Shocking to us…Natural for those of another culture…Not for the squeamish…

This morning, kids playing in the river.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali” (All of today’s photos were taken during “Sightings on the Beach”)

If we never left the villa other than for our daily walks, we’ll never run out of photos and topics for our posts. With 47 days until we depart the villa to head to Denpasar for another stay in the Kuta hotel while we await our upcoming red-eye flight on October 30th, we’re surprised by the experiences that just keep coming and coming.

No doubt, getting out will also be worthwhile when tomorrow after uploading the post, we’re renting Egon’s van for a half day outing to Negara, the closest good sized city on the highway.

When we watched this activity on the river, we had no idea what was transpiring especially with the large cart used to haul the cow’s carcass which appeared to be cut into huge pieces.

Our intent is to do some sightseeing, take photos ending at the largest supermarket in the area to pick up some cheese and a few other items we’ll need during the remainder of the stay. 

Also, we’ll stop at an ATM once again. Our supply of Indonesian Rupiah quickly dwindle when each day we’re providing the two Ketuts with enough cash to pay for the meals. We only pay for the actual cost of the food and a small sum for fuel for their motorbikes. Daily, they provide us with a neat hand printed receipt with the change. Its at the end of our stay that we happily give them generous tips in appreciation for their hard work and fine efforts.

Yesterday was quite a day. With numerous “Sightings on the Beach” that both shocked and astounded us, we were picking up the camera time after times for yet another round of photos.

It was hard to tell what was going on, especially with the large white bags.

Today’s story and photos are not for the squeamish. We apologize if this upsets or offends any of our readers. That’s not our intention. Nor is today’s post based on a possible shock factor.

Our goal in sharing this story and photos is purely predicated by our desire to share cultural differences we strive to embrace, rather than criticize, to graciously accept, rather than turn away.

We’ve discovered over time that many of the local’s perception of the ocean and other bodies of waters is very different from many of our own. Many of us may perceive the ocean and rivers for their beautiful eye catching scenery. Many of us take a hard stance and commitment on making every effort to preserve the cleanliness of our world’s oceans, each in our own small way.

We wondered, “What was a long white stringy stuff? Were they cleaning squid?  Nope.

The Balinese people see the ocean as a source of revenue and work hard using its resources to earn a living by fishing, providing tourist activities and as a personal resource in their daily lives.

Early on, when we first arrived in Bali we delighted in watching children playing in the nearby river.  At times, the children were naked joyfully running to and fro often for hours at a time. The river consists of fresh water, as most rivers, flowing from the mountains, rivers and streams inland to the sea. 

When the high tide occurs twice each 24 hour period, the fresh water is mixed with ocean water, creating a number of pools in which children and adults play, wash clothes and bathe. There’s more.

Under no circumstances is that water clean. Why not? We’ve observed both humans and buffalo defecate in that water. Can we even imagine the volume of poop coming from a 1,500 to 2,650 lbs, 700 to 1,200 kg, buffalo when standing in that river for an hour each day?

The mysterious activity transpired over a period of a few hours.

The fact that we’ve spotted many humans using the pools as toilets, there’s no doubt these waters are contaminated with toxic bacteria. Perhaps the locals immune systems have adapted to the bacteria and don’t become ill when swimming in the river. We can only surmise this. 

Last time we were in Bali, beginning April 30th, leaving the villa on June 27th, I became ill from eating squid I requested for a meal. The taste was fresh and appealing, but hours later and for several following day, I had an outrageous case of “diari” for which Gede took me to the pharmacy for meds. 

I should have known better than to eat squid caught close to the shore. How many times have I mentioned that we must exercise extreme caution in avoiding seafood caught near the shore? I’ve finally learned my lesson. Now we only eat fresh tuna caught out to sea in deeper waters.

Dogs crowded around giving is the impression they were dealing with some type of animal.

For us foreigners aware of the situation, swimming in that toxic water would never be a consideration. We haven’t ventured into the ocean in front of our villa for this very same reason when we’ve seen endless piles of garbage resting on the sand after the tide wans. 

The sea undoubtedly is beautiful to observe mesmerized by its sounds and tide. Is it safe for swimming? Perhaps not so much in this area and others.

After taking this photo I asked Tom what was the longest section they were handling. Later we knew.

Yesterday proved to be a day adding to our knowledge of cultural difference as to the use of the water in the nearby river and pools which most likely is prevalent in many parts of the world including Bali. We always knew this, but hadn’t actually witnessed vastness of these differences until yesterday’s experiences.

Today’s post and photos is all about “Sightings on the Beach” in its truest form. Nothing we’ve seen to date has surprised us quite as much while also further educating us in the ways of life in other cultures. 

Once they were gone and the two Katuks arrived to make dinner, I showed them the photos and they explained the kids/adults were cleaning and eviscerating a cow. Although this may be gross to many throughout the world, it’s a part of life for others.

Details of our discovery are contained in the photo captions as local Muslims cleaned the carcass of a slaughtered cow in that same river, while dogs gathered around waited for the pieces of the cow entrails, later running down the beach with white matter hanging from their mouths.

Today, again, another peaceful day. The weather has been considerably less humid and cooler than during our last visit, at times, feeling cool when we’ve exited the pool soaking wet. It’s ideal now as we’re appreciating every moment.

We hope your day brings you opportunities to appreciate your surroundings.

Photo from one year ago today, September 13, 2015:

These colorful flowers were growing close to the house in Fiji. For more details as we adapted to a simple life in Savusavu, please click here.