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Edwin Saladoka in Bali

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VOU Dancer Edwin Saladoka continues his engaging musings on his adventures and experiences in Bali

Landing in Denpasar, Bali was such a thrill. Turbulence, not to mention the amazing food on the plane and flying just meters over the ocean before landing at the airport was an adventure in itself. The people were warm and super friendly.

“Welcome to Bali”

The journey had only just begun.

The island was so full of vibrancy, statues, people and most of all, motor cycles. Obviously this place was like art heaven. Sculptures, paintings, song and dance you name it – everything (if not, almost everything) art stood for was on this amazing island, and I was on it. Like tourists we were in awe of the beautiful land marks and statues of Ganesh and the resplendent brick temples that stood majestically in the urban centers.

At the Grand Inna Bali Resort, where the Interhash took place stood a massive stage on a white sandy beach. This was where the magic happened. On this stage performed some of the best dances I’ve ever seen (it was my first time so I’m allowed to be biased). We were so fortunate to watch various Balinese dances. These dances told stories about gods and goddesses and how they were revered by the people. The costumes were so intricate and well made with the gold accessories and fine silk. But then again, their movement was so beautiful and elegant and poised they could literally pass as gods.

Then in my own mind I started to wonder why did/do we give so much authority to our gods?, why do we give them so much strength, beauty and power to rule us? Why did/do we seek hope in the people we fear? These still linger in my brain and have continuously popped into my train of thought during the course of our stay.

So as I stood there mind blown by the amazing performance delivered by these beautiful “gods”, it was our turn to take the stage. There were about 6000 people from all over Asia and the Pacific to entertain, and that we did. They were an amazing crowd, every performance received a standing ovation. The next few days were no different at all. The Balinese group this time performed a fire dance and were AMAZING. They had umbrellas on fire, fans, hoops and even canes that shot out sparks, it was very well done.

As a dancer, I thought what would a performance be if it wasn’t memorable? What would it stand for or for whom? I was soon about to find out on the massive stage. Unlike every other performance, this one felt like my first all over again. Butterflies in my tummy, sweaty palms and practically over-reacting. I was an emotional wreck high on nerves and it was killing me. I calmed myself by repeatedly saying that I was amazing (I clearly wasn’t and felt nauseous), and that I was meant to have a good time on stage (honestly, I felt like I was going to die of stage fright).

The music began and off we went with our entertainment for the guests. Cheers and beers sang and spilled through the crowd of 6000 while performing. All my doubts flew down to the fiery pits of hell and enjoyed to the fullest that I could make people laugh and smile and appreciate the arduous dancing we just showcased. We took a finale bow and cheers roared through Sanur Beach sending echoes to the beautiful starry night.

The next day was quite an adventure. We worked the courage into taking one of the most tiring walks of our lives. Well we did have the option of going on the short and medium tracks, but it was because of my over excitement and blindness, the kiwi manager and I took the long track walking about 12.3km in 3 hours. Bravo to us I guess. We were stubborn Pacific Islanders wondering when we were going to die of dehydration or like one of those horror films where people get killed in the forests. It was all competition in the beginning but the walk got the best of us … And the worst. Our hearts were literally pounding out of our chests and our lungs decided to play dead on us, it was gruelling, excruciatingly fun and painful all at the same time.

We did take the time to appreciate the beautiful landscape and rice farms. It was remarkable and I was quite shocked to see smartly built brick houses in the middle of nowhere. The green scene was splendid and though I missed the opportunity of taking digital memories of the enchanting scenery, I thought some things are best remembered through the eyes and are better explained by your words… if you choose them well.

After the walk of death we were welcomed by beers (but politely refused) and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere. I was even asked if I had a wig on – totally offended me but I laughed and let them touch my hair. We even had our pictures taken by people from Kenya to as far as Kujing. Later that night we put on an electrifying performance and fell like feathers onto our beds because of the adventures of our day.

The next day we woke up to find out that our little Fiji had won the bid to host the Interhash in 2018. All our marketing paid off. We were smiling from ear to ear; that was like joyful music to my ears. We performed again that night with a special treat of KFC from our wonderful Uncles and Aunts from Fiji. Then we graced the streets of Bali and back into our hotel rooms dreading the thought of packing all our clothes and costumes and shopping. We were to spend another 2 days in Singapore which was pretty amazing. I’d love to get lost in Singapore. But for now – I am thankful for an unforgettable experience with our amazing, loving and caring Interhash Nadi team and also our hard working dancers who rocked the stage in Bali. So I sit comfortably in my Fiji Airways seat looking out at the Nadi International Airport with only three hours left of my journey to reach home.

Special thanks to

Dr Raju

Mr. Jason

Uncle Basant

And Uncle Joe and the rest of the Interhash Fiji team

Also to

Fiji Airways

Garuda Indonesia for keeping panicky passengers like myself safe

Finally

To the market vendors of Bali – for making me strong enough to say “No” because I have no more money to spend.

Edwin Saladoka April 2016

Bali edwin

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