Full to overflowing and looking for fun, Bali celebrated the welcome of 2002 without major incident. balidiscovery.com wraps up the "night that was before the morning after" on the island of the gods.
A series of outside entertainments along Bali's main beach commencing from the front of the Hard Rock Café started at 7:00 p.m. and carried on until pre-dawn. The festivities included a massive kecak dance, wayang performances, local participatory dances sometimes confused with simultaneous demonstrations of public intoxication, and performances by top Balinese pop music groups.
Police threats to tow any cars parked along the streets of Kuta did not materialize as gridlock set in early in the evening preventing tow trucks from movement in or out of the area. Torrential rains that seemed to arrive almost at the stroke of midnight did little to dampen the spirit of the thousands of revelers.
The Puputan Field in the center of Bali's capital, Denpasar, resounded with the beating of two large traditional drums, or kul-kul, sounded at midnight by Denpasar's Mayor. Joint prayers for peace were offered by representatives of all of Bali's religious groupings to seek the Almighty's blessing on the year ahead.
The organization of a mass celebration at the city's center is credited, in part, for reducing the number of motorized convoys traveling around the city. As a result, the Sanglah General Hospital reported 50% fewer casualties than recorded during last New Year’s festivities. In all, traffic accidents saw some 31 people hospitalized over the nightlong celebration and 82 others treated and released. Three fatalities were recorded on New Year's Eve with at least two of those attributable to driving while intoxicated. Meanwhile, 135 non-traffic related accidents and illnesses were handled by the hospital's emergency unit during the transition to the New Year, including the arrival of 21 new "Balinese" in the hospital's maternity wing.
GARUDA WISNU KENCANA
A nationally televised parade of top Indonesian artists performing before thousands at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) monument on the Ungasan peninsula was truncated when heavy rains halted the party and the broadcast. Instead of seeing a live show of top singers and dancers the telecast was switched to popular national video clips.
AROUND THE ISLAND
Traffic across the island was forced to move at a slower pace as each village and community held the equivalent of a "block party" as village youth took over the banjars and streets with their music systems accompanying local games of chance and dances. Arak or rice wine was available in generous quantities with scenes of wild dancing - variations on local trance dances, a common sight on local roads and highways.
TOURISM CHIEF WELCOMES FIRST VISITORS
Meanwhile, Bali's provincial Chief of Tourism, Dr. Ir. Pitana, was on duty at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport at the stroke of 12 to laud Bali's first visitor in 2002 with flowers and gifts.
First to set foot on the island in 2002 were Barbara and Detlef Kolni of Germany and Jo Malcolm and Adan Bealy of Scotland who arrived on GA 412. (Bali Post and Bisnis Indonesia)
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