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Starting with a day of silence

We just got internet service at our hotel in Tulamben, and Breck is sick today, so I thought to put some of the “quiet time” to use and start off with our trip tale. The funny thing about this vacation is that it did, really, start off with the sound of silence.

A rain-drenched flower welcomes us to Bali

A rain-drenched flower welcomes us to Bali

Balinese elephants line the walkways to our room

Balinese elephants line the walkways to our room

We’d never heard of Nyepi, but when we started getting all sorts of “interesting” reactions from people as we tried to make reservations, we looked more into this unique Balinese holiday. What we found out was astounding: for the entire day, from midnight (according to some sources, 6am according to others) until 6am the following day, the entire island is shut down. Absolutely. Completely. Stores are closed, roads are blocked, airports are shuttered, TV and radio stations are off the air. People are not allowed to leave their homes for the entire period, which means tourists too are stuck in their hotels. Can’t go to the beach – sorry.

Now, luckily for us, our hotel staff live on the compound, and they were working and cooking food for us, but we had to be quiet and respectful. We were able to go to the pool (in between rain storms), but at 7pm that evening, all outside electricity shut down and the entire island went dark.

Our neighborhood "Pecalang," or Nyepi silentness enforcer, draws his knife with a fierce glare

Our neighborhood "Pecalang," or Nyepi silentness enforcer, draws his knife with a fierce glare

Oh no - Dave turns the tables on him!!

Oh no - Dave turns the tables on him!!

Whew! Good thing it is all just fun and games. Time to turn out the electricity, though, so get your mobile phone flashlight app ready to go!

Whew! Good thing it is all just fun and games. Time to turn out the electricity, though, so get your mobile phone flashlight app ready to go!

I had the chance to meet the neighborhood “enforcer;” these guys walk all around the communities, making sure that things are as they should be, and he was pretty friendly, but it was certainly an interesting concept to think about an entire island shutting down for the day. Once we were able to move around the island, and we headed up the coast to our diving spot, we saw remains of the large effigies that had been burned in the days leading up to Nyepi itself.

Raining on Nyepi

Raining on Nyepi

The remains of an ogoh-ogoh, a burned Nyepi effigy

The remains of an ogoh-ogoh, a burned Nyepi effigy

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2 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. sounds like how Sunday was meant to be, except the not leaving your home!

    1. Anonymous on March 30th, 2012 at 9:01 pm
  2. Except that Nyepi was on Friday!

    2. Dave on April 5th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

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