All The World’s a Stage

.. and the players are all day – and, in one case, overnight – labourers.DSC00736

As of today, I have one of the best views of Ubud’s 360 outdoor stage.

Best seat in the house. Front row. Dolby surround sound. Machine meets nature.

I’m sure there are many others in this town that share a similar view and soundscape as I.

When the hammering starts up at 8 a.m., and every bone and organ in your body gets a whiff of it, well then.. you might as well get on stage and join the party. (I do occasionally, bearing greetings and cookies).

Stage left. Javanese workers. All men. They stay on-site, sleeping and eating in a small shack next to the construction project.

Stage right. Balinese workers. Mixed, mostly women. All from Bangli, the group of them arrives each morning in a bright blue bemo, rickety but full of charm. They come wearing flip flops and conical hats, bearing coolers with food, smiles and waves in my direction.

On the recent day of the full moon, as expected, the Balinese crew never showed up. Purnama demands attention. They stay home, pray, lay offerings, observe rituals and bless the moon and earth. All quiet on the eastern front.DSC00735

Meanwhile, members of the other camp, the boys from Java, were up in the middle of the night, hauling a large piece of machinery off a truck. Making a ruckus. Waking the neighbors. Only to start up again before 7 the next morning. The pressure is, quite clearly, on.

Dust blows in. More cement. The banging picks up speed. More lava rocks. Cement mixer is cranked up. More wood, more steel, more of everything.

The neighborhood dogs come-a-sniffing. The neighbors head for the hills – or beach.

I await the final curtain call, when after taking their final bow, the actors – Javanese and Balinese alike – will blessedly pack it all in and take their construction-circus-show on the road. Anywhere, but here.



  1. I feel your pain! The only thing worse is living on site during the building process! And the only thing worse than that is being bedridden with a mangled foot while the hammering and tile cutting ensue and you can’t escape!!! It WILL end!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s