We have been in Pemuteran, the small town on the northwest coast of Bali, for about two weeks now, patiently waiting on the beach for our visa extension to finish up. It’s such a small place that we have been to nearly every restaurant in town, some more than once, and are becoming familiar faces in the area. In an otherwise sleepy town (bedtime is about 9pm), a lot happened today, but there’s no local daily newspaper! So for a change of pace, I’m going to indulge my inner journalist and report the real-ish news here on my blog.
Extreme Journey: Asia Descends on Pemuteran
Pemuteran-ians were treated to a spectacle today as the popular television series Extreme Journey: Asia began filming on the beach near Biorock Glass Bottom Boat Tours today. Beach-goers from Reef Seen to Rare Angon Homestay paused snorkeling and sunbathing to take in the excitement as the red, blue and green teams battled each other in the latest challenge for the show.
Participants were asked to don snorkels, masks and fins to find and recover flags the producers had dropped in sandy parts of the local reef. All of the flags were eventually recovered, though one participant needed to be helped out of the water by film crew members.
One on-looker was initially confused by the presence of the film crew, but eventually figured out what was happening. “It definitely gave me something to look at while I was just sitting on the beach,” noted Adam Hanzus of Holland. “They were not the best snorkelers, so it was pretty funny to watch.”
The final cut of today’s filming will appear on Indonesian television channel 8 in six weeks, according to a spokesperson for the series. The remainder of the series will be filmed on the south side of Bali next week.
“We were really grateful to the town of Pemuteran for allowing us to tape on their beautiful beaches today,” announced Botak Bagus, executive producer. “We hope the spectators enjoyed the show, and that they’ll tune in when the episode airs this July 14th.”
Tree Cutting Snarls Traffic, Divides Community
Owners of Bagus Homestay cut down the large tree in front of their hotel today, ending a heated debate that has divided families in Pemuteran over the past few weeks. The tree, a 50-year-old frangipani, had been the subject of passionate argument between environmentalists and residents of Jalan Bagus, who wanted to remove the tree in order to clear the way for street repair work this summer.
The tree’s demise snarled traffic on Jalan Singaraja between 12pm and 5pm while crews used a system of ropes and pulleys to remove heavy branches. After trimming, the 10-meter high trunk was removed by local workers, unclogging the busy thoroughfare.
Jani Terima, one of the residents of Jalan Bagus, was happy to see the tree go. “It’s right in the middle of our street, and its roots were a big bump on my motorbike ride to work in the morning,” she explained. “Now we can have a nice, wide, flat street, which will be much safer.”
But Orville Windshear, owner of the local Bali Global dive shop, was sad to see the tree’s demise. “It’s been a good provider of shade for pedestrians and for the guys who hang out on the bamboo platform in the hot afternoon. Plus, I love trees.”
In response to concern over the environmental impact of the tree cutting, local residents donated to plant another tree down the road in the vacant lot near the community mosque. The tree will be blessed next Monday by the local priest in a ceremony in which the mayor, police chief and town religious chief will be in attendance.
Local Businessman Sells Water Buffalo, Buys Pool Table
Pemuteran just got another nightlife option today as local businessman Lenni Kasih sold two of his water buffalo to buy a brand-new pool table for community use. The buffalo were transported by truck to their new home at Koffe Ranch in Lovina at around 2pm. The new pool table arrives next Tuesday evening at around 5pm, just in time for local men looking for something to do before heading home to their families for dinner.
“This is great!” exclaimed Toni Aranna, father of four and dive guide at Reef Seen Divers. “Now I can have another place to chill and relax before heading home to the wife and kids.”
Local women’s groups are frustrated by the actions of Kasih, arguing that the last thing Pemuteran needs is yet another place where men can go to avoid responsibilities at home.
“Sure, men can eschew their duties as husbands and fathers after a hard day at work,” Desree Lakshmia, local dressmaker and mother of three, lamented. “But where can women hang out after a day of screaming children? We need our husbands to come home so we can get a break, too.”
Protests are scheduled for the unveiling of the game room at Mr. Kasih’s home on the west side.