For this week's Pick I want to show you two photos made in the last couple of days here in the small fishing village of Padangbai in Bali. It's actually New Years Day in the Balinese calender today, and my little reflection has to do with this special day for the people of Bali.
Bali Girl (Padangbai Bali Indonesia March 2014)
The first image was made a couple of days ago and is of a tourist who has come from I don't know where to visit this beautiful place. It is a tropical paradise for many and this woman seems to be relishing her time here in the heat and beauty. Most likely she is staying at one of the more swanky resort hotels in or around the village.
For the second image I have chosen one I made at one of the large public ceremonies that took place yesterday, New Years Eve. This particular ritual involved the offering of foodstuffs to the sea and people gathered outside the temple of the waterfront and laid out the offerings which were then blessed by priests. This woman has just put down her offering as if to rest before proceeding to place her offering with the rest.
Why these particular two images? Well, for me they represent two of the facets to this place that strike the thoughtful observer: the hedonism that seems to be a hallmark of modern tourism, and the way in which life and culture still goes on for the people who live here and for whom this is home.
But another point that was interesting to me was this: For the greater part of this ceromony my partner and I were the only visitors present though many tourists passed by and many were in earshot of the chanting and music. Of the tourists who passed by, none, or at most one or two even turned their heads to see what was going on. In fact many simply walked through the rows of the congregation as if it was merely another crowd to push through.
I do not suggest for a minute that the woman in my first image was one of these people. I do not know if she knew or didn't know what was going on or its significance. New Years Day here is a day of silence: no going out, no cars, no TV, no planes, taxis, no shops. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. Despite this, the only comments I have heard from tourists and visitors concerns the inconveniences of no transport or banks being closed.
That's all. I make no judgements. I draw no conclusions. My job is to simply present the facts as I've seen them.