SCHOOL VISIT On another day, we were treated to a school visit and met the animated children in Komang’s wife’s class of 5th graders. They sang songs in English for us, most of them popular American folk songs like “Jimmy Crack Corn” and “The Eensy, Beansy Spider.” We had the feeling that the children really did not understand the words of the songs at all but had learned them by rote. But it was an engaging visit nonetheless. Later on, before we left Bali, we went to a store to purchase a globe and school supplies for that class. The name of the store was “Mata Hari” but it did not refer to the spy whose name we knew. Instead, in Balinese, it means “Sunshine!” Isn’t that a kick? We knew that Komang would be delighted to take them to his wife and share them with all the students.
The families in Bulian are mostly farmers with some rice growing and some animal husbandry. They introduced us to the “palm wine ceremony” where villagers assemble to drink palm wine until they are pretty much “ossified” and then they dance and tease and laugh. We, of course, had to participate in the drinking and the dancing or we would have been considered very rude and ungracious. The wine was very strong and not too tasty to any of us, but we were all game and gave the villagers their chance to laugh with and at us as we attempted to follow the steps of the lovely young girl who invited everyone up to dance with her one on one. The steps were complicated and we were pretty gauche. But everyone in attendance, including us, had a
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