My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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UBUD, Bali, Indonesia, Sept. 7—Our drive to this village was most interesting. The rice paddies here are terraced for purposes of irrigation and the country seems to have plenty of water.

We passed several markets, but the largest one is at the gate of the rajah's house where we are staying. There is an outer court where you enter first and here he has one guest house. Then you go through the inner court where there is another guest house. Each house consists of one room, with washing facilities in a little separate space reached through an archway, and a wide veranda for eating and sitting.

The third and final court has the rajah's own house at the back with the cooking facilities for the whole establishment behind his house. Meals are produced at any hour to suit individual guests' wishes, which is remarkable when you realize that it is done over a wood fire.

In Bali, Mrs. Oka tells me, the most important part of the house is where you sleep. Then comes the kitchen.

Mrs. Oka, who was first to greet us, remains our guide and delightful companion.

In the last court there are three more guest houses and there may be others hidden away that I have not seen. Because we are extra and unexpected guests, we are allotted a high ceremonial stand in the middle of the inner court. The wooden posts and framework supporting the roof are beautifully carved. The thatched roofs are woven over bamboo poles and all go up to a high peak. You climb to our ceremonial porch by six steep stone steps.

The basic food is rice for every meal. The Javanese worker starts his day with tea or coffee. At 10 o'clock he has his real meal—rice and vegetables. Then at 5 o'clock in the afternoon he has the same and by 9, when there is no feast, he is in bed.

There is a feast once a week, however, and then he eats chicken and pork, which makes up for the poorer meals in the daily menu. These feasts are offerings to the gods.

On our drive over we stopped in a silver worker's shop and later in the shop of one of the best wood carvers.

The elongated lines which are characteristic of Balinese carving do not at first look understandable to my Western eyes but I am becoming accustomed to them. The carvings of animals have great charm.

We watched many of the master carver's pupils at work, and they told us it sometimes took a month to do one piece.

E.R.
PNews, NSJ, 8 September 1955