Friday, April 1, 2011

Denpasar Market

I have never claimed to be much of a tourist.  Laying on a beach for me is simply not my idea of good time.  In fact I would prefer to head in the complete opposite direction if someone mentions typical vacation activities.

One day while in Bali I was invited to drive into Denpasar and visit the night market.  Now for me that qualifies as perfect adventure.  We parked on a little road not far away and already you could sense the gathering energy of the shops and people who sell and make the necessary staples of Balinese life.
But it is people and how they mix and flow together that really interest me.  So much was going on my friend Padyatra and I were almost invisible...almost.  We could take shots without hesitation and breathe in the rich and vibrant atmosphere.

The market was crowded and yet everything here worked and moved smoothly.  The simplest way to carry your goods is to place it on your head.

It is hard to say what was the most sought after goods in the market.  But at this time of day those who sold food seemed perhaps most busy.  Sorting cabbage.

Without knowing any of the language at all it is puzzling when I look back now at what must have been the thoughts of those who so willingly smiled and posed.
Many times we were unnoticed by our subjects.  We were secret observers a world much different from our own and yet it somehow felt so natural to be a part of it all.
Sometimes I saw private quiet moments in which there was not much happening at all.
Sometimes the images were so rich with culture it was hard to believe it really happened.

For most however there is often little time to pause. Baskets are nearly always heavy and there is much to be done.

Carrying goods on your head is something one learns at an early age.

It isn't always about learning how to work hard though.  In the flower market a little girl just sits.
The flower market is a grand and colorful place.  Here the ingredients of the offering baskets can be purchased.
There are a few whose specialty is to actually make the tiny platter that the offering rest upon.
There came a moment when I became just too marketed out.  Just too many sights and people moving everywhere.
Maybe it has to do with feeling self conscious when people around you are working so hard and you can begin to feel out of place.  No mater how sensitive you might be.

Click below to hear a monologue of the market.

Then, just as I was on the verge of overdosing on the market, Padyatra and I met the kids.  They could have been the children of parents working nearby or maybe they were just hanging out.
They seemed as much interested in us and our strange equipment as we were in the simple life they lived.
They were as eager to pose as they were to play.  Padyatra very patiently showed them the wonders of a very expensive camera that didn't might the little fingers touch and little eyes peering.
And yes, eventually I found myself caught up in it all as well.


Suddenly he slipped away
From home
To embrace the life of solitude
And see the Face of God.
He saw God.
In the wild confusion-market
Of village-ignorance.
Sri Chinmoy, My Promise To God, Agni Press, 1975. 

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