!

Marie said...

Another enjoyable read.

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