On a winding road high in the mountains of Bali, a three-hour-or-so drive from Nusa Dua, we stumble across a tableau that surely could have existed any time over the past several centuries.
Below us, as our vehicle draws to a stop on the ragged edge of the bitumen road, a farmer and his two cows – or are they bullocks? – framed by extravagant palm fronds, are ploughing a water-logged rice paddy, a mosaic of caramel-coloured mud criss-crossed by lush green grassed paths.
As I gaze down at the rice field, the farmer so intensely focused he doesn’t even glance up at us, I hear a rustling sound behind me.
I turn to see a figure, its head a huge ball of long grass with a straw conical hat balanced on top, walking towards me looking like a character from some subsistence farming horror movie.
I greet the creature, stooping to discover a smiling face and shiny white teeth hidden below the blades of grass. She has to be the farmer’s wife.
Source: Rice above it