I’ve been staying in the village of Sanur here on Bali for the past 10 days.

Sanur has been a welcome reprieve from the overdevelopment and “scene” of “southern” Bali, with all its crowds, thumping clubs, and traffic (the traffic!), which made me feel more like I was in a mini Los Angeles, then Bali. 

Sanur, on the other hand, is still relatively small, peaceful, and authentic…yet undiscovered by the “too cool for school crowd” that has descended upon the rest of the island. There are tourists, and tourist shops and restaurants, for sure, but the locals (and a stronger sense of what Bali was probably like ten or so years ago) still prevail.

For the past the past five days, the village has been celebrating its annual Sanur Village Festival, a combination of arts, culture, and culinary activities; sporting events, contests and competitions; environmental activities; and music, all aimed at economic and tourism development for the Village (according the website, the festival will, “will be a reminder of Sanur being a major brand of tourism in Bali”). The festival is also pretty adorable.

To start with, there’s this description on its website, “As well as the existence of a typical festival, which aims to create a festive atmosphere with a variety of activities-rah rah party, but remains entrenched in the culture of Bali Sanur and in particular. The tagline ‘The New Spirit of Heritage’ is expecting to give the soul of this event. As known sanur cultural and historical heritage having very unique and as old civilization in bali even indonesia. For that we should keep honor and keep that which is inherited our fathers still everlastingly. On the other side of the young generation challenged to give new vigor tweaks creativity and modern development could follow from the far left to keep the existence of an inheritance.”

The festival culminated yesterday with a huge parade that could only be described as an amalgamation of NYC’s Halloween Parade, crossed with Coney Island’s Mermaid Festival, throw in a little Gay Pride Parade, the country of India, a high-school Mardi Gras, and then make it uniquely Balinese, and voila, you have the “pah-rahd,” as its pronounced here.

It stretched on FOREVER, and moved at a snail’s pace, if and when it moved at all. In fact, more time seemed to be spent standing or sitting, waiting to move, then actually moving — I’m guessing it was a “too many people, too narrow a street problem.”

But to everyone’s credit, participants and spectators, it was genuine smiles and laughter all around, despite the heat, sun beating down, heavy costumes, and pancaked makeup (to put it lightly) on both men and women alike. There was no complaining. No pushing. No fighting. Nothing got out of hand. People just sat, and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Happy to be watching, or participating in their endless static parade.

With the exception of this preteen…who I could have watched forever. His costume may have screamed “party,” but his face read, “I am not having it.” Teens be teens. No matter where you are in the world.

This was his happy face:


Other photos from the parade: