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Christmas Eve in Bali

Christmas Eve in Bali has crept up on us again. Living here full time one is aware Christmas is coming when the sales staff in shops and restaurants start wearing Santa hats in 90 degree heat.

Expats in Bali tend to enjoy home gatherings with friends and family, the day itself not hanging around long enough to interrupt the beach and party scene. Of my immediate neighbours, 2 are staying at home this year and one is heading to Gili Trawangan.

Kuta Square today was busy with shoppers. The morning’s torrential downpour turning into a steady drizzle, Australian families easily identifiable shopping for last minute gifts. Picking up a few toys for Jevon in Matahari, it occurred to me once again how painless Christmas in Bali is, compared to other places. The local culture doesn’t demand much of a Christmas commitment and toys are reasonably priced (makes no difference to a 2 year old anyway, half the time they prefer the wrapping to the gift).

The people making money in Bali right now are bar owners, taxi drivers and umbrella salesmen. A quick look at the weather forecast show a 60% chance of rain through New Years. Ika, Jevon and I will hot one of the restaurant Christmas dinner packages. The thought of trying to bbq a turkey crossed my mind but why make life difficult. There are Christian villages in Bali including Blimbingsari and Palasari in West Bali, as well as others in south Bali. Church services in these Balinese villages combine aspects of church worship with Balinese culture, including hymns sung with gamelan accompaniment and traditional Balinese outfits. One church in the southern part of Bali that visiting Christians might visit is the one located the junction of Jl. Raya Airport and Jl. Raya Tuban, near the huge white statue of Arjuna and his chariot. Alternatively for those who want nothing to do with the church, stop by Galaxy bar in Seminyak on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the fire-dancers and sexy-dancers. Owner Jeff leads the congregation in celebration.