The Carnival is Far from Over

After an exhausting day of dancing, singing, eating and drinking the day before, the second “official” day in Debut Island promised more of the same.

We were bussed into Langgur, the “big smoke” over the other side of the island where we were guests at a local carnival


From what we could gather, the carnival was arranged to commemorate the killing of a Priest and a nun by the hands of Japanese soldiers in WWII.
 An American style marching band complete with blue silk coats, white trousers, high hats and epaulettes with plenty of braid, kicked the proceedings off.

There were also literally hundreds of dancers and singers and we watched as they all did their “bit” for us. 
Some of the performances were truly excellent and for me there were a few highlights, one being a boys’ dance which involved bows and arrows and spears, a lot of stamping, posturing, slapping of spears on bows and energetic movements in bare feet on a stony ground. They were amazing.


The boys invited the Vice Regent (who as we found out the day before, loves a good dance,) and some of the people from the rally to join in.

Another favourite was a group of little girls each with a piece of colourful fabric, who did a kind of maypole dance, weaving their pieces of fabric into lots of intricate combinations. 

We realised it was just like a Scottish country dance but to local music, and then it dawned on us that the girls were wearing tartan dresses! There must have been some Scottish Presbyterians in Debut Island some time in the past!
After the performances were over we were asked to accompany the floats, dancers and musicians “down the road”.

Well that was when we became part of the carnival rather than the audience! We processed through the streets for a good two hours with dancers, musicians and children in costume carrying trays of food. 

People lined the streets and shouted out “hello” “how are you ” ” where you from” or just wanted to shake hands.

Then there was more performances including a graceful dance performed by young Muslim girls and another notable one by the girls in tartan who shook their bamboo instruments which were all tuned to a different note and combined covered the whole scale. 


Then the little girls handed the food round to all the rally visitors which we were rather loathe to try as they had been holding the trays for some hours in the hot sun!
When I finished taking some photos I went to look for Jonathan and found him sitting by a van looking white as a sheet. He felt really awful and badly needed the “kamar kecil ” (literally small room). 

Thankfully, one of the organisers of the carnival very kindly took him to his sister’s house nearby on the back of his motorbike.

We had a long drive home but fortunately we arrived in one piece but with one very unwell Jonathan.

Sadly we missed the big feast that was put on for us that night on the quayside but secretly I was quite relieved as it had been a very long couple of days!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

2 thoughts on “The Carnival is Far from Over”

  1. Loved hearing about the Debut festivities and your travels (2015). We too were thoroughly exhausted after all the dancing and marching and singing (2008 Sail Indonesia). There’s more to come! How many people joined you from the Rally for the festivities? We were 9 from 4 yachts.


    1. Hi Bronwyn thanks for reading my blog! At Debut we were approx 50 yachts so at least a hundred people but the groups are getting smaller as people peel off to explore on their own. Should be a big gathering in Maumere as it will be visa renewal time !


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