NOTE: This is a bit of a rushed post caused by lack of battery and internet access time – I’ll update in due course…

It was one of those long days where the whole world seemed to be living under rain.

I rose early on Tuesday morning in Alice Springs to a town wetter than any white man had seen it and as I flew out to Darwin we climbed through rainclouds to thirty thousand feet and more.

Clouds obscured the land beneath the plane as we flew north.

It always seems like rain in Darwin in September – if it is not falling from the sky then it feels like it should be and the humidity and the heat combine to have you scuttling between shade to avoid the cruelling direct rays of the sun.

If it isn’t rain that is pouring then it is sweat. A few hours and a few beers while on the ground in Darwin then back to the airport for the Jetstar flight to Denpasar.

It wasn’t raining in Denpasar but as we drive up into the mountains towards Ubud the roads were slick from earlier rains that we caught up to just after getting into town.

Panyembrahma dancers at the Festival opening
Panyembrahma dancers at the Festival opening

I rose early to a cock crow from the house next door, went back to bed to pay off some sleep debt and woke again later in the morning to a fierce heat. Off to lunch and then into the business of day one of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

Register and off to the press conference. The jovial and rotund  Australian-Irish leprechaun that is Thomas Keneally was joined on stage by Festival Director Janet De Neefe, a few others that I didn’t know.

A jovial, rotund leprechaun of a man, Thomas Keneally
A jovial, rotund leprechaun of a man, Thomas Keneally

Also there was Sitor Situmorang, a prolific local author once jailed for eight years without trial following publication of his essay Sastra Revolusioner (Revolutionary Literature). He later moved to the Netherlands for ten years. I’ll have more about Sitor and his work soon (see later post here).

Sitor Situmorang - one of the 'Angkatan 45'
Sitor Situmorang - one of the 'Angkatan 45'

Then it was off to the Ubud Royal Palace for the Gala Opening of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. More details of that when battery life allows but for now here are some pics from around town and other events…

Ubud sign & bike

Panyembrahma dancers headshot

Meanwhile…back to the luvvies…

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