Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia

On the worn stone board walk by the Bali Sea a group of about 10 children fly their kites in the strong wind as their elders relax in the shade of their precarious bamboo shacks. My mind is confused by the sound of chickens, goats and the crashing waves of the sea mixed together. I guess growing up in Canada we tend not to associate farm animals with a tropical sea side. We get the usual look of confusion from the locals as we walk by, but it quickly turns into a smile when we say “hello, apa kabar” (“ hello, how are you”). “Baik baik” (“good, good”) they yell. “Hey, where you go?” asks the old man after we pass. It’s always the first question that pops into their head, not sure why. Maybe it’s the only English they know. “Jalan Jalan” (“taking a walk”) I yell over my shoulder. “Oh jalan jalaaannn” they laugh. The cool breeze blowing in from the sea is a nice change from the hot backstreets of Singaraja we took to get to the sea side. As we continue along the path we notice a large group of young boys having a little war up ahead. It appeared as though they were tossing small rocks at each other but when we get a little closer we realize they are throwing spiky seed pods that have fallen from a nearby tree. A couple of them start throwing the seeds into the air above our heads as we get closer, laughing and jumping around us. Just after we pass them we turn around to look at them and Jeanette gets hit right in the lip with one of the little spiky seed pods! We speed up a little fearing that the kids might attack again, the seeds kind of hurt.

As we come to the end of the boardwalk we notice a large square ahead with some interesting buildings around the sides. At last, we made it. The buildings in this harbour area are all that remains of the time when the Dutch controlled Singaraja and the rest of Indonesia. It seems so out of place to see bamboo shacks standing next 1940’s European architecture. There weren’t many buildings but the ones that remained were still in pretty good condition. A few were missing roofs and some doors, but for the most part it appeared as though it was all original and intact. At the far end of the square we could see a large statue of an Indonesia warrior which was erected in memory of an Indonesian freedom fighter who was killed by Dutch warships during the struggle for Indonesian independence. High on a pedestal the statue stood looking back towards the shore his mouth open in a never ending cry for battle. His right arm points out to sea and in his left he proudly holds the flag of Indonesia. After checking out the dutch buildings we started down the main road away from the port. We immediately find ourselves surrounded on all side again by the typical make shift structures of Indonesia. This area is a little more built up than the sea side we saw earlier but the poverty is still easily noticeable. Not far from the harbour we come across a flower market selling flowers without the stems which are used by the Hindu people to make offerings for the gods. Back on the main road through the town we catch a Bemo(a van which is used as local transportation) back to the beach town of Lovina where we are staying.

No comments:

Post a Comment