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  Daily Rythm

The passage of days is marked by a succession of sounds. Everyone rises at first light with the raucous crowing of the fighting cocks. The women begin the day cooking, tending children, cleaning, preparing offerings. They bring water from the village well or stream, then briskly sweep the compound yard with twig brooms.

Small palm-leaf packets (ketipat) of boiled rice and condiments are prepared for the men to take to the fields. Trays in hand, the women and girls make the rounds to the various yard shrines, distributing offerings (ngejot). Perpetually hungry dogs follow, gobbling up grains of moldy rice as soon as they're placed on the ground.

The offerings are intended to protect the homestead against evil spirits, which might very well be embodied in the scabrous dogs. Most Balinese eat their first rice meal late in the morning, or the women buy small palm-leaf packets of cakes and sweetmeats that are washed down with coffee.

During the rice harvest women often take food to the men in the fields. Before the heat sets in, everyone except the old are out of the compound going about their daily routines.

The school day starts at 0630, when throngs of children gather on the road carrying brooms and buckets to clean the schoolyard. Bell-shaped baskets, in which the gamecocks are kept, are lined up on the street.

On market days the streets of the village are crowded with women from nearby villages, baskets poised on their heads. The markets teem with great stacks of pots, piles of produce, herds of farm animals. Since raising pigs and chickens is one of the main sources of income for women, on market days it's not uncommon to see a woman carrying a food stand on her head, walking her pig to market at the end of a piece of twine.

As the sun tops the palms, family members take their morning-wash at the village spring or river. The middle of the day is a time for resting, or talking with friends in the shade of the village banyan tree.

As the afternoon cools, activity picks up. The men return home and after a refreshing bath they gather, clutching or stroking their prized fighting cocks in tight groups outside their favorite 'warung', or squatting in front of the temple so their cocks may be amused by passersby.

The last meal of the day is usually the same food served at lunch, this time eaten cold shortly after sunset. The cool of the evening is the time to put on clean clothes and saunter through the night market, or meet beneath the lamp-lit foodstalls on the main road of the village.

The roads in the early evening always provide a lively scene: 'gamelan' recitals, young boys strumming guitars in doorways, men squatting under thatch huts sipping 'tuak', children playing on the warm asphalt.

If you wander the streets after 2100 or 2200 don't expect to see too many locals-they all seem to disappear shortly after dark. The Balinese believe the hours of the night are the time for evil spirits to wander and tempt the nightwalkers.

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