Musings about Pengosekan, Bali from 1996

Musings about Pengosekan, Bali from 1996

Today I’m introspective about my trip to central Bali in 1996. I’m remembering the day I bade farewell to the wonderfully adventurous group who accompanied me to Tabanan and Ubud. Rather than return to the US with them, I had arranged to stay another week in Bali moving from our group quarters up Jalan Hanuman down to Oka Homestay in Pengosekan village. That is where I would stay to further explore authentic Balinese culture on my own and share living space with the adventurous redheaded Czechoslovakian woman, Dunya. Oka Homestay was one of the most peaceful places on earth–if you discount the ever-present sounds in Bali—the cocks who crow at daylight and sentinel dogs who bark if strangers wander into family courtyards. But otherwise Oka’s compound was serenely sitting at what seemed to be the edge of civilization, overlooking vast green vistas of lush vegetation that overlooked coconut palms, rice terraces, gently sloping away to the sounds of nature, gamelans in the distance, and an occasional hollow sound of the kul-kul reverberating over the community from a long distance away. It felt like paradise. And I knew it was paradise when Oka’s wife, Dewi Gusti, brought breakfasts of fresh fruit and sticky, sweet black rice with a steaming pot of tea every morning.   Down the street I also danced with Dewa Gusti Raka every day ( a different Gusti). Gusti’s mastery of legong was phenomenal and her love of it was contagious. Being a high school teacher by profession, she was also quite patient as a dance teacher, lifting my elbows that drooped as I was focused on...