A Colorful Carnival Took Place in Nusa Dua

Probably everyone has already heard that the 10th World Water Forum is currently taking place in Bali. Due to this event, the road to the airport has been closed, patrols on central streets have been increased, and overall, it has become noticeably more crowded.
Unfortunately, tourists and expats missed the most colorful event of this forum and the only one open to everyone. There were fewer spectators at the carnival than participants. On one hand, it's a shame because the show was really worth it, but on the other hand, the guests who did attend benefitted from this.
It's possible that those who wanted to attend simply couldn't figure out how to get there. The street prepared for the parade was closed off by military and police an hour beforehand. As we approached, we saw them turning tourists away. Our invitation poster helped us negotiate. We showed the image, said we were going to the carnival, and after a few minutes of consideration and discussion, they escorted us to the parking area.
It became clear that the carnival would be as bright and noisy as the Ogoh-Ogoh parade or Balinese funerals. The lawns near the Pasifika Museum were filled with brightly dressed people. These were members of Balinese creative collectives preparing for the procession.
Already at this point, you feel like you've stepped into a Balinese epic, with their detailed and impressive costumes, makeup, and decorations. In addition to elaborate outfits and headpieces, there were intricate body paintings, all themed around water and the sea or Balinese folklore.
Despite this, there was no sense of nervousness among the performers. It was as if they didn't have to go on stage in ten minutes—they were laughing, posing for cameras, happily chatting, and, of course, glued to their phones.
The carnival was conceived as a kind of living exhibition featuring Balinese cultural landmarks. Dancing, theatrical scenes, music, and costumes—all these elements represent national identity, epic stories, and art. The organizers wanted to acquaint the participants of the Water Forum even more closely with the island and its traditions. However, it seems that most of the delegates did not make it to the spectator stands either. If some attended, it was only a small number. Definitely not 13,000 people, which is the official number of participants who came from different countries for the sessions and meetings dedicated to the ocean, water, and ecology.
Then something unexpected happened—something in the realm of "unbelievable but true." The carnival procession was supposed to start at 5:00 PM and end at 6:00 PM. And, believe it or not, it started on time!
After spending some time on the island, you come to accept "Bali time" as the norm. So there were no expectations that the show would start on time. Yet once again, the Balinese proved that they can organize and conduct major world-class events without delays or mishaps.
It was loud, energetic, and very impressive. This was largely due to the fact that the participants themselves were genuinely enjoying the event. Not everyone, of course. Some were noticeably tired. But for the most part, despite the heavy decorations they carried and the likely heat in their costumes, they were having a great time.
These girls from the next photos seemed to me the cutest participants of the carnival. Look at how they strive to be even more graceful and not get distracted by looking around!
Next to them, of course, was a teacher. They controlled the process and gave hints about the next move in the plan.
The carnival also featured Ogoh-Ogoh figures. In accordance with Balinese tradition, the demon was carried across the square with shouts and shaking, and then spun around to ensure it couldn't spoil the celebration and the upcoming days of the forum.
By the way, despite the fact that this event was conceived as a mass event open to everyone, the parade route was short. Only about 250 meters. Most of the action took place near the stands, where VIP guests gathered.
Among the honored spectators were, for example, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, Sandiaga Uno - pictured in the center with a Balinese headdress. The man to his right is Deva Made Indra, the regional secretary of Bali province.
Later, accompanied by security, Basuki Hadimuljono - the Indonesian Minister of Public Works and Public Housing - took his place in the stands. In the photo below, he is seen with a camera around his neck.
If it weren't for the military escort, it would have been difficult to recognize these high-ranking officials among the guests. That's how simple and democratic everything was at this parade. There were no fences or stop lines: guests, photographers, cameramen moved wherever they wanted. And the most interesting thing is that nobody bothered anyone. Yes, the police, organizers, and military were monitoring order, but they blended in with the crowd and were so engrossed in what was happening that sometimes it seemed like they had just come to watch the costume show themselves.
By the way, security is one of the most important topics during the forum days. After all, it's an even bigger event than the G20. In order for the heads of state and government who have arrived in Bali to maintain calm, all forces are concentrated in Nusa Dua during these days - including regional police, military staff, and presidential security - totaling about 20,000 people. Heavy military equipment and fighter jets were deployed in this area of the island, and military ships were even spotted off the coast of Bukit. So when a journalist from Jakarta, who was interviewing us as carnival spectators, immediately asked after questioning the importance of the water forum: "Do you feel safe being in Bali, especially during the forum days?" This filming crew flew to Bali from Java specifically for the World Water Forum.
As planned, the parade lasted exactly one hour and ended at 18:00. By this time, the performers who started the carnival were already changing clothes and removing their makeup, getting into their small buses to meet with spectators and journalists again, but this time in traffic jams.

Yes, in Nusa Dua, even getting around by bike is impossible during these days. And yet, it was worth it.
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