Nirvana Dogs

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May 21st 2010
Published: May 21st 2010
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Sanur Beach is a busy place. As I wrote in “Pecked to Death by Ducks,” you can find just about every recreational opportunity you might want, from parasailing to shopping. But as you walk south along the beach, it becomes a little quieter, a bit more geared to local tastes.

There are many local shrines along the beach, all of which get their thrice daily offering basket. One of the things that I came to realize about these charming little displays of flowers and rice is the enormous amount of time and effort that go into making them on a daily basis. If you are female and have a bit of spare time, you are most likely to be making offering baskets and displays from palm fronds. I don’t know if it is an exclusively female vocation, but while I saw men occasionally delivering the offerings, I never saw a man making them.

Therapeutic massage is a big business in Bali, and the beach is a perfect place to experience it. I was fortunate enough to run into Sanni, Susi, and Coco. These three ladies may not have had a lot of formal education, but they had their business
Jukung boatJukung boatJukung boat

Traditional Balinese fishing boat
model down pat. Sanni spoke the best English, so it was her job to chat up potential clients. Coco had the strongest hands, so she worked backs, necks, and shoulders. Susi worked on legs and feet. A forty-five minute massage with two, sometimes three, sets of hands set me back 50,000 Rupiah, about US$ 5.50. Add in a gentle breeze and the tropical heat and you have the recipe for total relaxation.

This is still a working beach, meaning people still make their living from the sea. You will see people mending boats or fishing, either from hand nets or with a pole. This is not sport fishing, rather it is a means to feed their family.

You will also see a lot of animals on the beach. There are some chickens - which are probably destined to be lunch in the near future - and a lot of dogs. These have got to be the calmest, most mellow dogs in the world. Maybe it’s because they eat the rice left in the offerings baskets, maybe it’s because of the heat, maybe these are dogs who have reached Nirvana. I don’t know what it is, but I never heard a growl, or saw a raised hackle. And here’s a hint: if you want to find the coolest spot on the beach, or anywhere else for that matter, see where the dog is.

At the southern edge of the beach is a temple. “Om Swastyastu” translates as “Prayers and blessings for all.”


Bali, May 19, 2010

Additional photos below
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Jonah and the WhaleJonah and the Whale
Jonah and the Whale

This shrine is to give thanks for the bounty of the sea. I told a Balinese the story of Jonah and the whale, which she thought was very odd, indeed.
Massage ladiesMassage ladies
Massage ladies

Sanni, Susi, and Coco. I asked Sanni why so many ladies wore long sleeves when it was so hot. She explained that it was to keep her skin white.

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