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Bali: A Suspended Island?

The Highs and Lows of Bali's Annual Kite Flying Season.

(6/29/2009) Visitors to Bali during the months of June-August each year could be forgiven for thinking Bali is an island suspended on strings descending from the heavens above. A look skyward during these months in any direction will usually reveal hundreds of kites, some the size of a large trucks, supporting colorful tails flapping in the wind. And, while legions of small boys can be found everywhere playing with their kites, kite flying in Bali is hardly child's play. Almost every banjar in Bali has its dedicated team of young men who build and enter kites competitions to win prizes and bring honor to their village.

Some Words of Caution

High-flying kites in Bali are not without a downside:

- Those with eyes turned skyward admiring the island's annual high-flying spectacle should be cautioned to keep their eyes on the road in order to avoid becoming yet another statistic to the many who are injured or disfigured each year by hard-to-see kite strings stretched across local roads.

- Local pilots operating around Bali know to keep their eyes peeled for high flying kites suspended near Bali's airport, despite rules outlawing such kite-flying activity. The threat to aviation increases somewhat during night time flights when many large kites are left unsupervised flying overnight, tied to the earth by wires held by heavy spikes driven into the earth.

- Candles and flashlights should be stocked during Bali's kite-flying season in anticipation of power outages caused by kite wires that short-circuit high power lines in Bali.

- It's also a good idea to be on the look out for kites, both small and very large, that have momentarily "slipped the surly bonds of earth" and are suddenly crashing back uncontrolled to earth. In such scenarios, horrendous collisions with vehicles or cardiac arrest among drivers who find themselves face to face with a road-sized kite are common results.

Despite these cautionary notes, visitors to Bali during the month of Bali should monitor local media and attend the annual kite festival held on at Padang Galak field on Sanur Beach.

Related Article

[The Killer Kites of Bali]

[Kites and Helicopters Don't Mix in Bali]

[See: Yikes! Watch Out for Kites]

[Bali Suffers an Island-Wide Power Outage]

[An Island With Strings Attached]