you can be here by the 17th of next month," wrote my friend
Arie Smit, "you will be in time for the big Odalan at Taro."
before the 17th I found myself back in Bali, and a visit to Arie's
studio confirmed that the Odalan (or Festival) would indeed be a
spectacular event. It also confirmed that Taro was a remote, untouched
primitive village - approached by a remote, untouched primitive
road, virtually impassable except on foot. Still, not to despair.
One could go to Pujong by car, then an hour or so's walk, down a
ravine, across a river and over a mountain - and you were in Taro.
the temperature weaving through the 90's, the Odalan suddenly lost
charm. Until Arie advised that Jojol, a young woodcarver from Taro,
had offered to be waiting at Pujong with a bemo, to drive any of
Arie's friends to Taro. Now, given an uninhibited and enthusiastic
driver, a bemo can literally climb trees - so what was I waiting
terraced sawahs, bisected with gurgling rivers by taxi I sped to
Pujong, eager to board the bemo and test the primitive road. But
while the primitive road was very much in evidence, there was no
hint of a bemo - not a whisper or rumour. Nobody even wanted to
know about one.
Oh, Jojol was already at Taro, he had gone out in the cool Of t1he
It is at times like these that the Balinese self-help service comes
into its own. From nowhere came a group of villagers to cluster
around my driver and hear the problem. Hastily a boy was sent hotfooting
to another village, to return some 20-minutes later astride an ancient,
wheezing, rust-ridden motorbike, circa 1900. Its antique status
being verified by the fact it only boasted a