Roosters and ROOSTERS

Selamat Sore (Good afternoon 12:00-6:00)

Roosters crow all day and occasionally during the night. When one begins, they all follow and soon there is a full cacophony between family compounds. I wish I knew what they were communicating. The other morning they began earlier than usual and in unison vs building individually to a crescendo. Well, 5:30 is a little early but…..I discovered later we’d had a tremor and all the birds were responding far quicker than I had.

The ubiquitous rooster

The ubiquitous rooster

Yesterday found me unexpectedly on a 1:1 tour and, never wanting to waste an opportunity to learn something new, I began a conversation with my driver, Made C. about roosters. This lead immediately to cock fighting….a squirmy subject for me.

Here there are GAMBLERS. One is known as a GAMBLER or not. Similar to home, it’s often triggered by financial need. In Bali, life is very difficult for local people and they can quickly slide into very deep poverty when an emergency arises. To provide food and housing requires ingenuity and great enterprise, one of which is cock fighting.

Made began to gamble after the terrorist bombings here in 2005 when the hotel that employed him folded. Subsequently, his wife lost their first baby and medical bills mounted. His journey from this low point to being a transport/tour provider, home owner  (and gambler) is fascinating and admirable.

His vehicle for gambling is a prize rooster. Now, any old rooster might cost 75,000rp (or $7.50 US); however, if one carefully purchases a rooster with potential and trains and nurtures it for a fight, it can be worth well over 1,000,000rp ($100). Made’s rooster receives special food high in protein, baths, MASSAGES (yes, even the roosters) and intense training for six months. He is being groomed to win!

Rooster fights are a primary source of income for the Banjar (community) and when money is needed for temple or community improvements, a fight is scheduled. To hold a rooster fight, the police require an application from the Banjar which involves a significant fee – of course. Entrance fees are charged gamblers who attend and 10% of these fees go to the Banjars. I neglected to ask who gets the other 90%…..dang… time. The winner perhaps? Somehow, I doubt it but he does take home the “losing bird” for his family’s dinner. I won’t go into detail about how the loser dies as it is brutal yet I thought the information was fascinating.

On a brighter note, virtually all activities by traveler and local alike are experienced outdoors allowing for a cohesiveness with nature that we can be cut off from in colder climates. Resting, eating, bathing, performing, writing, working, etc…..all outside. It is not surprising then that a connection with nature is such an integral part of the Bali experience.

imageYesterday we completed our yoga practice with Jessa, of This breath this Moment, and shared a closing ritual with her and Sherry, of Writing for Self Discovery, which followed an exercise in defining for ourselves that which we desire for our lives in the upcoming year.

Sherry, Sharon,  Tasha, Liz, Jackie

Sherry, Sharon, Tasha, Liz, Jackie

We celebrated during the week with a delicious, convivial meal at Indus, in a setting so pristine words are inadequate. The restaurant hangs on the side of a jungle ravine with views to the river, private villas and infinity pools. There are no words to do it justice. Link over and see the glorious photos, menu and list of cooking classes.

Jackie, Sharon, Liz, Tasha, Jessa, Sherry

Jackie, Sharon, Liz, Tasha, Jessa, Sherry

Beauty is everywhere… are things that make me sad.

Children at play in rice fields

Children at play in rice fields

wild orchids and other tropical flowers are everywhere you turn

wild orchids and other tropical flowers are everywhere you turn

Tidbits: I am grateful for my extension cord so I can write this on my balcony. I go through a five-gallon “Culligan” jug of water weekly. My a/c room at night pushes the geckos from room to balcony where they sound like an exotic 50# bird. No speck or hint of sugar or food can survive the battalions of ants so constant vigilance is needed. Restaurant food is fabulous although the heat limits one’s appetite. No matter the price range, the choices are healthful and gorgeously presented. Drool……I do. There are likely 50 restaurants and/or warungs within walking distance of my home. Then again, some nights it’s peanut butter, crackers and a good book on my balcony. It generally rains most days, arrives in sheets and passes quickly.

Thank you for your interest and, for those of you in the northern U.S., stay warm and know good stuff comes soon.