June with Snake

It’s Saturday and we started out at promptly 8:45 AM to be at “Threads of Life” shop to start our day tour consisting of visiting textile factories and having a vegetarian Bali picnic lunch. Low and behold, we were met by our 6′ 7″ English Textile expert, William, who blocked out the sun with his height. He is a great tour guide.

After climbing into small Suzuki SUV ( Linda & Cindy were real troupers for seating in the 3rd row), we started out on our adventure. The First textile Factory was a  Weft Ikat, located  in Gianyar. We also saw a local market with many vendors selling some daily offerings from florals, sweet cakes and candies and other intricate things like bells, incense, and repose silver bowls.

Also, one of the antique shops had a box with 3 small 6″ cylinders that was used for cricket fighting.

You might wonder how one gets the crickets riled up…well, the can give them “ecstasy”, Johnny Red or if that didn’t work they would throw them in a bowl of water to get to swim to build up stamina or hang them up by the neck with a thread to fly in circles.  And of course they would massage their necks afterwards as a reward.  Dear friends, you can’t make this up …. big, big money is dropped at these fights.   I will never think of Jiminy Cricket in the same way.

We then drove to a family compound who made silver repose bowls. The artist sat with legs crossed in an open air area and showed us how he starts with a flat disk and using a tool and small hammer to create the design.   It starts out in brass and they make a mixture of silver and a chemical. They showed us 2 bowls -A brass bowl with the silver mixture was  $300.00 and  the silver one was $3,000.00.

We drove thru countryside and up the mountain where we saw jungles and rice paddies on both sides of the road to the town of Sidemen.  We went to Pelangi which was a weft Ikat weaving factory with a very special with high tech scoop toilet.  You ask what is that ???? You fill a scoop with water from a bucket next to the toilet to flush.  Where is Kohler when you need them?

Here we had our authentic Balinese picnic lunch of rice, eggplant, corn fritters, tofu , Tempeh and fried mung beans and encased in a banana leaf. Marilyn bought us cold drinks of cold beer and sodas.

We continued to the Songket textile factory (the female owner was wearing a Harley Davidson tee shirt and said she just came back from racing in Thailand).  The exciting part of the day was when we meet Ida ayu punirai, the authority of reviving the ceremonial complicated designs with natural dyes fabrics. She has created a domestic demand for these textiles used in ceremonial attire and also teaches an special advance class in textiles.

They have special ceremonial garb for “teeth filing” for teenagers when they go from childhood to adulthood for balance and sensitivity in life.  They file the front 6 teeth which represent anger, greed, envy, intoxication, lust and morality. So, I think all DC politicians should immediately have their 6 front teeth filed!

From there, we drove back down to Kemansan to visit a coin fabricator who is reproducing Balinese coins. While there Marilyn befriended a high priest dressed in white who looked like Colonel Sanders.  We also saw Bob Hope reincarnated. Well, not really, but a cement-look-a-like Balinese statue with breasts.

Interesting or not so interesting facts-

1. Animals used as a decorative  symbols  in Cremation ceremonies for males and females with exaggerated gendered specific. Example: for males, might have a bull with…. You get the idea.

Finally,  Be careful of what you wish for.  I wished for a feathered or mink neck boa and this is what I got…a boa snake named “Esther.”