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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bali Kite Festival: Soar High and Rule the Sky!

Forget the bull race in Spain, forget La Tomatina, and get your dose of excitement from the annual Bali Kite Festival. This, dear readers, is THE place to be.

If you associate kites with child's play, by all means there's nothing childish with flying a kite 5m long, or one with tails as long as 200m. It's a tug-of-war game against the wind, it's a skill contest to flew it right AND land it right, it's a team effort to make it soar without trampling (or get trampled by) another team. Excitement can't get any better.

When we arrive at the kite site at Padang Galak Beach we were greeted by the many Bebean (fish kite) up above and the grand flags of each group contestant [see pic 1], and the group contestants themselves, sheltering under their huge kite [see pic 2 for kite size] chatting or playing Balinese music. Why yes, in terms with Balinese tradition of music almost all group brings their own musician. The fast beat music become a powerful stimulant for the kite handlers. You can feel the raw energy from the kite handlers as they manouvred their kites to fly, soar gracefully, and land.

Dust was everywhere and the instrumental music was loud. It was almost a mystical experience to see the kite gracefully move in the sky [see pic 3 of Pecukan/ two corner kites] and then avert your eyes to see the humans toiling on the harsh land. It was "divine" and "humane" being descripted at once.

Just when we think we seen enough, the dragons flew. The Janggan (dragon kite) competition was held after the Bebean's. It was as if the fishes on the sky were scared away by the mighty dragons [see pic 4]. Oh how their tails float and dance around in the sky! We just stood there dumbstruck and in awe for their majestic and beauty (and also very nearly trampled twice, apparently this kite type is more difficult to handle).

Kudos to the very well prepared officials of the kite festival. They gave proper warnings, disclaimer, information; all for the safety of the viewers, the kite handlers, and of course the kites. The event is usually held around July. Make sure to bring lots of sun lotion, sandals/shoes you can dash with, hat and/or umbrella, camera, and a friend. Cooperation is the key to ensure you dont get trampled or entangled with the kite's rope when you are just too busy looking up or taking pictures. Trust me. Or should I say, trust your kite companion ;)

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