Sh*t happens (sometimes) : Pura Batukaru

When purchasing our tickets for the Kecak fire and trance dance at the Pura Batukaru Temple, we were kindly provided with a programme of the evenings scheduled events in exchange for our 75,000 Rupiah entrance fee.

This cheaply printed guide reliably informed us that in addition to witnessing a man walk barefoot across burning coconut husks, a choir of more than one hundred men would swing, sway, stand and lie prone.  As they did so, we were teasingly promised that so too would “these men shit in a concentric circle”.

Welcome to dance heaven.

Kecak ubud

Kecak: A tempting promise

Now, after many forced hours watching reality TV dance shows as part of my marital negotiations with the 0.5, I am latterly able to determine a poorly executed foxtrot from a botched cha cha cha.

In honesty though, even with this well-honed ability to critique footwork, I still cannot lay justifiable claim to be an afficionado of dance.

Having said that, if I was ever to be sold on paying to see one dance extravaganza in my entire lifetime, then tonights faecal-based performance was most definitely going to be a strong candidate to get me parting with the outrageously high-denomination contents of my wallet.

Upon entering the grounds of Pura Batukaru, we find ourselves some favourable seating, and I perch and wait in darkness whilst clutching a bottle of warm, overpriced Bintang beer.

After a tantalising wait, and with my butt cheeks clenched in excited anticipation, the show commenced.

From the darkness above a wide stone staircase to our right, half naked men slowly descended and gathered together around a fiery candlelit centrepiece.

Some were old, and some were young, but all looked practiced in the art of opening the payload doors to the beat of a native rythym.

Paul (he of the Javan volcano blog entries who we had again met this evening) commented that one of the more senior choirmembers looked remarkably like Mr Miyagi from the original Karate Kid movies.

He was spot on.

I’ve never seen a crane take a crap, but if this guy was going to do the business whilst kicking on from a one legged standing start, then I was intrigued to witness whatever hellish mess was about to unfold.

After shuffling a Balinese conga around the flames, Miyagi and his men carefully formed themselves into the promised concentric circles.

So far as I could tell, there wasn’t a sheet of triple-ply Andrex in sight.

This was going to be a good night.

In the flickering half-light, the bare chested choir began waving their hands in the air, then hypnotically as one entity, swaying to their own entrancing rhythm.  As they did this, they started to repeatedly chant the word “Cack”.

“Yes boys, I get you!“ I silently chuckled at their choice of vernacular and their British music-hall inspired wit.

“ Go on you beauties…” I baited under my breath, “Go on! Go on!  Squeeze one…..”.

“Cack! Cack! Cack!” the massed men chanted the excremental chorus of slang rumbled around the arena.

Both watching carefully and sniffing like a dog amongst the luggage of a KLM flight from The Dam, I awaited a first sign of their unique dung-dropping interpretation of the very same Ramayana story we saw performed by shadow puppets in Yogyakarta.

This time though, there was no backlit screen to observe.  My attention was now wholly fixed upon the areas immediately behind the backsides of the performers.

The unrelenting cries of “Cack! Cack! Cack!” continued, painfully building in both volume and complexity of rhythm as if each man was urging the others to squeeze out the most impressive stool imaginable.

Louder, louder.  Yet still no turtles head was on show.

“Cack! Cack! Cack!”

Faces contorted, bodies twisted by now as the men slipped ever deeper into a united state of trance.

“Cack! Cack! Cack!”

Still nothing. Not even a wet fart.

“Cack! Cack! Cack!”

But no.

Alas for this evening, this was as good as it was going to get.  The heralded “cacking” was nothing more a meme.  A cultural display of anal articulation, but as with many of my trips to the bathroom, without an end product.

The promised “circular shit” had turned out to be a mere typo.

Disappointed as I was not to see such organised mass-defecation, I determined to shit (sic) through the remainder of the story, the highlight of which was a masked protagonist named Rahwana attempting to seduce Princess Sita.

Hindu temples of the style deemed fashionable by Sita’s hatmaker

Fair play, Sita looked pretty damn foxy even though she was wearing slap by the trowel-load and appeared to be sporting a 10:1 scale version of a hindu temple on her head.

I also couldn’t help but noticing her slow purposeful dance movements were highlighted by her exceptionally double-jointed fingers twisting and bending at impossible angles (File under “Not at all sexy”).

Rahwana, having tricked her back to his palace by disguising himself as an aged priest (like, seriously dude?)  in a move that could well have provided the inspiration for the later widespread Catholic practice of pederasty, then embarked upon a peculiar dance of seduction around her being.

His approach was most interesting.

Unlike the stock Western male’s move of sliding up to the most drunk girl at the disco before winking at her whilst simultaneously demonstrating an MC Hammeresque mastery of the stomp, Rahwana began making strange steps and movements that would not have been out of place had instead we been watching John Cleese play his character from the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch.

A truly bizarre approach to pulling hot totty.

Anyway, it transpires that following some pretty mediocre ground-work, Rahwana’s pulling piece de resistance was little more than a blatant lift of  the aforementioned “Crane” stance from the original Karate Kid movie.  Sans merde, naturallement.

Unsurprisingly the move failed miserably.

Not even a gullible young Elisabeth Shue would have fallen for it, and I reckon Ralph Macchio would have been livid had he seen it.

Now, as I have already ironically pointed out, a Mr Miyagi doppleganger was one amongst the amassed ranks of anal charlatans at hand.

Perhaps it was Myagi’s famed left-field approach to tutoring that had influenced this young dancer?

I can’t but help ponder whether maybe the Japanese sensei gave up on teaching self-defence to underprivileged kids from Reseda, Los Angeles, slipping away quietly after being rumbled as the head of an Okinawan paedophile ring.

My thesis is that he now instead spends his time instructing masked young men the art of dance at Balinese temples whilst secretly also being the puppet-master of the Pope and his homeboys.

As the saying goes, “Shit happens”.

Well, maybe not this evening, but you get the idea…


About misterkelvin

I searched, I failed. And then I accidentally found one in Ubud.
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