Thursday was a public holiday in celebration of the Hindu Saka New Year. It's also known as Hari Nyepi, or Day of Silence. Actually, you should try to experience the festivities held the day before Hari Nyepi in Bali. H and I were in Bali in the year 2002 during this time. It is a sight to behold.
On the eve of Nyepi, both H and I had to don the black-and-white chequered sarongs before we were allowed to participate in the festivities. The hotel that we were staying (At that time, Sheraton Nusa Dua...but has since changed to The Westin Nusa Dua) had organised the festivities...which was NOT solely for tourists/guests.
The hotel had their own Ogoh-Ogoh, paper-mache demons.... which were carried in a procession to the beach, and burnt at dusk. From what I can remember, it is supposed to drive away evil from the island.....
Some examples of Ogoh-Ogoh
(courtesy of Google Images... donno what happened to the photos I took)
The next day, Hari Nyepi, we weren't allowed on the beach at all. Poolside - Yes.
They had security guards to stop guests from venturing out on the beach.
It's a Day of Silence, whereby NO noise, NO travelling, NO lighting of fires etc is allowed.
The reason behind it is that demons and evil will see that the island has no life/ nothing of interest and will not "disturb" the island for a year....
On this day, the airport is actually closed. So you can't fly in nor out.
If you ask me which is better...Phuket or Bali, I would say Bali.
Because Bali has so much more to offer. In addition to the sun, sea and sand, it is so rich in culture. Real culture. Not just to please the tourists. For example, the Thai dances in Phuket...it is performed just for tourists. And you would say the same for Bali. But in Bali, if you go behind the scenes, the dancers actually pray and perform some ritual before they go out and perform (I kepoh-ed lah....). Some expats working in this traffic-choked city MUST go to Bali every month to rejuvenate... wish we could do that too :-( ....but once a year is good enough lah hor??
Anyway, Friday was Staff-Training Day @ school, so boys chapp-tou! H also went to work for half a day only. He was back by noon! As he had bought quite a number of DVDs (TVB series and all...) from KL (H was back in KL for work from Mon to Wed), we spent the days and nights pou-tai only. During Earth Hour..... we did a half-past-six participation.... while we turned off ALL lights and ALL the air-conds, we did keep the fans whirring away while pou-ing a TVB series. Pou until 3 am Sunday morning.... couldn't get up for our regular Sunday tennis. And when I eventually woke up on Sunday. I tell you... I was like on the couch watching the telly, then move to the bed to watch and sleep, then back to the couch, and then back to the bed. Watch until my eyes almost popped out of my head.
At least today...things are back to normal, ie... NOT being a couch potato!