International Kite Festival in Bali
Even before you can feel the literal effects of the windy season, you can see little black specks start to populate the sky. Their numbers grow exponentially as the weeks go on until there seems to be as many kites during the day as stars at night. That's when you know the festival is imminent.
There are no ads, no banners, no indication that anything major is happening, at least for the non-Indonesian crowd. You have to keep your eyes peeled for any hint of info (or have a gf who does that for you.). And one you know it's happening, drop everything to see it live.
There are different competitions going on all day. With my limited Bahasa, I could hear the lady announcing the next teams that should get ready; but even if I could understand more, each village had brought out their own marching band, or the Indonesian equivalent, which drowned out the play-by-play anyway.
From giant kites which has teams of 20 or more housing them up to the smaller 10 person kites, the spectacle was unlike anything I've experienced. The victorious celebrated on their incessantly revving motorcycles, in parade-like fashion, surrounding their truck-mounted kite (they are that big and can't be folded,) treated like rock stars on their way back to their town.
I'll always remember the little boy, joyous with his Styrofoam aeroplane kite and the old man crouching amongst the rocks offering us his stash of peanuts; and us, two foreigners amongst a sea of locals enjoying a wonderful local tradition that brought out the kid in everyone.#Bali #kitefestival #Sanur