Many tourists flee Bali before Nyepi, a Hindu holiday that shuts down the island. No sight-seeing. No shopping. No driving. Even flights are grounded on this reverent "Day of Silence." All the action happens the day before. The Balinese hold elaborate parades, with young people hoisting bamboo platforms of towering monsters, the Ogoh-ogohs. The streets are filled with laughter and music in anticipation of burning the "evil spirits" at dusk.
In Padang Bai, a northern coastal village, we were delighted by the children who were too young to help carry aloft demons. They danced and jumped up and down along the route, some showing off home-made miniature monsters. And the exuberance of some of them was particularly infectious.