Tuesday, June 17, 2008
BALI ARTS FESTIVAL
Today is my fourth day in Bali. Arrived late Friday afternoon with my wife and settled in at the rather quiet but beautiful Segara Vilage Resort in Sanur. My friends wanted to know why I'm staying in Sanur when the action is in Kuta, and I said "Exactly!".
I've been to Bali many times, and after my first few tastes of Kuta, I try and avoid it if possible. I'd rather be in relaxing Sanur or in the cool airs of Ubud. Just one night in Kuta is more than enough.
Anyway, this trip, I wanted to catch once again the colorful Bali Arts Fest in Denpasar and Sanur is much nearer.
The Festival, now in its 30th year, is one of the most spectacular events in our region - if anyone loves culture, performing arts and anything Bali, they should make it to the festival which runs for one month.
It opened with a spectacular 5 kilometer parade of Balinese dancers (albeit with one colorful Korean dance troupe). I have never seen so many beautiful dancers in one event ever before - yeah, I know the Mardi Gras has more skin. I think there was at least 1,000 dancers that walked the parade in their beautiful outfits - and they weren't just walking, they were performing the Lenggong, the Barongan and other beautiful dances. The musicians too were marching down the Renon street right in front of the massive monument dedicated to the sacrifices of the Balinese people.
The Indonesian President Bapak Susilo Bambang Yudhiono was present to witness the parade.
I was lucky to get a vantage view of the parade as I went early (five hours early to be exact) and sat in a small restaurant secluded right behind the main podium. When the parade started all I had to do was walk 2 meters and I was right in the middle of the parade.
(I will post some pictures soon and also maybe a video of the parade)
That night, the festival began in earnest with the grand opening at the Artha Hall at the Denpasar Festival Grounds. Thousands came as did the parade.
The festival will run everyday until July 12th. There are at least 12 performances everyday on the grounds from 10 am in the morning. In between the performances, the grounds are filled with various stalls selling jewelry, batik, souvenirs, traditional items, DVDs, toys, food and drinks and everything else Bali. My wife, Puteh, had a grand time on Sunday at the site - buying herbal stuff and natural oils.
She did that alone because I was playing golf with some friends at Handara Kosaido Golf Course up in the hills of Bedugul.
She returned to KL on Monday and left me all alone. Heheheheh. Well, I did say I wanted to stay on to see more of the festival and I did. And it is excellent - the music, the color, the dance, the smells, the beautiful clear skies of Bali and the bright singular full moon shining down on the island of Gods.
I love this place. Maybe I should write a story and produce a TV series about this little wonderful island.
I will write more when I get the chance to. This time around, I'm writing in a Gloria Jeans cafe in Kuta (like I said - if I have to come to Kuta, I have to).
Posted by anwardi at 12:49 PM