Bali According to Wayan

I must admit I get some of my inside scoop info on Bali from a completely unreliable source: Wayan Balik, my driver for these past five years.  I ask him about Bali traditions, beliefs, and practices because I like the stories he tells.  I love to laugh at his tales that he starts in earnest and gets caught up in his own fabrications the further he goes. 

So I want you to know up front that the Wayan Balik Tales of Bali don’t necessarily reflect the beliefs and practices of anyone living in the Bali.  These stories, though presented as true, may in fact be nothing more than momentary glimpses into an alternate universe where such things do exist.

Bali…. According to Wayan Balik

Wayan: Today, father killed chicken.  Important day today.  Must make offering to Gods.
David:  Wayan, did you have to hold the chicken while he killed it?
Wayan:  Yes.  I hate.
David:  How long do you have to hold onto it?
Wayan:  As soon as father cut throat, I let go.  Ugh!  Chicken run around and make noises.  No choice Pak David.  For Gods on our special day.
David:  Will you eat chicken?
Wayan:  Yes.  Tonight!
Next day…
David:  Wayan, did you have chicken soup last night?
Wayan:  Family did.  Mother, father, wife, kids all did.  (Disappointment clearly showing).  I got home and it all was eaten but 2 spoons.


Wayan:  It’s raining today like B.P.
David:  B.P?
Wayan:  Yes, today is more like honey bee pee.  Sometimes more like bumble bee pee.  LOL

Bali and Wayan Balik


1. When a gecko “talks” during a human conversation, it mean that what was just said is the truth.  Gecko is like a witness.
2. Half a kilogram of gecko is worth a lot in China as a medicine.  There’s a gecko farm in central Java.  Big money/kilo.
3. When the gecko is “talking” in the evening or night, he says, “gecko, gecko, gecko” over and over.  Sometimes I count up to 24 “geckos.”  In Bali, if you count, it tells your fortune.  “Gecko rich, gecko poor, gecko rich, gecko poor….”
4. A gecko in your home brings good luck I’ve noticed (yes, good luck along with gecko poop on my bed, furniture, floors & towels, I notice)
5. Wayan tells me that lightning will hit your house if a gecko lives there, or so his father believes.  That’s why his father hates geckos and is always trying to chase them out of the house.  They are some sort of magnet for lightning.

Wayan Stories


“Eat ’til pregnant”

“Running chicken good for everything.”  Health, (etc?) it’s “organic” (Wayan’s definition of free-range chickens).  Not like pig – pig only taste delicious but bad for body.

Wayan Stories: Chickens

Wayan:  The healer/shaman came to our house today and told my father to do new things for health and good luck.
David:  What new things did he say to do?
Wayan:  He said to make offering of 1/2 grill chicken to one of the gods.  Father asked me to hold chicken’s legs while he killed chicken.  “Oopff!  I didn’t like!  Not feel good.  Chicken has life.  Maybe this is your influence on me, Pak David.  (I’m vegetarian).
David:  What’s 1/2 grill chicken?
Wayan:  Oh!  Means 1/2 cooked whole chicken.  When healer says to do In Bali, you must do like this.  It must sound funny to you.
David:  No Wayan.  Not funny.  I want to know about these things.
Wayan:  Healer is creative!  New idea: half grill chicken.  Funny guy.
Wayan:  Neighbor’s chicken always come over to my yard and I throw stones.
David:  Why?
Wayan:  They shit and eat my grass from roots.
David:  How many come to visit you?
Wayan:  10 or 15 of neighbors.
David:  You have chickens?
Wayan:  Only my father.  He has chicken.  Enough poop.  My uncle has pig and piglets.  Stinky.

Wayan:  My uncle likes rooster.  He likes good color and good form.
David:  How do you know what’s good?
Wayan:  Uncle like green rooster with yellow leg.  Java rooster good fighter, good color, but never take care of baby chick.

First conversation of the day on the way to the warehouse:
Wayan:  No more chicken stories.
David:  Why?  I like chicken stories.
Wayan:  I told you all.  The rest not interesting.  Not interesting for me.

5 minutes of quiet driving pass…

Wayan:  Chickens not eating grass now.
David:  Why did they stop?
Wayan:  Bored with grass.
David:  How do you know bored?
Wayan:  Oh.  Termite.  They eat termite now.  More delicious than grass.

Always laughing…

Wayan Stories:

On the road to Kerobokan:

David:  What’s happening today?  Extra big offerings at my house.
Wayan:  Not a good day for animals today.  Except human.  It’s “Slaughter Day” in Bali.  We offer every animal to the gods today, from cricket to cow, in pairs for each animal.
David:  Does everyone participate?  Seems like a lot of work hunting down a pair of everything to make offering.
Wayan:  Really, mostly the pigs need to worry.
David:  What about chickens?
Wayan:  Chickens only worry now if people tired of pigs.
David:  You kill pigs today for the gods?
Wayan:  Yes.
David:  What parts of the pigs do the gods get?
Wayan:  Lungs and intestines.
David:  You eat the rest?
Wayan:  Yes, everything.
David:  What about the testicles?
Wayan:  Oh!  No!  We give to dogs.
David:  What do the gods think about getting only what you won’t eat?
Wayan:  They don’t mind.
David:  Why?
Wayan:  Everybody is praying to them for two weeks non-stop, asking for things.  The gods get tired.  They just want to rest and be left alone.  After two weeks, they don’t care.

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Having journeyed to the Far East and Asia over 20 times in the past 20 years, I’ve been intrigued and inspired by the ingenuity, craftsmanship, balance and human spirit that have gone into the making of those works I have seen and collected.

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