Saturday 30 September 2017

The spirit of the volcano

Every week has its challenges and running a restaurant comes with its own unique set. Bali teaches you to “roll with the punches” so to speak and both Kevin and I have learned a lot through the last 5 years about keeping a balance to avoid a nervous breakdown. Things move at an island beat and through experience we have learned that, sometimes, the more you push, the less you get so a good massage or a brilliant sunset reminds you that if it doesn’t all get done today, the world will still turn in the same direction tomorrow. With that in mind last week had us dealing with a new situation that left us once again bewildered. Apparently our beloved and majestic Mount Agung, which stands 3,014m tall and completely dominates the mountainous landscape of the island, is reminding us all that apart from beautiful it is also an actual volcano, now threatening to erupt. Obviously this latest challenge is a little out of the ordinary.

Cuca is 70 km away from the volcano so we are very much safe and sound as an eruption would affect realistically just a 15km radius, but nevertheless it is difficult to ignore and simply carry on with business as usual. The most intriguing part of all that is happening is not following up closely the constant and dramatically inflated updates on the volcanic tremors or the travel warnings that have begun to cripple the island tourism leaving it without travellers. The most fascinating part for us is to witness how the Balinese are dealing with a situation so foreign to us.

Mt Agung is so sacred to the locals that instead of them talking about north, south, east or west, the Balinese set their orientation depending on where you stand in relation to Mt Agung. The direction facing it is called “kaja” (if you live in the south, kaja is northeast) and this is the most sacred and pure point on the compass.

Although the closest villages have been evacuated, many refuse to live their lives behind and still go back to attend their daily tasks; others have sold their livestock at half price. Here in the south Balinese are keeping a close eye on their holiest mountain, showing overwhelming support to those evacuated by bringing funds and provisions to their camps and embarking on a #prayforBali crusade in hopes to soothe the nervous fury of the volcano. And all this while being more grateful than ever to those of you who continue to come to Bali and bring a very much needed sense of normality to the island.

We are in awe at the natural kindness of the Balinese and their deep tights with Mother Nature. We have a lot to learn. So we take it day by day and hope the mighty volcano goes back to sleep so we can too.