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Come Blow Your Horn!

A Perennial Sight on Bali's Streets, the Sellers of Home-Made Trumpets are Back in Force.

(12/26/2005) Imported from a huge supporting cottage-industry in Java, thousand of colorful foil-wrapped trumpet noisemakers are now being sold on the edge of every main thoroughfare in Bali in anticipation of that one night each year when fully grown adults don ridiculous looking hats and run about the room making noises that, in other circumstances, would earn their own offspring a solid back-hander.

But, heck, let decorum slide for just this one night. After all, you've got an entire year to live down your behavior on New Year's Eve.

In an enterprise where size does count, a small 30 centimeter trumpet will set you back around Rp. 1,500 (approximately US$ 0.15) with the more obtrusive 1 meter long Table–blaster model going for Rp. 4,000 (approximately US$0.40). Generally made from recycled cardboard and art paper and decorated in bright colored foils, the run-of-the-mill trumpet is a straight instrument resembling either a clarinet or an oboe.

However, specialist trumpet masters make more elaborate models resembling French horns, trombones or Sousaphones – each of which sell for top Rupiah. Local trumpet salesmen are always eager to offer discounts to bulk purchasers in seek of accouterments for late-night revelers at local hotels or house-parties.

When's best to buy your trumpet is a topic of much popular local debate. Obviously a well-advanced science, trumpet market analysts will disagree whether its best to buy early when selection is best or hold off until New Year's eve when looming rain clouds will see street side vendors engage in panic selling.

In any case, with New Year's Eve increasingly close at hand, we suggest you don't delay in buying your trumpet - accepting that it's better to look silly than out of place.