Blog 53. 28 August 2019. Bau Bau
Mon 2 Sep 2019 23:33
On our way to the rice fields we were taken to a cremation ceremony in “Little Bali”, a village where some families from Bali came because of overcrowding in Bali. Here on South Buton, a largely Muslim Island, there is a Hindu village with very Balinese houses and gardens, each with its own temple. The Hindus brought with them their customs including a cremation ceremony, adapted from their Balinese custom, which we were told is held every 5 years in South Buton, between the end of August and the 18 September when all those who died during the previous five years were remembered. We understood that a piece of wood associated with the actual burial was burned for purification and the ashes placed in a decorated coconut urn for their passage from this life. Anyone dying just before or during the actual ceremony period could be cremated as part of the ceremony if they were rich enough and it just so happened, a rich member of the community was being cremated that day.
Cremation South Buton style. The body was placed in the “oven” and burnt with a gas flame thrower. Any part not able to fit in the “oven” was pushed into the flames by the metal ladders on either end as the body burnt.
Part of the the elaborate celebration at the cremation. It was hard for our guides to explain exactly was happening at the ceremony and why; a) because their English was not quite good enough for such a complex symbolic occasion and b)very likely, they did not fully understand it themselves, being Muslims with completely different beliefs and ceremonies.
After refreshments at the cremation ceremony site and the usual photos, we moved on to the Hindu temple, similar to the one we saw at Debut and rice farming, with pigs and vegetables and then seaweed and pearl farming.
Rice field in the “little Bali” area, with adjacent vegetable plot. These people were clearly good farmers and very industrious, with 500 hectares of good land and even one small tractor, the only one we have seen.
Definitely a Hindu farmer, not at Muslim one.
The walk to the pearl farm. Forget pearls, much to Skipper’s wife’s regret as, with a birthday the following day, she was looking forward to pearl earrings. Instead, just a very thin veneer of pearl in the shell over a large piece of half round plastic that had been inserted, which was then cut out and used to make necklaces and key rings etc.
28th August and too old to want to be reminded, birthday celebration with a card from the Skipper, a very nice cotton shirt from Ship’s Boy and a very nice mother of pearl bracelet bought the previous day from Bill. Then a very happy morning on a beach with our lovely guides, swimming, rowing, traditional “games” such as stilt walking and lunch. Plus an impromptu Indonesian lesson from Samur.
“Foot board racing”. Satu, dua, tiga and off you go. Real team work required and if anyone in the team falls over, which usually means all of you, your team is disqualified.
Komang doing the starting, Tali, Ship’s Boy, Salam and Yunan nearest team, Integrity and Intrepid from Lil Explorers with 2 of the female guides in the middle team and Innocence leading the far team.
An impromptu lesson from Sanur
Tomorrow is our last day and requires a visit to the local market with our guides.
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